As many of you know, we are the proud grandparents of eighteen (18) amazing, developing citizens of the world! We are quite emeshed as a family and often rally in support of each others' activities. Although we are a bit uncomfortable sending out this request for assistance on behalf of one of our grandchildren, we believe that the opportunity that has presented itself deserves the extra effort on our part.
While five of our grandchildren have been swimming competitively for the past two years for the Barracuda Swim Club based in Nadi, Fiji, two of Kati & Timote's kids, Zion and Eden, have produced the necessary times and results to receive invitations to represent Fiji internationally, at the 2017 Pacific School Games in Adelaide, Australia. This is Oceania's premier competition and is considered to be a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Games, and ultimiately, to the Olympics. The financial committment for Kati and Timote, even with just the local and national competitions, has been an enormous challenge. The kids have hundreds of hours of training behind them; Zion trains six days a week (water/land), and there are regular competitions in both Suva and Nadi.
It is uncommon for two young people from the same family to qualify and to receive invitations to the Adelaide international competition. Generating funds to cover the costs for one swimmer ($4500FJD/$2300USD) is challenging enough here in Fiji, but for two, it seems almost impossible. We are reaching outside of Fiji, to our friends around the globe, to help cover expenses for Zion (see photo), while we attempt to fundraise in-country for Eden ($4500FJD). Using GO FUND ME, our goal is to raise funds to cover Zion's costs which are set by the organization (registration, airfare, accommodation, food, in-country transportation, and warm-up suit) for the week-long event. With the exchange rate, the necessary funding goal is about $2300USD.
Clearly, this is not a life or death appeal. We want to be clear that your contribution will be an investment in this (eleven-year-old) young man's personal development. Zion is ranked in the top five swimmers in the nation in the under twelve category and holds a number of national records; he brought home eleven more medals in early July. He has a real possibility to take his talents 'all the way'; this is his first step. Our family has made the decision to represent our culture and to make our contribution to mankind in this small Pacific Island nation. We have made our share of sacrifices, and we hope our segment of the next generation will grow up better equipped to meet the global challenges.
God has gifted Zion Stice-Waqainabete in so many ways. Being able to compete at the international level will be a life-changing opportunity. The friendship networks and goodwill generated will yield future global dividends. Investing in people IS making a difference.
Vinaka vaka levu!