NATION

The Family Behind The Well-Kept Lautoka Punjas Children’s Park

The tidiness and well-kept Punjas Children’s Park in Lautoka was all because of the hard work delivered by the late Sheik Mahmood.
30 Jul 2022 19:09
The Family Behind The Well-Kept Lautoka Punjas Children’s Park
Lautoka’s Punjas Children’s Park former caretaker, the late Sheik Mahmood with his granddaughter, Ayra Dean.

The tidiness and well-kept Punjas Children’s Park in Lautoka was all because of the hard work delivered by the late Sheik Mahmood.

The late Mr Mahmood was the caretaker for Lautoka’s re­nowned family spot for 24 years. He passed away at the age of 65 in February this year.

The park was officially opened by the then Minister for Local Government, Housing and Envi­ronment, Vilisoni Cagimaivei in 1998.

The responsibility to continue the trend of keeping the environ­ment welcoming for families was handed to his son, 33-year-old Sheik Hashim following his pass­ing.

Mr Hashim was a chef at De­narau’s Mamacita Mexican Res­taurant and Bar and lost his job because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheik Hashim.

Sheik Hashim.

He said given the responsibil­ity by his father and the Lautoka City Council to manage the park and its facilities was a blessing as he knew it would remind him of his father.

“I remember that after cutting sugarcane, dad would rush home and then to the council for work at Nadovu Park, after some time he had been chosen to look after the Children’s Park,” said Mr Hashim.

“Because I was the youngest of three siblings, I was usually at the park during my school holidays with dad helping him around, so I got some idea as to what works are to be carried out around here.

“Dad loved surrounding him­self with children and his wish to have more playing equipment for the children came true.”

Mr Hashim said alongside his wife, Areefa, their task was to keep the park clean and safe, have clean washrooms and make the vicinity welcoming for all fami­lies.

“Before he passed away he told me ‘this key will soon be passed on to you, take it and you will be­come successful in life’,” he said.

The Punjas Children’s Park is open from 10am to 6pm daily.

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