Manukau Courier : January 28th 2014
www.manukaucourier.co.nz NEWS MANUKAU COURIER, JANUARY 28, 2014 7 Cleaner shares lessons from UN front line By ROSE CAWLEY Cleaner Krishna Naidu goes to work every day to take out the rubbish and vacuum the floor at Elim Christian College. The Flat Bush resident has also seen the grim side of humanity, going on two United Nations peacekeeping missions, getting caught up in a coup and being held at gunpoint. But no one at the school knew about his past life until one of the classes started a unit that touched on United Nations peacekeeping. Mr Naidu was going about his daily routine when he spied a poster completed by one of the students. ‘‘I saw the symbol and said to the teacher ‘I used to be one of them’,’’ he says. And so a remarkable life story unfolded, bringing the textbooks alive for the students. Mr Naidu was in the Fijian police force and went to Cambodia in 1992 for nine months as a United Nations peacekeeper. He says the peacekeeping experience was incredibly rewarding. ‘‘Once you leave the place and you see what you have been there for and then you have achieved, it leaves you very proud.’’ He went on a second mission in 2008 to the African nation of Liberia as commander of the Fijian contingent. He says his elderly mother wasn’t happy to let him go a second time. ‘‘She said, ‘you’ve already gone to Cambodia, you’ve already served the people. What more do you want? You’ve got your house here, you’ve got your family here’.’’ ‘‘I said to her, ‘just think of the people there, the families there’ and then she was happy to let me go.’’ His most haunting experi- ence he shared with students was being held hostage for three days during the 2000 Fiji coup. ‘‘I hardly talk about the coup. I get emotional. ‘‘At night-time they would come and kick us,’’ he says. ‘‘They told us all to line up and they cocked their rifles and we were given five minutes to say our prayers.’’ ‘‘That stayed in my mind. For three months I couldn’t sleep, if there was just a small sound I would be up.’’ He says he was happy to leave that life and those experiences behind in Fiji and move to New Zealand. ‘‘We are living in paradise here. We are comparing hell and heaven,’’ he says. ‘‘Thirty-five years in the force was too much for me. ‘‘I have seen a lot. I wanted somewhere to be in peace.’’ Teacher Mandy Heim says Mr Naidu’s tale was a welcome surprise. ‘‘The students have ben- efited from hearing his story. ‘‘It is what empowers us as educators to go ‘hey this is real, this isn’t just a movie or a book, this is real life’.’’ Double life: Cleaner Krishna Naidu’s past life as a United Nations peacekeeper was revealed after a classroom at Elim Christian College started a unit looking at child soldiers. UP TO CARPET FROM 10m2* INCLUDES CARPET • TILES • LAMINATES • VINYL FAMOUS BRANDS • AMAZING PRICES* 40%OFF * Photo: ROSECAWLEY *Terms and Conditions: Sale Offer of up to 40% Off applies to a limited range of famous brand stocks of carpet and other flooring and stocks may vary per store. Ranges available have strictly limited metres and colours available. Sale offers do not apply in conjunction with any other offer. Offers available at participating outlets until 5 February 2014 only or while stocks last. See in store for full details of products on sale.
January 24th 2014
January 30th 2014