Feature

Solomon Islands Students Help In Rebuilding Home

The duo earlier this month embarked on a disaster recovery voluntary effort by helping rebuild a new home for an elderly couple at Yaqaga Island in the province of Bua.
28 Mar 2021 12:28
Solomon Islands Students Help In Rebuilding Home
Bryan Wale (third from left), Eugene Gavibatu (fifth from left)and the rest of their team in front of the house they built for an elderly couple who lost their home to severe TC Yasa.

Fiji has been a home for Solomon Islanders Eugene Gavibatu and Bryan Wale for almost three years.

Stranded in Fiji because of border closures and travelling restrictions caused by COVID-19, the duo earlier this month embarked on a disaster recovery voluntary effort. They helped rebuild a home for an elderly couple at Yaqaga Island in the province of Bua.

Mr Wale is a final-year Bachelor of Commerce student at the Fiji National University (FNU) in Nasinu. Mr Gavibatu is a final year Land Management student at the University of the South Pacific.

“At the end of February we were informed through some of our Fijian friends about a project funded by locally renowned Nephrologist Dr Amrish Krishnan on rebuilding a new home for an elderly couple in Vanua Levu,” Mr Wale said.

“We didn’t have any second thoughts about it, we said it was a good opportunity to help families who were devastated by the two tropical cyclones that ravaged Fiji.

“Without hesitation I had agreed to go up with them. We left Suva on March 2 and we started building. We returned on March 6.

“We had a supervisor who was a skilled carpenter supervising the construction works, there were six of us.”

He said Fiji had been home for the past three years and has blessed them with good friends which have become his family away from home.

The new house for the elderly couple. Photo: Bryan Wale

The new house for the elderly couple.
Photo: Bryan Wale

“As good citizens and ambassadors of Solomon Islands, we knew it was only right that we give back to the community,” Mr Wale said.

“I am very happy to have been part of the team that was able to put a smile on the face of people and to actually have done good for the community.

“The smile on their faces was overwhelming.”

He is hopeful that he would return to the Solomon Islands after completing his studies later this year to reunite with his wife and two children.

For Mr Gavibatu, he said he would graduate at the end of the semester knowing that not only has he completed his education but has also left an impact in the hearts and minds of the Fijian people he was able to help in Fiji.

“When I was told about the project I had no second thoughts, I knew it would have been my parents or grandparents too that would have needed this assistance so I said I would go,” he said.

“It was a heart to serve, I did not care about what I was going to be fed with or where I was going to sleep. It was about the people that we were going to help on the project.

“I am grateful that we were able to do such a thing to Fijians in need during these difficult times.”

The duo said they were grateful to the Fijian people for treating them like family during their course of studies here.

“It is something we are going to take back with us as we return home upon the completion of our studies here.”

Edited by Selita Rabuku 

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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