Sweet Reward Of Sweat Over Crime

Navitalai Saluvou, 33, loves sitting amongst the vendors in the Nausori Municipal Market to sell his produce. He gets around $200 a week, but that is more than enough for
09 Feb 2017 11:00
Sweet Reward Of Sweat Over Crime
Navitalai Saluvou sells at his stall at the Nausori Municipal Council. He believes there is no room for crime in anyone’s life. Photo: LOSALINI BOLATAGICI

Navitalai Saluvou, 33, loves sitting amongst the vendors in the Nausori Municipal Market to sell his produce.

He gets around $200 a week, but that is more than enough for him to tend to his family needs in looking after his wife and two young children.

The earning might not be enough for many, but for the man from Navutuvula Village in Naitasiri, he enjoys it because he said nothing was sweeter than the reward of his hard work and sweat.

But more than 10 years ago, Mr Saluvou had resorted to crime to earn a living. He would steal in order to put money in his pocket and that life had led him to prison on many occasions.

He was introduced to crime at an early age so serving terms in prison became a norm for him.

In 2013, after completing another six months imprisonment term for theft, Mr Saluvou decided it was time to make a U-turn and make a meaning of his life.

The constant counselling provided by the Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) and the many Yellow Ribbon initiatives introduced aimed at giving ex-offenders a second chance at life contributed immensely to Mr Saluvou’s self realisation.

“I decided it was time to focus on a better future. Coming to prison is a waste of valuable time and I have other ways to earn an honest living than stealing and committing other crimes,” Mr Saluvou said.

Through the help of a former corrections officer, he was blessed with a piece of land, a few kilometres away from his village, to utilise and to help him get back to his feet.

He cultivated the land to plant cassava, dalo, ginger and pineapples. Through the years, he started his pig farming and recently ventured into prawn farming.

“I enjoyed living here on the farm with my family. We eat from the fresh produce and even without money, we can still survive,” he said.

“We have harvested our ginger already and we are about to replant as well as other crops around here. My prawn farm is expected to mature soon for harvest and it is all about time management and hard work.

“I had about 20 bags of ginger which was sold at $25 each and I harvest more than 1000 dalo. That is more than enough given that I work alone with little help from his relatives every now and then.”

Early last year, Mr Saluvou thought about finding a proper market for his produce to help sustain his family until harvest time.

“That’s when we decided to come and sell in the market. My wife brings our produce early in the morning while I stay back to do some farming and I usually join them later in the day.

“We sell whatever we can bring from our farm – rourou, coconut, cassava, dalo, ginger and sometimes we buy too from middlemen from our earnings and re-sell to our customers. On an average day, we get $50 a day and the lowest we could collect in a week is $200 and we put aside some for our saving.”

His wife was full of praise for his hardworking husband acknowledging the change in his life.

Source: Fiji Corrections Service




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