From Fijitimes Online (20 November 2008)

Alifereti Moresio opts for island life

Alifereti Moresio at home in Rotuma

He is a proud fisherman from the district of Pepjei in Rotuma and describes life on the island like living in the United States.

Alifereti Moresio is a man who has learnt the value of hard work and is determined to teach youths in the village how to utilise their farming skills and natural resources.

The 44-year old is one of many Rotuman farmers inspired to toil his land with the help of project officers to Rotuma from the Department of Agriculture and fisheries early this week.

Born and bred in the village, Alifereti is third in a family of nine. His parents Pasepa and Savea Moresio worked hard to provide them with a good life on the island.

"I had a normal upbringing and life was like any other in the village. My father was a fisherman and he would take us out with him to catch or spear fish," he said.

"We were taught to look after our families and help each other with chores in and around the house.

"But most of the time, life here is easy, plain and simple."

He attended primary school at Sumi before completing Form Four at Rotuma High in Malhaha.

Like most dropouts on the island, the only option apart from getting a good education is farming.

And like most dropouts, Alifereti put to good use his father's teachings, planting root crops, vegetables and fruits. "After I left school, I stayed home and help my father in the farm. Sometimes we would go out to spear fish," he said.

"In 1982, I left the island for Suva to look for work and wanted to become a sailor. I started work with a shipping company for a year.

"Then I joined oil tankers and then later as a waiter at the Grand Pacific Hotel. From there, I switched to odd jobs in Veisari and Lami."

He returned to the island in 1987 determined to change his life for the better.

Alifereti decided to plant dalo, cassava and yams for subsistence use and when money is needed for fundraising events in the community.

Despite the physical effort and manual labour put into farming, Alifereti loves life on the island.

"Life here on the island is very nice. It's like living in the States. Nothing to worry about and you are free to go anywhere you want to go, do anything you want to do," he said.

"We don't have to worry about leaving our houses open or things going missing because everyone here respects each other and their properties.

"There are some challenges and difficulties like fundraising events but those are minor challenges.

"Whenever the weather is good, I go out fishing for my family. I even teach the young boys how to fish and what to do when they are at sea.

"They learn how to fight the strong currents and how to look after themselves in the water."

Married to Mani with three children, Alifereti said hard work and a good education can take a person far in life.

With a smile on his face and a family watching anxiously as the interview was conducted, Alifereti's life story is an inspirational and motivating piece for youths who think life is all about fun.