Feature

Grandmother Seeks Help

A 70-year-old grandmother living with her 22-year-old grandson at Dreketilailai in Labasa is optimistic of better days ahead. For 11 years, Tara Wati has been living in an old house where
23 Oct 2020 13:01
Grandmother Seeks Help
Tara Wati at Dreketilailai in Labasa on October 22, 2020. Photo: Shratika Naidu

A 70-year-old grandmother living with her 22-year-old grandson at Dreketilailai in Labasa is optimistic of better days ahead.

For 11 years, Tara Wati has been living in an old house where she does everything (cooking, eating and resting) in one small room.

Vikash Chand, suffering from heart problem had to drop out from Year 12 at Bulileka Sanatan College in Labasa because he was disturbed by the poor living condition.

They don’t have a toilet and bathroom, no electricity and goes to the nearby stream to have bath.

“My brother who is our neighbour gives us water to use and through his good relationship with the Mataqali we have been given permission to stay in this land,” Ms Wati said.

“We fill our stomach from the assistance we get from Social Welfare Department.”

The mother of four children suffering from hypertension, said the situation was such that she can’t complain about the old roof over their head unable to shield the rain and hot sun.

“We use natural resources from the mountain to carry out maintenance of the house,” the second eldest of 11 siblings originally from Coqeloa, Labasa said.

Such as using coconut husk to make a veranda, firewood as flooring of the house and stones piled up as sink basin.

Mr Chand said when they don’t have food, he walked to the mountain to collect fruits to eat.

“When there is enough supply of fruits then I move around Labasa

Town to sell,” he said.

“When there is enough water in the stream then I do small backyard gardening.

“I have been living with my grandmother since my mother left me in her care when I was a child.”

While holding onto a broken widow he said he was still waiting for God to tell him why they were still struggling.

“We don’t know whether we will see better days ahead or not,” Ms Wati said.

“What we know is that we have to survive in this world by hook or crook.”

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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