Passion to keep giving

Salanieta Drasuna shares her life journey in Lautoka. Picture: SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

MENTION the name Salanieta Drasuna and everyone’s attention will be switched to netball.

In fact, the life of this Nayau lady from Lau is more than just netball.

She is someone who can easily wear the jack-of-all-trades tag because her life is such that she is involved in every issue that matters to her personally in society.

At 65, the former national netball rep still loves what she does best and apart from attending netball tournaments at the Lautoka Multi-Purpose Court every Saturday, she also is heavily involved with the local military fraternity.

She sits on the Netball Fiji executive post all for her massive contribution to the sport she had fallen in love with from a very young age and the sport that had allowed her to travel around the world.

At the International Day for UN Peacekeepers last week, Ms Drasuna joined other widows in the celebrations.

Her late husband was an employee of the then Fiji Electricity Authority and was also a member of the territorial forces of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

“My husband died five years ago, however, I am still very much involved with the military family because I have been a part of them for many years,” Ms Drasuna said.

“Being part of the military family is an experience you cannot explain, it’s an experience worth sharing and it only takes a soldier’s wife to understand what we go through when our husbands are abroad.

“My husband had two tour of duty during his time as a TF and those two years were the hardest in my life as a mother. At home, we could see vehicles coming, and every time I saw a military truck, my thoughts would be running around, what are they here for? Are they coming to relay a message … I salute the wives who have seen their husbands to and fro, it’s a big commitment.”

A retired sonographer by profession, Ms Drasuna has always dedicated her life to the Fijian netball fraternity and the RFMF.

She was first selected to represent Fiji in 1975 and from then on, her life has always revolved around netball.

This passion has allowed her to keep giving back to the sport and although age is catching up, she is not giving up to netball any time soon because she believes the unique netball talents Fijian netball players have are in abundance.

Since her late husband’s first tour of duty, peacekeeping has been another of her greatest passion.

It hurts her to find out that a Fijian had died in the battlefield.

To her it feels like one of her own family members has died because she has been through this experience when her husband was alive.

“It’s just amazing that even though we come from different works of life, we all meet for one common reason — peacekeeping.”

A word she holds dear to her heart is peacekeeping.

Although her husband passed on, she has never distanced herself from the military and from any peacekeeping gathering held in Lautoka.

She also believes that by attending such gatherings, she is able to share an advice or two to other widows who may be going through difficult moments in life especially those who find it hard to fathom the fact that their husbands are no more.

This, however, does not rule her out from attending to other community and church gatherings. She believes people are born to uplift and look after each other.

“Things are hard as you make it too big, nothing comes easy, we all have our ups and downs but with God in control, nothing is impossible,” Ms Drasuna added.

Despite her busy schedule, Ms Drasuna always has time for her six children and 12 grandchildren.

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