VIL­LAGE HERO

10-year-old boy saves 6-year-old cousin from drown­ing His act of hero­ism recog­nised by vil­lagers at school’s prize­giv­ing Fam­i­lies thank­ful cousins made it alive af­ter life-threat­en­ing or­deal

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - ARISHMA DEVINARAYAN

Vil­lage hero!

That’s the ti­tle now be­stowed on a 10-year-old boy of Vo­tua Vil­lage in Ba. Sakeo Nav­oca was pre­sented ZLWK D VSHFLDO FHUWLåFDWH DW KLV school’s prize­giv­ing for his act of hero­ism. Two weeks ago on a Thurs­day, Sakeo, a Year Five stu­dent of Vo­tua Catholic School, had risked his own life by jump­ing into a river to save his cousin, Te­vita Toma, 6, from drown­ing. Lit­tle did Sakeo know that his sole act of brav­ery was go­ing to earn him some recog­ni­tion at the school’s prize­giv­ing. He has be­come a star for Vo­tua vil­lagers. His cousin Te­vita had three words to say about the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence, which he re­layed to his grand­mother, Asena Vu­taga. He said: “Happy, saved and alive.” The news of the heroic act and UHVFXH VSUHDG OLNH ZLOG åUH LQ WKH vil­lage where Sakeo was hailed a vil­lage hero.

Te­vita’s fa­ther, Nikaele NawaiNDGD VDLG KH ZDV DQJU\ DW åUVW with him for go­ing out swim­ming with­out any adult su­per­vi­sion,

but was speech­less when try­ing to de­scribe how thank­ful he was to his nephew, Sakeo, for be­ing there at the right time. “Who knew a child could save an­other child’s life. It is a sur­prise, but we are not only thank­ful that our son is alive, but for the lives of both chil­dren,” Mr Nawaikada said. “He (Sakeo) is a strong young boy and we will al­ways be grate­ful for that day.” Sakeo with the help of his mother, Asi­lika Ratu, told Fiji Sun how quickly he had acted when he saw Te­vita strug­gling in the wa­ter. “I was swim­ming in the river with some other chil­dren and Te­vita, but the tide was ris­ing and it was like about time to go back home,” Sakeo said. “I came out of the river and looked around for Te­vita, he was nowhere to be seen. When I looked backed to­wards the river, I saw only Toma’s fin­gers in wav­ing ges­tures. “I jumped with­out think­ing of any­thing, got a hold of him and pushed him to the land area.” At first the news came as a shock to Ms Ratu, but she said Sakeo was happy that his young cousin was alive. Ms Ratu said Te­vita was brought back to the vil­lage with Sakeo and other kids who then re­vealed the story to them. “My son told me all what hap­pened, I could not be­lieve it for a while,” she said. Since then Ms Ratu has kept her eyes fixed on Sakeo and the other chil­dren he plays with. Te­vita’s par­ents, who work in Nadi, only learned of the news when they re­turned home dur­ing the week­end. He is the sec­ond youngest of Mr Nawaikada’s three chil­dren. Te­vita’s grand­mother, Asena Vu­taga, praised Sakeo highly and said: “I want to thank you Sakeo for sav­ing my grand­son’s life.” She was away in town at the time of the in­ci­dent. “Since then we are keep­ing an eye on our chil­dren at home be­cause a mir­a­cle had hap­pened last time. We do not know what can hap­pen in life,” Ms Vu­taga said. Ms Ratu more­over, was proud of her son Sakeo and said: “He is a brave boy with a gen­er­ous heart. We love him very much. I wish him all the suc­cess in his life and will al­ways see that he con­tin­ues to be a kind hearted child of Vo­tua.”

Te­vita Toma (left), and Sakeo Nav­oca of Vo­tua Vil­lage in Ba.

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