“My Mother is my hero. I grew up in Nadi, Fiji. My mother was a health sister, she specialised in family planning and nutrition and she ran the local clinic. We lived an hour away from where my mum worked. After school I’d spend an hour or more in the clinic hanging about or doing homework.
I saw her work first hand and her interaction with the community. Sometimes if she worked late I would help to polish the lino floor with the buffer machine, to prepare it for opening the next morning. I’ll always remember the sound of the machine in the empty clinic, and the smell of the shiny clean floor as we locked up.
Mum did community nursing too so she would travel to houses and go into villages. At times she’d ride horseback to reach isolated little villages in inaccessible areas.
She taught family planning and nutrition from a holistic point of view. For example she would tell people, “If you plant your own food it’s healthier and it’s cheaper.” She tied in economics and stressed about how children cost money. She would hand out practical solutions like condoms. Although I haven’t been working in the health system long, because of my mother’s influence I feel like I am in familiar territory.”