When everyone sees a dead frog in the middle of the road, they wouldn’t pay attention to it, well, who would? It’s dead.
But not to Jasmine, last time I met up with her, we saw this dead frog and I ignorantly walked past but Jasmine called me back and asked me what do I see and to describe it, I fumbled for words other than “death” or “ugly” but when Jasmine described it, it was like she was looking from the dead creatures ‘eyes, seeing a beautiful life and a light that probably leads to its death – a vehicle’s light.
It was extraordinary. And I must admit, I did felt my eyes bulging with tears, for the frog. All because of the creative descriptive words spoken emotionally by this female poet.
Meet Jasmine Navala Waleafea, a 34 year old poet and writer part Choiseul and Guadalcanal province. Having grew up in a broken family with a series of unfortunate events as a child supressing all her emotions was becoming too much for the young Jasmine – whose father is also a writer- so she begins writing poems as a way to escape from her harsh reality.
“I think I took after my father, the late Robert Navala. I was a very shy kid back then and writing is a way for me to express myself as I have been through a lot of rough times,” recalled Jasmine.
“I was an orphan, and vulnerable then and willfully stayed away from home as a protest to my father’s remarriage.”
As Jasmine begins high school at Betikama Adventist College, she finds a way to be self-sufficient and got small part time jobs as cleaner and market vendor just to meet her school fees.
She even got as far as cleaning houses for several staffs to get money for Colgate, swimming soaps and photocopying.
Jasmine is not coy to talk about her tough journey; in fact she willingly shares them to give hope to other girls in her shoes.
“People around us may now expect too much from us because they see who we become but it’s the journey of getting to where I am now that matters most to me – the struggles, the tears, the efforts and the choice I made to be a worthy person,” she explained.
Despite her struggle, the poet never resorts to drugs or alcohol or prostitution to take off the weight of the unfortunate phases of her life due to her faith and the resort God has given her. Writing.
Jasmine graduated at Pacific Adventist University with an Arts Degree in Secondary Education (English/Literature). She is now currently doing post grad Diploma at USP – SI Campus and DE flexible Learning (DFL) with University of Tasmania and works as a committee Clerk at the National Parliament of Solomon Islands Providing secretarial support to the Education and Human Resources Training Committee and the Public
Regardless of her busy schedule, Jasmine is a humbled wife and a mother to a son; Junior Robert, to whom she dedicated her recently published book, entitled “I DREAM”.
“‘I DREAM’ is a personal collection of poems and proses over the years. Poems range on the topical themes of spiritual beliefs, life, love, career and seeing politics through the eyes of an ordinary Solomon Islander.”
The young mother said.
“‘I DREAM’ is a call for young women in all walks of life to dream, to have a dream and transpire those dreams into reality. Day dreams so you stay awake and work on them.
“Life ends when you stop dreaming. Hope ends when you stop believing, love ends when you stop caring, so dream, hope, love makes life beautiful,” Jasmine added with a dreamy smile.
Though the book is prematurely launched in Guam during the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA), it is awaiting revising before a proper launching.
For Jasmine this is not her first publication.
She has her writing published in children’s books, magazines and other creative art mediums. Most recently, the famous “Talemaot issue 2: a collection of creative writing from Solomon Islands writers on the topic Peace and Conflict.”
The book has been launched recently at the Peace Day celebration on the 28th September 2016.
“I love to do all genres but poetry is my favourite style, since it’s economical to express a concept with a really good structured poem can be soothing when you listen to them,” Jasmine said.
“However, am exploring into feature writing and autobiographies too, when I have time.”
Just as much as she loves writing, writers see her as a young leader in the art as well.
Jasmine was elected this year as the President of Solomon Islands Creative Writers Association (SICWA), an Association that has well known members like Julian Maáka, DrTarcisius Tara, Julie Makini and Liam Sau just to name a few.
With her energy and passion, SICWA has a bright future under Jasmine’s leadership.
“I want to ensure our local writers are visible and marketable on the writing arena. With the desire for our writers to promote our indigenous pacific knowledge; and through their work we indicate our appreciation for our local norms, general perceptions, culture and traditions,” she said.
Jasmine plans to write a novel in the future, though it might seem like a long term goal, it is obvious that nothing can stop this young mother from picking up a pen and write about anything, and that anything will be one of the greatest literature of Solomon Islands.
A writer’s mind never sleeps, though I have met many writers who are passionate and avid about the art, I have never met such a writer who describes writing as a friend, a last resort, the way Jasmine does, and how her words can make you feel strongly for someone or something, or even a dead frog.