Monday, March 30, 2009

Magic waters of Rokovuaka in Ra

Magic waters of Rokovuaka, Ra
Magic waters
By Geraldine Panapasa - Sunday, March 29, 2009
Valaria Nasau had just come out from a dip in the waters of Rokovuaka when we reached the village around 11am two weeks ago.
She leaned against the railing by the roadside for support as she wiped her face with her hands.
Valaria had travelled all the way from Vunisea in Ra with her niece who had a backache.
Through word of mouth, Valaria heard of a small waterfall with healing powers in Ra.
She had been partially blind for three years and was to undergo an eye operation in April at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
Somehow, she was curious about the water that people said had healing powers and caught the bus all the way from the interior of Ra to bath in the water.
After 45 minutes, she joyously wiped her eyes because she said she could see again and claims the water had brought her eye-sight back.
"Some relatives had come to the healing water before and they told us how they were healed after bathing in the pool and waterfall," said 62-year old Valaria.
"I caught the bus with my niece who had a backache and after she came out from the water her back was not sore anymore."
An early edition of the healing waters was published in the Nai Lalakai on March 9 this year and since then more than 1680 people have rushed to the Waidradra creek by the roadside for cures to many different ailments.
One of the villagers, Sakiusa Navakadretia, 60, has kept a written record of the number of people who have visited the healing waters since its discovery late last year. He says his sister was the first to be healed from stroke.
Her hand was paralysed and after a dip in the creek, she was able to move her hand again, he claimed.
Sakiusa also suffered a bad knee and for a very long time, he was unable to sit with his legs folded.
"Every time I sit down, I'd have to stretch out my leg because I couldn't fold it. I used to limp before but after my sister told me what happened, I decided to try it," Sakiusa said.
"I was amazed and happy too because after I came out, a few minutes later, I was able to walk properly without limping.
"Word spread about the water and everyday since, we've had people from different backgrounds come to the creek."
Turaga ni koro Anasa Tibia, 52, said since its discovery on December 1 last year, they decided to share their gift with people who wanted to be healed.
He said villagers have been using the creek for many years and nothing miraculous had happened during those years.
Tibia said they were given cement by the district officer Rakiraki to build a pathway down to the pool formed by the small waterfall.
"We believe God has given us this gift and it's open and free to everyone. We don't charge anything or demand anything in return from people who come to have their bath in the creek," Tibia said.
"A lot of people have come to relieve body pains. We even had a visitor from Australia come to the creek.
"Some carriers and busloads of people have stopped by for a dip because they heard it has healing powers.
"We do not intend to sell the water either but we believe this gift from God is for everyone. The creek has always been here and we've used it occasionally but it's a blessing for the village and everyone."
According to Sakiusa, the village has two religious denominations who share the same church.
He said the Catholics would use the church from 10am to 11am for their Sunday mass while the Methodists would use the church for their Sunday service from 11am to 12pm.
Sakiusa does not know why the creek has healing powers now and not before when the villagers used the creek regularly.
"It's God's time I guess but it's a blessing we'd like to share with other people.
"Our village elders have told us to keep these two religions in the village," Sakiusa said.
"And we've never had any differences with each other over this.
"We don't plan to build another church because we are happy to share with our Christian brothers and sisters.
"I've kept notes on visitors to the creek. Some Indians, Fijians and other races.
"They come with all sorts of sicknesses and diseases like stroke, body pains and one woman claims the water cured her of cancer.
"Some people we met here come from Suva, Lautoka, Rakiraki and Sigatoka. The youths building the path down to the creek sometimes help the elderly and visitors to the creek.
"But we're happy that we can share this gift."
The word roko means a title of honour in Fijian while the word vuaka means pig says Tibia.
The villagers pride themselves in the words 'Rokovuaka West Boarder' written in bold white prints on the side of a wall opposite the church. Sakiusa took us to the church compound where the village houses surrounded an oval shaped stone partly buried in the ground.
"This is Rokovuaka," Sakiusa said pointing to the stone. I was lost in translation when he pointed to the stone.
Sakiusa said the stone held a significant place in the history of the village.
"There were plenty stones in the village and some people tried to throw these stones into the river nearby," he said.
"The next morning the same stone they threw in the river was back where they'd taken it from. Even this one, Rokovuaka, is still in the same spot where the villagers tried to dig it out.
"When the villagers would go out into the bush, they were bitten by pigs.
"After that, only female pigs (sow) could survive in this village. For years, it was like this. There were no male pigs in the village.
"The female pigs would get pregnant, we don't know how. Now we have male pigs in the village, but they would cry in agony all night until they died."
While the villagers pride themselves over the healing water, they are more thankful for their blessings which they believe comes from God.
But the issue of the healing properties of water has long been one of contention.
An article about this healing property of water was first published in the New York Times on June 21, 1983.
It stated that under the grim conditions of Evin prison in Teheran, Iran, a physician discovered what he believed to be a new and remarkable treatment for the pain of peptic ulcers.
The treatment was simply several glasses of water taken at prescribed regular intervals. Dr F. Batmanghelidj discovered the treatment largely by accident, but was able to examine about 3000 patients and follow the medical fate of more than 600, mostly fellow prisoners.
"I was lucky to have been able to make my observations ... when I was waiting clarification of my own situation," Dr Batmanghelidj said in a guest editorial in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
A prisoner at Evin from November 1979 to May 1982, he moved on to live in the United States.
It started with one patient suffering unbearable ulcer pain late at night. The doctor treated him with 500 cubic centimetres (about a pint) of water, evidently because nothing else was available at that hour.
"His pain became less severe and then disappeared completely after eight minutes," said the report.'
Dr Howard M. Spiro, editor in chief of the journal, conceded in a note that the treatment might have worked because the patients hoped it would, and that some might not really have had ulcers at all.
Then there is the story of the healing water in Tlacote Mexico where people claim they have been cured of everything from AIDS and cancer to obesity and high cholesterol.
Or the healing waters reportedly discovered in Germany, 100km east of Dusseldorf.
Whatever it is that is flowing at Rokovuaka, one thing is certain, villagers believe they are witnessing a miracle daily.
And they take pride in knowing that many people say they have been cured of various ailments.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chief queries oild deal

Chief queries oild deal - By Unaisi Ratubalavu
Saturday, March 21, 2009

REWA's paramount chief Ro Teimumu Kepa has queried the acquisition of BP Oil by Fijian Holdings Limited.

In a letter to FHL's managing director Sereana Qoro on Thursday, Ro Teimumu said FHL was conceived by the Great Council of Chiefs in 1984 at a time when Fijian confidence in participating in the commercial sector was at an all time low.

This was after clear indications of the collapse of the two major investments in the Native Land Development Corporation and the Fijian Investment Development Corporation in which the GCC held shares through the Fijian Affairs Board.

"It was not easy to convince the provincial councils to raise shares in another Fijian-owned company but it was out of respect which they had in the GCC which enabled the majority of the provincial councils to raise the inaugural shares for the company," Ro Teimumu said.

She added that the recent intervention on the company's corporate structure, executive positions and now the proposal to acquire BP South West Pacific Limited have caused concerns to Fijians, including the people of Rewa.

Ro Teimumu said a meeting scheduled for the province's development committee will discuss this move by FHL.

And Ro Teimumu has sought answers from Mrs Qoro on the proposed $190-million to buy BP Oil Pacific.

The acquisition was done last December, is the largest investment FHL has undertaken in its 24-year life.

FHL Energy Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Fijian Holdings Ltd, successfully won the bid to acquire the oil company.

This is the first time a oil company will be owned locally.

Attempts to get comments from Mrs Qoro yesterday were futile.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Landowners want fair deal

Landowners want fair deal - 3/19/2009

A landowning unit has claimed that Digicel failed to pay them their goodwill money for placing a transmitter in their land in Uciwai outside Nadi.
Head of the tokatoka Nasekula from Yako village in Nadi, Atikini Naga yesterday said numerous requests made to Digicel executives for a meeting was always turned down.

“Now we have no other option to shut down the site and maybe then they will listen to us,” said Mr Naga.

Last week police had to intervene after 12 villagers entered the transmitter site in their mission to close it down.

It was alleged that the villagers entered the site and removed batteries from the generator which disrupted services in Momi, Korovuto, the Mamanucas and other surrounding areas.

Mr Naga said they made some agreements with the company in October, last year where they were going to paid $120,000 as goodwill.

He said the land is still not leased by Digicel. He said they felt the company took advantage of their generosity.

Mr Naga said the problem started while the transmitter was still erected, when the Digicel delayed the payment of $13,000 on for the construction of the road.

Mr Naga said payments were only done after they stopped the road construction.

Digicel Fiji public relations executive Gillian Power said that the matter is currently being dealt with through the appropriate channels.

West Police spokesperson Wame Bautolu said officers from Nadi Police station are still monitoring the transmitter site.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natives warn on land leases

Natives warn on land leases - By SERAFINA SILAITOGA-Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MORE than 100 landowning units in a northern province have called on the State to sort out outstanding land issues or face the risk of failure in development projects.
One hundred and seven landowning units from Bua believe their cries over the past two decades to return reserve land, which Fiji Pine has used since the 1970s, have not been heard.
Bua Landowners Association spokesman Tevita Raiova said nothing had been done since their grievances were first raised in the 1990s. "We are tired of crying for our reserve land and it's time that the matter be straightened out," he said. "If nothing is done, then development projects for Bua will not prosper."
On September 12 last year, the Native Land Trust Board, through a Fiji Times article, admitted that landowners of Bua were not consulted when the Government started planting pine in the division 26 years ago.
NLTB spokesman Nimilote Naivalumaira said in the article that mistakes must be corrected and that the problems identified by the landowners were caused by acts of omission in the early years of pine planting.
Efforts to get comments from Fiji Pine chief executive Alec Chang proved futile.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fijian administration needs a review

Fijian administration - Thursday, March 05, 2009

IT is time for a serious review of the Fijian administration and its relevance to the nation and the indigenous people.

Recent reforms of State ministries and departments were conducted in an effort to increase efficiency, reduce expenditure and ensure the streamlining of services to the people.

In the case of the administration of the Fijian people, the costs of operating provincial offices far outweigh any possible benefit from maintaining facilities which provide for a particular racial group.

This administration has consistently called for the removal or references to race or the provision of benefits according to ethnicity.

Through the Rural Development Ministry, the State offers funding and technical assistance to people who live outside the urban areas.

These projects must be conducted according to the needs of the community after relevant analysis by experts.

Whether the beneficiaries of the projects are Indian, Fijian or some other ethnicity is irrelevant.

If a need exists, it is the duty of the State to see that these requirements are met from taxpayers' funds.

With the Fijian administration, a second, unnecessary tier of bureaucracy has been established to cater to the indigenous people.

Offices are maintained in the 14 provinces to ostentatiously care for landowners and minister to their needs.

With these offices are the accompanying costs of utilities, maintenance, staff salaries, administrative and operational costs.

Yet the needs of the indigenous community are fully catered for through services provided at the offices maintained by government departments and ministries. At provincial council meetings, matters raised by district representatives are referred to civil servants who must return to their offices, make inquiries and report back — sometimes six months later.

In truth, the Fijian administration is a relic of the colonial era, an un-needed layer of bureaucracy and a burden to the taxpayer.

We should not be forced to maintain a dual system of governance for reasons which are purely sentimental. The indigenous people have access to infrastructure and State-provided service. It is their duty to take the first step and approach government officers for assistance.

Addressing these issues through a system which caters only to Fijians wastes time and money.

It also encourages people to think in terms of ethnicity or breeds a mistaken sense of greater self-importance in members of the indigenous community.

This must change for the benefit of the Fijian people in general

The time has come for them to realise that circumstance has brought us together as a nation of one people.

We must all work hard for success. In this endeavour, ethnicity and religion are irrelevant.

It's time for the indigenous people to cast off the shackles of the past and enter the future under their own steam.

Reshuffle for Roko Tui posts

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

THE interim Government will reshuffle Roko Tui positions in provincial council offices, says interim Indigenous Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

There are 14 provincial roko serving at provincial councils nationwide.

He said the aim of the reshuffle was to ensure that no roko served in his or her own province.

When contacted at least one roko Tui said the last he understood was that he would continue his current post.

Roko Tui Tailevu Joape Nalatu, who is from Nadroga, referred queries to the Fijian Affairs Board.

But he also confirmed that he would stay on this year at the Tailevu Provincial Council.

Roko Tui Namosi Samisoni Tuilawaki said he was on long-service leave and not aware of any changes by the ministry.

"I am on leave and will start some time next week. I have not heard or been informed on that issue," Mr Tuilawaki said.

Yesterday Ratu Epeli also denied claims that the interim Government was considering reviewing provincial councils.

The denial came after some concern that the ministry was considering following the example of the Local Government Ministry, which replaced mayors with administrators last month