Island News

Duo love living the rural life

Written By : Mela Tuilevuka . One from Lau and another from Tailevu – these two friends are inseparable. The Fiji Sun crew caught up with Laiakini Tikoibau, 31 and
26 Jul 2008 12:00

Written By : Mela Tuilevuka . One from Lau and another from Tailevu – these two friends are inseparable.
The Fiji Sun crew caught up with Laiakini Tikoibau, 31 and Saula Vasu, 17, strolling under the scorching sun last week in Korovou Town, Tailevu.
Despite the 14-year age gap between them, the duo have something in common – they are both popular drivers with Tikoibau a van driver while the much younger Vasu drives a carrier.
Tikoibau, who hails from Matuku in Lau moved into the rural town in 1999 after spending most of his life in Nausori.
Having now spent almost nine years in Korovou, Tikoibau said he preferred to live in the rural town with his ‘tauvus’ rather than in the city.
“I know that saying about my ‘tauvus’ – no bus fare, paidar (walk) but they should be lucky I am here for them providing transport,” he said.
Tikoibau’s companion Vasu, who was born and bred in Tailevu, said he loves the slow life in the rural town.
“Some people may think we are backward but I like it this way, walking around bare feet and dressing down compared to the fast and busy life in the cities,” Vasu said.
Vasu added that life in the rural town allows him to be who he really is, something that city life would not allow him to do.
One look at the duo and their dress code, you would be able to catch their drift.
Only Tikoibau was spotted wearing a pair of sunglasses he had just recently brought from one of the shops along the dusty roads of Korovou Town.
“Living here is very good because the people here my ‘tauvus’ are very humble and down-to-earth,” Tikoibau said.
“I get along well with the villagers,” he said.
Vasu, the very talkative teenager, said he loves life in Korovou.
The teenager surprisingly also speaks fluent Hindi.
The two drivers try their best to be of service to people living in and around the vicinity of Korovou Town.
“We only do short-runs to places near and around town,” Tikobau said.
“At times we try to be more accommodating to the people and take them beyond our operation areas provided they fork out extra fare,” he said.
For Vasu, he said the bad road conditions hinders their work as he has to think twice when traveling to the interior.
“We want to take the villagers home but than we have to think about the our vehicles as well,” the teenager said.
“In a day we can earn an average of $70 and even though this is not much, at least it is something to help us get by,” he said.
Tikobau said he is saddened by the fact that along with the bad road conditions, the cost of fuel is also rising.
“The government should seriously consider the rising cost of fuel and the bad road conditions that we have here because it is affecting us rural dwellers.”
Tikoibau said, he normally gives his phone number to customers if they need to travel after hours or in case of emergencies.
“I normally receive phone calls from some of my customers to drive them to the hospital or other areas at odd hours,” he said.
The duo normally start of their day at five o’clock every morning and call it a day at six o’clock every evening.
“But most of the time, we knock off work later than that as we make sure that Korovou Town is empty and everyone finds transport to go home,” they said.

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