Island News

Pushing a barrow to earn a living

Written By : NANISE VOLAU. It could be classed as low-down but Jone Vakasa’s work as a wheelbarrow boy has become the cornerstone of his family’s happiness. The 48-year-old Matuku
09 May 2009 12:00

Written By : NANISE VOLAU. It could be classed as low-down but Jone Vakasa’s work as a wheelbarrow boy has become the cornerstone of his family’s happiness.
The 48-year-old Matuku father has earned some money out of this job in the last eight years.
Even if he wakes up at one in the morning to start work, he feels it is something he is honestly doing for his children and leaving behind seven children in the process has become a huge challenge.
But, as all struggling citizens do, Vakasa has worked hard and has promised himself that he will work hard for his family.
He began his education in the seventies, achieving only up to Form Three level at the Latter Day Saints College, Tamavua in 1976.
Vakasa was fifth child in a family of ten and talks of his love for the kind of work he has achieved for himself because it brings food to the table.
“I love my work because I have made my family happy through the little money I make in a day,” Vakasa shared.
“Before I leave for work I will wake my children and we will say a little prayer to guide us through the day before I make my way to the city,” he added.
Vakasa remembers those days he helped his parents to put his older and younger brother and sister to school by fishing.
“My father was a farmer and my mother stayed at home to look after us,” he said.
“We did not have much, but we always there to help each other which is most important to my parents.
Today, with work as a wheelbarrow boy, he earns at least $30 week – a sum most of his colleagues earn on the job.
“It has enabled me to pay for my children’s education and provide for my family’s necessities,” he said.
Although Vakasa had a lot of difficulties while growing up, he promised himself that his children will not go through the same.
He said his father would provide their uniforms and book and most times they walked to school barefoot on the gravel road.
“We did not have any electricity until I came to Suva in 1977 and life was very hard,” he said.
I helped my father to make sure brother and sisters achieved their dreams and their goals they have set during their childhood days.
Vakasa says one of the challenges he faces is meeting his family’s needs with the income he earns every day.
He said sometimes the reaction of people in town where they feeling of ignorance and not being recognised by members of the community.
Vakasa is more than just a husband and father and has been through a string of jobs balancing with family.
Vakasa works late to make sure he earns a little extra for his children and his wife.
Vakasa used to work with the Public Works Department but he got injured while working at the government house 1983.
Despite the work experiences gained, Vakasa felt his life had a different calling from the formal jobs he worked.
Vakasa believes that discipline was something he needed in his life at the time which work in hand in hand with patience.
Vakasa never give up trying and his passion towards his work is what makes his him hold on to his work despite the challenges he faced from the people who do not appreciate the little things the wheelbarrow boys provides.
Vakasa said he has done his best although he did not expect to end up in the wheelbarrow business in which people do not appreciate the little help they provide.
He had provided employment to some street kids who hire his wheelbarrows so that they can buy some food and clothes for their own.
“I own seven wheelbarrows and every morning some boys will be running to me and asking if they can hire them,” he said.
Vakasa worked six days in a week and never forget to take his children to church on Sundays.
He never wanted to miss any Sunday to thank the Lord for his blessings upon his family.
Vakasa believes that this is where the Ministry and the community should focus.
He attributes his success to his parents who have been the tower of strength and his biggest inspiration.
Despite the hardship Vakasa faced and went through in life his father ensured that all the children had a good education and earned a living before settling down for a family.
Vakasa said his mother Delai who is still alive will always behind encouraging him when he comes across difficulties in life.
My mother would always tell me that nothing is impossible if I place my trust to the Lord. Vakasa believes that having a low income should not be a deterring factor for anyone however hard work and perseverance are roads to success.

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