Sunday, April 6, 2008


ULAMILA Bulamaibau believes success is all about taking the risk and wanting to experience life.
The former manager training for the Fiji Development Bank is the executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Originally from Vanuaso on Gau, Ulamila joined SPCA this year. Her late father Ratu Kulanikoro Qicatabua Bulamaibau was a civil servant.
She said her mother Sesarina Elina did the most important work of being a wonderful mum. Born in Suva, Ulamila went to primary school in Suva but went to secondary school in Lautoka.
Being an only child, she learnt to be independent especially having to keep busy with favourite pastimes. She said apart from normal everyday life, she was able to withstand hardship.
"The only child in the house meant having to occupy oneself or amuse oneself with pastimes that one could do independent of anyone else.
"These included activities such as reading, drawing, colouring, climbing trees in the yard and collecting stamps. There were moments with the neighbours children.
"It made me accept challenges as they come. I was taught to work hard, not to waste and also to appreciate what I am given.
"My father was a disciplinarian. When I was young, I wanted to be a number of things.
"This kept changing and now when I look back, I think it is really funny because I have obviously gone far away from those initial thoughts.
"Sometimes it has to do with the glamour of the job, pressure from family or the way society sees a type of job that influences the way young people think about what they should or should not do. But I never thought I would be where I am today."
She went to Gospel Primary School for less than a year before finishing off at Jasper Williams in 1981. She got her secondary education at Jasper Williams High School and on to the University of the South Pacific where she obtained her Bachelors degree. In 1990 she joined the FDB as a research officer and worked her up to be a top staff before her move to SPCA.
A thought on many people's mind is why the move from a well-paid job at FDB to join the animal care field.
"When the position became vacant I thought about it but not that seriously. On the other hand, I had also been seriously thinking about what I was doing and whether it continued to excite me or challenge me in an interesting way.
"I started to think of whether I could do something that was really meaningful to me and was real, something that would make an impact. I knew that it was time to move out of my comfort zone and make use of my experience.
"I wanted to learn and work in the field of animal welfare. All the while, I had the backing and encouragement of a close friend who believed I should take up the challenge.
"That encouragement and support helped me in making the final decision."
She said the interest in animals was always there. Ulamila said they had pet dogs who were her reliable friends.
"I like having them around. They were always there. Even now, I always feel that pets are always there, they are tough and they never give up on you, even when they are sick.
"They are always there to welcome you and follow you to the shop if they can. Some of the benefits of the job are working with animals who are God's creation, helping make a difference for animals though SPCA efforts and meeting people who share or contribute to the efforts of animal welfare.
"For me, it is comforting to know that one is not alone in the battle against cruelty to animals. The Creator is the biggest inspiration in my life because he works in mysterious ways and there are things that after it has happened I wonder, well how could that be possible?
"It makes the struggle worth the effort especially in the field of animal welfare, when one knows there is someone out there looking out for you."
Ulamila said there were a lot of opportunities for those wanting to join SPCA. Her advice to students is weigh the possibility of studying veterinary science.
She said this was particularly useful in a country such as Fiji where there are only a few veterinarians. She said SPCA needed people who share in its vision and goals and most important, those who are passionate about animal welfare in Fiji and can do something about it.
"In life, there are regrets and there are times when one tastes success. It is all about taking risks and wanting to experience life by taking and giving back something to this world and life.
"Joining SPCA, for me, was all about that," said the optimistic director.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online