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No Dull Moment At Bustling Lautoka Market

There is no dull moment at the Lautoka municipal market as it a place where all nationalities, cultures and ethnicities are represented through its vendors, customers and staff. And there
12 Jan 2018 11:05
No Dull Moment At Bustling  Lautoka Market
Widow Sokoveti Vaubula sells at the Lautoka market to support her daughter with her tertiary education. Photo: Karalaini Tavi.

There is no dull moment at the Lautoka municipal market as it a place where all nationalities, cultures and ethnicities are represented through its vendors, customers and staff.

And there is always something taking place there – vendors and farmers or vendors and customers bargaining for the best price; people of all ages slipping for a cool glass of home-made juice or a piece of fresh water melon; fresh sea food, a member of the public thanking a vendor for looking after his items and someone rushing out to catch the Tomuka bus saying goodbye to a friend.

The market vendors are from different ethnic backgrounds and represent the 14 provinces in Fiji plus Rabi and Rotuma.

One such vendor is widow Sokoveti Vaubula from Verata in Tailevu , who has been a vendor the past 30 years in Suva, Navua and now Lautoka.

Ms Vaubula, 60, had started off selling fish and dalo packs in the Suva market, then to root crops and vegetables at Navua and now at Lautoka  in the West.

“My late husband and I began in Suva with the small canteen located near the market Police post where we sold food varieties including fish and dalo, sausage and chips,” Ms Vaubula said.

“When we moved to Navua, we diversified by selling dalo, kumala, banana, pineapples.”

Ms Vaubula lost her husband in 2010, and this was a major setback for her.

There were a lot of challenges but she pressed on to keep her family together.

“After I lost my husband I stopped for a while, then I knew that I could not carry on that way,” she said.

“I moved to Lautoka in 2013, so it has been four years since I have been selling here.

“So during the weekdays I sleep at the mall, where I pay $2 a night.”

Her youngest daughter is attending a tertiary institution in the west – that is why she needs to have a business to support her.

Her message: “Whatever we face in life, the trials and struggles, do note that everyone goes through them, it is up to us to take the stand and work hard for a better life.”

MeanwhileNilesh Kumar from Tavakubu in Lautoka runs a stall at the Lautoka market to support his elderly mother.

He first began three years ago when his two brothers married and have moved away; he was left to take care of his mother.

“I had no money and we all know that we need money to start any business,” Mr Kumar said.

“With support from people around me, I had to ask for credit from people to start my business,” he said.

“Even through all that I to pay fees in the market and I have managed to keep my business afloat, three years going and I am earning more than expected.”

Mr Kumar added despite having this challenges he was happy to know that everything he did was for his mother.

“Men like me who are single would be out living life and enjoying it. For me, I find peace and happiness every day that I spend with my mother who I know has sacrificed for me and my family.”

 

Market Price List:

Dalo:             $5 – 7 a heap

Ginger:                        $2 a heap

Chillies:        $1 a plate

Kumala:        $5 a heap

Coconut:      $4 for heap

Eggplant:    $1 a heap

Kumala:        $4 a heap

Breadfruit: $5 a heap

Pineapple: $6 a bundle

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