July 29, 2013

A mother's heart cries for son

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, July 27, 2013

IT may be his first peacekeeping mission, but 25-year-old Private Atonio Tavenai is ready to face the challenges for the sake of the nation.

He is part of the 163-member troop that was farewelled at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Thursday night.

They flew out of the country early yesterday morning from Nadi.

Private Tavenai, who hails from Bau, said he was ready to serve his country wholeheartedly.

"I am excited, this will be my first mission outside Fiji and I am confident that I will do my best not only for my family but for the nation as a whole," Private Tavenai said.

Asked why he agreed to be part of this peacekeeping mission, Private Tavenai replied "it was for Fiji and the people".

He said his childhood dream of becoming a solider was rewarding, adding he will be able to support his family financially.

He said this was the nation's call and he wanted to prove to his family that he was capable of achieving his dreams despite all the hardships.

His mother Maria Baleilesu stood beside him with her head buried with her hands weeping silently.

"I am happy and sad at the same time," she said.

"This is the first time he will be leaving us and I know the Lord will protect him where he goes."

She said her only hope and prayer was that her son returned home safely.

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