NEWS

The Untold Story: Students Save Wati From Suva’s Cold Streets

Three cash-strapped medical students scrounged around for loose coins to feed a wandering homeless, cold and hungry woman in Suva. They did not realise they were starting a mercy mission
03 Oct 2016 11:00
The Untold Story: Students Save Wati From Suva’s Cold Streets
From left: Fiji National University second year medical students, Lave Matakibau, Melissa Sami and Simran Ali. Photo: Simran Ali

Three cash-strapped medical students scrounged around for loose coins to feed a wandering homeless, cold and hungry woman in Suva.

They did not realise they were starting a mercy mission that finally saw her admitted into the Samabula Senior Citizens Home.

The story about the woman, Shukla Wati, has gone viral on social media, after she told the Fiji Sun that her eight children had abandoned her. But the students’ compassionate service was the untold story.

This is their story.

In an interesting twist of fate, the students’ hunt for a stolen mobile phone ended in a mercy mission to save Ms Wati from Suva’s cold streets.

Fiji National University (FNU) second year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)  students  Simran Ali, Melissa Sami and Lave Matakibau had gone to report a stolen phone of a friend at the Toorak Community Police Post. There they met  Shukla Wati, 78.

Wandering and homeless in Suva, she ended up at the Toorak Police Post on Tuesday last week at 9pm. Cold and hungry, Ms Wati begged for food.

Medical student Simran Ali said they met  nani  (grandmother) after 9pm. In hindsight, she said it was a mysterious act of God.

“It was last week Tuesday after 9pm, when we went to the Toorak Community Post to report one of our friend’s mobile phone was stolen over the weekend,” Ms Ali said.

“We met Ms Wati at the Toorak Community Police Post where she was blocking the doorway and she would not let us inside the Police Station.

“In Hindi she was saying ‘I want some food, I am so hungry’ and she kept on saying that,” she said.

Ms Ali said when the friends asked the elder what happened to her and what she was doing at the Toorak Community Police Post; “Ms Wati replied to us that she was staying with her family who took her to Totogo Police Station and the Police officers from the Police station (Totogo) took her to the St Vincent de Paul Home at Brown Street in Suva, but they (the home) refused to take her in.

“Her story was really sad,” Miss Ali said.

“Ms Wati then finally let us inside the Toorak Community Police Post but she kept asking for food.

“She was at the Toorak Community Police Post the whole day without food and water.”

Ms Ali said they then asked the Police officers and they advised them that they had called the Social Welfare Department.

She said the Police officers confirmed what Ms Wati said that the Totogo Police Station officers brought her to the Toorak Community Police Post.

The Toorak Police officers were told to call the Social Welfare Department.

Ms Ali said while one of their friends was giving the report of the missing phone, they were wondering what to do and they did not have enough money with them.

Ms Ali said through the advice of Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali, they pooled their money together to purchase some food for Ms Wati.

Ms Wati ate the whole serve of curry chicken and requested for water as she was very thirsty after eating, she said.

Ms Ali said they contacted the Social Welfare Department to help Ms Wati move to the Samabula Senior Citizens Home. The Permanent Secretary, Dr Josefa Koroivueta moved into action and kept the students fully informed until Ms Wati was safely dropped at the Samabula Home.

Ms Ali said she and her other friends could not believe their experience and discussed it the whole night.

“Parents and guardians should educate their children and community on how to handle these types of situations,” she said.

“After reading an article on Ms Wati being published by the Fiji Sun, children should be educated to respect, value and care for their parents.”

 

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj



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