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.

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