Lakolako answers call to serve

Staff Nurse Sitiveni Lakolako is based at the Cikobia Nursing Station. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

TALK to Sitiveni Lakolako and he will tell you that being a nurse on an outlying post such as Cikobia tests one’s patience and willpower.

In his third year of serving in one of the remotest islands in the Northern Division, he has become accustomed to the harsh life on the island.

The 30-year-old Cikobia native, who lived in Labasa all his life, said he was proud to be serving his people and his vanua — ensuring their medical needs were attended too.

“I have at least more than 100 patients in the village who visit me through the week with various complications that I attend to,” he said.

“Emergencies are ferried across to Labasa for medical attention at the subdivisional hospital.

“Since coming to Cikobia from day one I have become accustomed to living in a remote setting like this something that I never dreamt I could do.

“Coming from a background surrounded with people and living most of the time in the town, I have now learnt to appreciate everything that we normally take for granted in the urban areas.”

Mr Lakolako said he even learnt to improvise when his medical supplies run short, adding the best thing about it was that his patients understood this and even offered to assist in any way they could.

“There are four villages on Cikobia namely, Nalele, Nautovatu, Nuku and Vatulele,” he said.

“When I was brought up in Labasa I was more inclined towards my maternal side in Udu, but serving here for three years now I have become attached to my people who have become very dear to me. “I graduated from the Fiji School of Nursing in 2009.

“The biggest problem that I have here is communicating with the outside world since we do not have any mobile network especially when dealing with emergency cases.”

Mr Lakolako said the only form of communication to the outside world on the island was through the radio telephone (RT) which at times had a poor reception because of the weather.

“Then there is the infamous sea of Cikobia that no one is a stranger to because it is one of the roughest patch of waters around the country,” he said.

“Transporting serious cases across these waters is a survival game that makes the sight of land something very precious to me.

“However my passion for my calling is something that drives me to go the extra yard.

“I have always seen nursing as a calling and not a profession because it is something spiritual that touches the lives of individuals.”

Staying in Cikobia for the past three years meant that Mr Lakolako had to sacrifice time to attend special family functions and events with loved ones in Labasa.

“It eats my heart to learn that a dear one has passed on and I cannot attend nor do much about it because of my location,” he said.

“However I feel that my duty and dedication now lies with the people I believe I have been called by God to serve.

“They have accepted me and over the years I have learnt to cherish them.

“Such is this calling leaving one in the middle of nowhere and teaching one to be humble and accept that there is always light at the end of the tunnel even when it looks like the heavens are about to fall.”

More Stories