NATION

Dravo Makes Life Changing Choices

When Sitiveni Dravo joined the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute last year, he didn’t have the slightest idea that the world of opportunities that awaited him. Mr Dravo was one of
31 Oct 2016 11:00
Dravo Makes Life Changing Choices
Head of the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute Malakai Tuikadavu (left), with Sitiveni Dravo. Photo: Fiji Corrections Service

When Sitiveni Dravo joined the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute last year, he didn’t have the slightest idea that the world of opportunities that awaited him.

Mr Dravo was one of the five inmates selected last year for an early release for an education scheme – a rehabilitation programme facilitated by the Fiji Corrections Service.

Reflecting on his past, the 31-year-old said the first time he was incarcerated, he “did not learn anything”.

“I was a naughty boy when I was inside,” Mr Dravo said.

“I was known to the officers and my friends for smuggling contraband into prison.

“They had this negative image of me and no one believed I could change.”

He said his turning point came on his second imprisonment after he began searching for God and answers to his issues.

“This is the second time I’ve been in for robbery. The first time in 2004 I spent two years inside but I didn’t learn anything,” he said.

“My turning point was when I began searching for God.

“I wanted to know which God I was worshiping. I was a bad boy but when I felt the change set in, no one knew what was happening to me. No one noticed the change, no one believed in me or trusted me anymore, except the OC (Officer in charge).”

As the change gradually took place, Mr Dravo gained the trust of then OC Minimum Pita Rokoratu however the opening for him was not accepted well with some of his fellow inmates who “expected me to fail again”.

“The OC knew I could become a better person and when recommendations came for outside work, he gave me a chance,” Mr Dravo said.

“Everyone who knew me just waited for me to make a wrong move but I’ve learnt we can only experience true change if we go spiritual – we cannot rely on our own strength.”

After years of soul searching, Mr Dravo said he finally found peace and answers.

“I’ve had many experiences in this life and the most difficult ones were in prison. When I was recommended for 6-6 work, 7 days a week, I realised that I could continue to worship God in my soul, no eye needed to see or know I was worshipping Him.

“I connected to God and though others had issues with me and complaints were still made against me, I laughed and shared with them and the God I serve saved me.”

Joining the Navuso institute was even more of an eye-opener for the man who hails from Nadali Village in Tailevu.

“When I came here, I didn’t know much about farming. But in one short year, I’ve learnt so much and I am indebted to the school for the support and the encouragement it has given me. This is the best place for any inmate to come to before being discharged,” he said.

Mr Dravo will be discharged next month and will graduate from the Navuso institute in November.

With newfound peace, renewed faith and an abundance of skills, he looks forward to the next chapter of his life and believes the best is yet to come.

Source: Fiji Corrections Services

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