Organisers say stories told were “moving”.
ESSAY WINS HER A LAPTOP
Surviving the destruction of Tropical Cyclone Winston ended up a blessing in disguise for Cema Malumalumu, 16, of Koro High School. The Year 11 student was relocated to Lautoka Muslim College after Winston destroyed her school, home and village Navaga. The teenager was yesterday named one of the winners of the New Zealand High Commission 2016 Fiji secondary school essay competition. She was presented a Certificate of Distinction, which included a laptop and a trophy. In her essay titled ‘Cyclone Winston’ Cema wrote about her experience as she witnessed the destruction of her village, the men and women who were injured or died, and assistance that came later. “That Saturday, as me and the other children ran to the church to take shelter as my house began to collapse from the heavy wind and rain, I thought I was going to die,” Cema said. At this point she began to cry recalling the ordeal that would change her life. “The only thing that my father, who was the church treasurer, reminded me when he told me to run towards the church, was to keep the church money that I took with me,” she said. Cema and her family believes her life was spared because they had guarded the church money well. Her mother, Salome Malumalumu, being separated for seven months, came in from Koro to witness the event. “I’m just so happy for her and we just thank God for her achievement,” Ms Malumalumu said. She was accompanied by Cema’s teachers from the Lautoka Muslim College, and vice principal of Koro High School Salote Naiorosui, who was also given a cheque of $1000 to assist the school. The other distinction winner was Year 12 student, Ratu Manoa Rokotavaga, of Jai Narayan College in Suva. His essay reflected on the devastation of Queen Victoria School. “This year’s competition gave students a chance to write about their experiences of cyclone Winston,” said Deputy High Commissioner of New Zealand, Amanda Vercoe. She said this year’s entries were more realistic. She thanked the support of the 57 schools that took part, the teachers, parents and guardians. One of the judges, Satendra Singh, who flew in from New Zealand, said many students who took part used the writing process as a healing device surrounding the cyclone. “The students’ writings were moving and the standard of the competition was really high this year,” Mr Singh said.
Front third from left: Cema Malumalumu of Koro High School with other prize winners.