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Their Best Father’s Day

The Ravai family of Raralevu, Nausori, yesterday celebrated their “best” Father’s Day celebration. It was marked following the release of the head of the family, Private Panapasa Ravai, who was
15 Sep 2014 10:20
Their Best Father’s Day
The newly opened Bazaar Kitchen Restaurant in Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau.

The Ravai family of Raralevu, Nausori, yesterday celebrated their “best” Father’s Day celebration.

It was marked following the release of the head of the family, Private Panapasa Ravai, who was among the 45 Fijian United Nations peacekeepers captured two weeks ago but were recently released by the al-Nusra Front.

Marica Ravai

Marica Ravai

Private Ravai’s wife, Marica Ravai, said words could not describe her happiness.

“When I came to know that my husband and the rest of the 44 men had been released, I was so relieved and happy and just so thankful to God,” Mr Ravai said.

She said they were even more thankful as the news came just days before their Father’s Day Sunday celebration.

“Although this is the first Father’s Day without him, it is the best ever knowing that despite the two long weeks of our ordeal my husband came out alive and well,” Ms Ravai said.

The 21-year-old shared her husband’s story about what the soldiers went through when they were held captive.

“He said when they were captured they didn’t really know where they were taken to. They were kept in this big container and were told to lie down and not to raise their heads above the container whole of the two weeks. He said they were fed. Their captors didn’t know how to speak English accept one of them whom they found out went to school in Australia who was acting as their translator. He said they did not treat them harshly or threaten them in any way,” Ms Ravai said.

She said she had a hard time coming to terms with what had happened when they first heard that her husband was amongst those captured.

“For us it was a big issue because he just passed out in the military in February and then he went and we have two little girls Asinate who is two years old and our youngest Sarai is only eight months old,” Ms Ravai said.

She said what was more worrying was that the only information coming out of the military was that the men could not be located.

“But we found solace in prayer and that the whole of Fiji was praying the men,” Ms Ravai said.

She said she finally felt some relief when a video was released by the group that held the men captive last week.

“Seeing the soldiers looking well in the video gave me some hope and relief as well, just hearing their captain speaking reassuring all of us that they were in good health,” Ms Ravai said.

The young mother said she couldn’t contain her joy when they found out through the news on television that the peacekeepers had been released on Thursday.

“During the two weeks, every morning when we wake up we switch on the television, keeping ourselves updated through news channels, al-Jazeera, CNN and BBC News. We switched on to BBC on Thursday and we saw the news of them being released, I just gave thanks to God for touching the hearts of the rebels and freeing our men,” Ms Ravai said.

Feedback:  ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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