Friday, April 25, 2008


Kenesi Mua (pictured) has grabbed every opportunity that has come her way to live a better life despite starting off as a concession worker for the Fiji Sports Council. The 40-year-old ticketing and purchasing officer for the council's Finance Department is an inspiration. Growing up in Tovata, Kalabu, Kenesi is an only child of a single mother. It is never easy being a single parent but for Kenesi, the hard work and perseverance of her mother Sereseini Roko gave her the strength to make the most of life.
Originally from Namara, Sanima in Kadavu, Kenesi has a lot of childhood memories about following her mother to work and wanting to be a policewoman because of her passion for helping others. Her mother worked as a house girl for a Mr Whiteside and later was employed in a garment factory.
"I was born and bred in Suva. My single mother did odd jobs to support the family. Being an only child was a bit easy. Life growing up was fairly simple and normal. We did not face any difficulties because it was just my mother and I. She worked very hard to provide me with a decent life and even to provide me with a good education.
"When I was younger, I wanted to be a policewoman. I was inspired by my mother's hard work that I wanted to help others in need. Being in the police force was something I wanted to become right up until high school. The thought of being able to make a difference in some-one else's life was something I found rewarding and enjoyable. I also wanted to see justice served to those treated unfairly." She attended primary school at Kalabu Fijian before continuing her secondary education at Sila Central in Nausori in 1983. Like many other teens her age back then, Kenesi was always full of life. She reached Form Five before leaving for Dean's Computer school. Shortly after, she became a single parent herself. Through her experience growing up, Kenesi took on the challenge of being a young single parent.
"I became a single mother at a young age. I had the support of my mother though because she went through the same thing I did. I never regretted it because I saw my son as a blessing and a gift from God. From then on I set my sights on providing him with a good life. I had to do something to support my family and I was never embarrassed about anything I did.
"I went to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ask for help in finding employment. Fortunately for me, I was given the opportunity to attend typing and computer training at Parliament House. After I finished my training there, I was able to work as a receptionist at the Outrigger Hotel along Waimanu Road in Suva. I was happy with the job I had because I knew I was doing something productive and I was earning a living to support my son and my family."
Kenesi worked as a receptionist for two years before securing the position of a cashier with FoodWorks Fiji in Nadi. She said her job in Nadi was exciting because the company she worked for travelled to outer islands for business. Kenesi then returned to Suva and in 2001 she was employed as a concession worker for the Fiji Sports Council.
"In 1999, I got married and I had two more children, a daughter and another son. Two years later I worked as a teller at the gate of the National Stadium. In 2005, I started working in the canteen and the next year I worked at the Vodafone Arena during the South Pacific Games. As a casual worker, you only get called for work whenever there was an event or something happening.
"I was then asked to help with ticketing and purchasing in 2007. I started learning how things were done. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to broaden my horizon and to learn how to do something I never thought I would end up doing. Office work was something I never had in mind but it is something I am grateful for."
Kenesi said she never lost hope as a young teenage mother because she knew hard work and determination would pay off eventually. She said if it was not for the opportunity given by the new management of the sports council, she would still be working as a concession worker.
"I am very grateful to the new management for giving me the opportunity to learn the job. I did not think I would end up here but I did. I am also very grateful to Selwyn Williams, Jaswant Kumar, Ranil Kumar and Vasemaca Drova for having faith and confidence in my abilities. The only advice I have is that life does not end when you have a baby at a young age. In fact, it is only the beginning of a life time of opportunities. Hard work and faith in oneself are the key to living a happy life. You can only achieve success if you work hard and have the passion to make something better out of life," she said.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online