Not all heroes wear capes: Viva Orlina Dakua shares her story of growing up with little except her family’s love
Written by Alex Elbourne on December 11, 2023
Every now and again, amidst the usual Facebook posts you come across something that makes you sit back and think “heroes aren’t just for the movies”. We certainly feel that Viva Dakua’s story is one such.
We’ll let her tell it in her own words.
WARNING LONG READ.
Contrary to what most people think, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I had a very tough childhood and I’m not ashamed of it, in fact I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to re-live my childhood days. Those bittersweet memories play a huge part in the person I am today.I am the 4th in a family of 6. My Dad was a Character with many beloved qualities but he battled ALCOHOLISM for as long as i could remember. This sadly lead to his demise in 2010. Mom struggled to put us through school in the early 90s where school fees and bus fares weren’t free. We lived in a small wooden house in Delai Tomuka Lautoka with no electriciy and survived on moms pay of $50 a week, sometimes $30 or even $20, working as a volunteer with YWCA. There were often days where we had to weigh who needs to go to school because she didn’t have enough for all our fares. Going to school with lunch packs was golden, most days we’d go without, but we never once complained because we knew how hard she works, we’d take whatever we get. Candle light dinners wasn’t a choice but we’d looked forward to dinner times coz it was always full of fun, laughter charades and games. There were nights where we’d laugh together and there were also nights where wed cry ourselves to sleep. Hearing our mother weap would break our little hearts. There were days where life was so unbearable for her yet even in her lowest of days, she never gave up on her FAITH. “OH BUT GOD” hits hard when I look back on how far we’ve all come. I remember making popcorn after dinner and sealing the plastic packs on the candle flame with my brother Leslie everynight to sell in school to help with our daily expenses. When it was mango season we’d walk to school early in the morning and pick up mangoes on the way to sell as well. Every single cent we’d make we’d give to our Mother coz we didn’t want to see her struggling and worrying about our next meal. She would make earings for us to sell to our teachers, roti parcels etc. Having meat in our meals was a rare occasion, we would eat whatever she’d prepare for us and appreciated all the little things. Most breakfast was just draunimoli tea alone. Mango season was a blessing because our little wooden house was surrounded by Mango trees, we’d come home from school, climb up the roof with the sugar container and satisfy our hunger with mangos and sugar. Leslie Penny Dakua was our ring leader, wed eat mangoes until someones tummy starts hurting then hed chase us to drink water, “Go drink water, hurry otherwise you gonna get diabetes!” we believed every word hed say . We’d play all sorts of outdoor games and waited on the roof top for our mother to return home from work. Me being the youngest at that time, I was the guinea pig of all my older sister Walesi Dakua s experiments (thats a story for another day ) let’s just say we’ve bled and broken bones together, literally.
Even though life was extremely hard, we lived through it through Acalia Nailoaloa Dokonivalu (moms) resilience and God’s unfailing Love. I can proudly say today , I’ve been through it all and I wouldn’t have had it any other way coz going through all that, made me the very person I am today. I am a tough cookie to crack coz I am my mother’s daughter and a child of the ALMIGHTY.
We love this story and the reminder that ultimately, it’s about family. A good time to be reminded of that this festive season.