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“Fiji is my home. I love Idaho but my heart will always be home in Ca’audrove.”
This story about a 16-year old Fijian-American teenager winning a beauty contest in the USA was a much-needed break from the quick-scanning of the thousand articles that I engage in daily, along with constant regurgitation of the same old boring themes.
Apparently, Hosanna has been making waves for quite some time. Not only did Hosanna Kobakoro win Miss Idaho Teen USA 2010, but she also won the title of Miss Congeniality and was voted Most Photogenic in an online contest. Mark my words–she will be the next most famous Fijian after golfer Vijay Singh.
She is not just all beauty and no brains as stereotypes go. Hosanna has received awards and recognition from the former First Lady Laura Bush for her volunteer work. And as far as intelligence goes, I found an award-winning essay by Hosanna that was incredibly moving considering the story is all too familiar:
When I was 12 years old, Fiji’s government was overthrown in its third coup d’etat since 1987. Indigenous Fijians, stirred by ambitious rabble rousers, began tormenting the minority populations of Indians, Asians and Europeans. Shops were looted and burned, homes were invaded and gangs of armed rebels controlled highways and rural roads.
One hot afternoon, while my dad was away, a tractor carrying 30 armed men crashed through our gate. They splashed kerosene over our house and belongings. When I recognized one of them as my playmate’s father, I asked, “Momo,” Uncle! Why are you doing this?”
He shouted that Fiji was for Fijians. The men called us names and brandished their machetes. They destroyed our garden and tore up our taro and cassava plants. We had no choice but to leave our home and move to Idaho where we started over from scratch.
Fiji is indeed, for Fijians. The Fiji Times is happy to call her Fijian rather than using any other hyphenated designation while celebrating her success. We need more ambitious and driven young people like Hosanna back in Fiji rather than spending our lives in exile from the only country we call home. Sadly, while corrupt ‘leaders’ like Bainimarama stay in power, we may never be safe in our homes.
Congratulations Hosanna. I hope to see you back home in a decade, making the difference that you as well as many other people envision for Fiji.
-A Fijian from California