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Bale Braves Wet Weather, Makes Sacrifices For Family

Originally from Mokani Village in Tailevu, Ms Bale leaves Mokani Village at 6 every morning rain, hail or shine.
09 Oct 2019 13:21
Bale Braves Wet Weather, Makes Sacrifices For Family
Mereoni Bale (ieft) and Kalesi Vanawa at the Suva Market on October 8, 2019. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Despite the wet swells the country currently faces, Mereoni Bale braves the cold and chilly weather conditions to be at the Suva Market as early as 6am to sell her i-Taukei delicacies to her customers.

Originally from Mokani Village in Tailevu, Ms Bale leaves Mokani Village at 6 every morning rain, hail or shine.

She said she does all these to put food on the table, send her only child to school and look after the welfare of her family.

“Everyone has to make sacrifices whether big or small for a better standard of living for their families,” Ms Bale said

“From my market table I sell bila, cassava pie, cassava cakes and cooked dalo also known as uronivonu,” she said

“Bila is made from cassava, which is peeled and soaked in a bucket of water for three to four days. The inner stringy core of the fermented cassava is tugged out and molded into pates.

“Then the molded cassava is mashed in a traditional bowl called takona, which is hewn and made from local vesi hardwood.

The cassava is then kneaded until it forms a consistent pulp.

After the pulp is ready, freshly and finely scraped coconut is mixed in along with sugar to taste.

Once all the ingredients are mixed then you make a dough, the dough is molded into sticks and wrapped in leaves, known locally as vasili.

The wrapped dough is then boiled for about an hour. Bila is ready when it can be bent without breaking.

She said: “It’s not easy preparing all these delicacies; to come and sell at the market, we have these processes to follow and we have to ensure we follow them closely so that it does not spoil the outcome of the bila that we sell here.”

Ms Bale added that she is able to earn close to $100 on a busy day.

“We get good money from the sales we make here but it always requires a lot of hard work.

“With the money I am earning here I am able to not only look after my family but also the commitments of the church and the vanua.”

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

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