NEWS

Walks From Lami to Nasinu at 2:30am Pays Off For Makoto

The hardworking 22-year-old was emotional when she reminisced the struggle she had to go through during her course of studies.
29 Jun 2022 12:00
Walks From Lami to Nasinu at 2:30am Pays Off For Makoto
AFL Veiyasana team president and coach, Adriu Nabose, Merelesita Nabose, Siteri Makoto and her mother Miliakere Sulinibau following the Brass Band Graduation ceremony at FNU Multipurpose Hall in Valelevu on June 24, 2022. Photo: Nolishma Narayan

Siteri Makoto used to walk from Lami to Valelevu at 2.30am to be in time for training at 5am for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces brass band.

In March, that sacrifice paid off when she completed the course.

And as part of the training to boost students’ curriculum vitae (CV) portfolio, she took on the Duke of Edinburgh International challenge.

On Friday, it paid off again when she became the Bronze Medal recipient for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award.

 

She was among some 15 students who received different category awards at the Ministry of Youth’s National Youth Band training centre.

The hardworking 22-year-old was emotional when she reminisced the struggle she had to go through during her course of studies.

Come rain or sun, Ms Makoto said one thing she hated was missing classes.

From Mondays to Fridays she would trek to Valelevu to attend the rigorous programme.

 

When classes ended at 1pm, Ms Makoto would put on her running shoes again and retrace her way back home.

Sometimes when she’s lucky, she would walk to Samabula and catch the bus to Valelevu – depending on the money she had.

It wasn’t until her rugby league coach found out about her daily routine – towards the end of the programme – that he invited her to stay at his home with his family in Davuilevu.

 

Ms Makoto represents the AFL Veiyasana Rugby League club.

They are based at Davuilevu.

“Lami was very far and I thought it would be best to stay here for a while until I complete my studies, because I wanted to focus and never be late to school,” she said.

Even in Davuilevu, Ms Makoto never stopped her daily routine of walking to school, but this time, she leaves home at 4am.

 

Background

“My parents divorced when I was in Year 5, so together with my two younger brothers aged one-year-old and three-month, we moved to Kadavu to stay with our grandparents,” she said.

“My grandfather passed on when I was 14, and he left a message that has been keeping me going.”

He said ‘Siteri”! You have to struggle to get through and never lose hope’.

 

It was then that she decided to move back to the city and lived with relatives.

Before joining the training centre, in 2019, Ms Makoto had enrolled at the University of Fiji to do her Bachelor of Arts.

But she’s never given up on her dream to join the RFMF brass band. When she received a call that she was accepted at the centre, she told herself ‘this is my chance, and I will not lose it’.

 

“I thank God and my family for their support and also thank my coach and the Veiyasana team for always backing me up,” Ms Makoto said.

Her advice to youths and students is to ‘struggle if you need to achieve your dreams’.

If given a chance to join the RFMF, Ms Makoto said, ‘that will be a dream come true’.

 

Feedback: nolishma.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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