Two Years In The Groves

Rejected by family members, family forced to shelter in makeshift tent among mangroves in Nacovi, Nadi
03 Jan 2020 12:35
Two Years In The Groves
Mereani Ranasau outside their makeshift tent home in Nacovi, Nadi. Photo: Mereleki Nai

For the past two years, home for a family of four has been made of tarpaulin, strengthened with corrugated iron and erected among mangroves, right across from a major hotel in Nacovi, Nadi.

For Mereani Ranasau and her two children, aged three and one-year-old respectively, and an injured spouse, this is as good as it gets.

Their tent home is also located outside the Nacovi Cemetery, outside Nadi.

Originally from Verata in Tailevu and maternal links to Fulaga in Lau, the 48-year-old said the unacceptance of her relationship with her husband meant none of their family members wanted them.

She said their makeshift home was the only means of having a roof over their heads.

“My partner was a carpenter, but now he stays home. He was injured and cannot work anymore,” Ms Ranasau said.

“We chose to live on our own because my partner’s family and my family don’t accept our relationship.

“We asked a family if they could assist us with a place to stay and a tent to live in. We are grateful for their assistance. During Tropical Cyclone Sarai, we chose to endure the rain and strong wind, together as a family.”

Ms Ranasau said she struggled to put food on the table by going to neighbouring houses to work as a housemaid.

“Every day I go to houses and ask for household chores like cleaning, washing or any job around their compound,” she said.

“The money I receive, I use it to buy our food and some daily needs. That is how we survive.

“We have not asked for any assistance from Social Welfare yet. We need a better house to live in, especially for my two children.”

Ms Ranasau said it was a daily struggle and the hardest thing was providing for her children.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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