Lifestyle

Luisa Wati Ignores Freebies, Rather Work For Her Needs, Family

A mother’s sacrifices for her children and her family cannot be compared to any other. These were the words of 79-year-old Suva market vendor Luisa Wati. The Naivilaca, Noco, Rewa
07 Mar 2019 18:52
Luisa Wati Ignores Freebies, Rather Work For Her Needs, Family
Luisa Wati at her stall at the Suva market on March 6, 2019. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

A mother’s sacrifices for her children and her family cannot be compared to any other.

These were the words of 79-year-old Suva market vendor Luisa Wati.

The Naivilaca, Noco, Rewa native left her husband’s Island in Koro, Lomaiviti in the early 1960’s in search for better education opportunities for her ten children.

Her husband is from Nakodu in Koro.

“I started off this business for my family’s welfare and most importantly for my children’s education, today all ten of them have their own families and are looking after themselves very well,” Ms Wati said.

“When I came to Suva, I quickly realised that I had to work for my children’s education and not depend on others,” she said.

“I was selling in the market then my children began their education, they had attended primary school back in Koro as we had lived back in the Island then.

“When my children started high school, we moved to Suva so that they can attend secondary school here in the city, I cannot recall when that was but it was way back during the colonial leadership.”

Ms Wati said she began selling when the currency was in shillings and pennies.

“I started selling in the market back in the colonial days where the currency was in shillings and pennies, I am one of the pioneer market vendors in the Suva Market because I had started a long way back than anyone else in this market,” Ms Wati said.

“I started off with the produce I had brought when we had left Koro. I sold pandanus leaves, root crops and fragranced body oil from the island.

“I continued with that until the Fijian currency changed to what it is today, the Fijian dollar.

“There has been a very big difference of how it was when we started and how markets operate today, especially with how everything is packed, stored and even sold.

“Cassava were not packed in sacks when it was sold, we had our woven baskets to pack them in for our customers, also before there were people who only traded stuff like household items for a bundle of dalo or a heap of any other vegetable that we used to sell.

“Today, it is all easier and much better because the only medium of exchange is money.”

Her two sons in the village are farming to supply her produce to sell.

“My two sons who are still in the village look after our farm and they supply me with vudi, lemons, root crops to sell in my table,”

“They help me in this business and all I do is buy them their monthly food rations even though they do not ask for it,”

Ms Wati added that the earnings she has received from the business has enabled her to be independent.

Strong headed Ms Wati does not believe in handouts that is why she would rather be at the market every day and earn money.

“I do things on my own, I buy the food that I want to eat, I look after my health and my well being with the money I earn from this business.

“I know that there are some provisions for old people like me but I’d rather be here. This is my livelihood.

“My children don’t need to worry about anything that concerns my welfare because I am still able to look after myself.

“However, as a mother, I could easily find out if my children are in need of anything, even though they don’t tell me that they need financial support, I can take it out of how they act and behave with me.

“I support my children when they’re in need because it is natural for a mother to always love and care for their children even though they are big enough to look after themselves.

“My children tell me to call it a day with this business but I tell them that it helps me move around, stay fit and look after myself.

“It has helped me a lot and I don’t think I will quit anytime soon.”

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