As a young student, Sakiusa Baleivanualala studied under the kerosene lamp and walked to school daily from the farming settlement at Lomaivuna, Naitasiri.
The tough life in a rural environment did not dampen his enthusiasm to excel in education.
In fact, the experience was a perfect platform to launch his educational pursuit. It molded his character and motivated him to succeed.
Today, he is a microbiologist.
Mr Baleivanualala, 42, is now an assistant lecturer in the Fiji National University (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS). He has been teaching microbiology for almost two years.
Prior to his current job he worked for the Ministry of Health for 19 years, Mr Baleivanualala wants to continue with his studies.
He was selected to do a PHD by the University of Otago to study under the Pacific Island scholarship in collaboration with FNU.
“The research was trying to find out kinds and sources of antibiotic bacteria in the Fiji hospitals. These antibiotic bacteria are a major threat to Fiji and globally,” he said.
He said his main purpose for study was to conduct research on trying to find the transmission of antibiotic (carbapenem) from where it came from and how it was transmitted within the wards in the hospitals.
“With the help of experts in Otago, Fiji will greatly benefit from this research.”
He also studied under the Bachelor in medical Lab Science at the Fiji School of Medicine and Master of Infectious Disease at the University of Western Australia.
Mr Baleivanualala found biology a difficult subject to study during secondary school.
But he never lost hope and worked hard towards achieving his dream.
“My grandparents, mother and deceased father and other family members were always behind my move with God’s guidance and blessing,” Mr Baleivanualala said.
His advice to students is to work towards their dreams in the areas of interest they set their sights on.
“If my dream is successful, then why can’t yours,” he said.
Edited by Ivamere Nataro