Tough Upbringing Pushes Narayan to Excel

After he completed Year 12 at Labasa College, he worked as a sugarcane labourer in Labasa at a relative’s place to earn $300 for his tertiary education.
20 Dec 2021 13:49
Tough Upbringing Pushes Narayan to Excel
Suresh Narayan with his wife Tarun Narayan at Savusavu Bay Lodge in Savusavu on December 17, 2021. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Suresh Narayan remembers fully well the days he used to walk five kilometres to and from school barefoot.
And being raised in a thatched house at Dreketi, Macuata he never thought that one day he would become a businessman.

The 54-year-old is the owner of Savusavu Bay Lodge.

He recalled how he spent 12 years walking five kilometres from home to Dreketi Indian Primary School and then later to Dreketi Secondary School.

“After school I would race home with my siblings to get the best food first,” Mr Narayan said.

“It took us almost two hours to reach home and those days we didn’t have a bus or carrier van operating on our route.”

After he completed Year 12 at Labasa College, he worked as a sugarcane labourer in Labasa at a relative’s place to earn $300 for his tertiary education.

His father, a rice farmer during that time, didn’t have money to send him to Suva for further edsucation at Fiji Institute of Technology now known as Fiji National University.

“After acquiring a Certificate of Printing I couldn’t find a job because it was during that time when the 1987 coup happened,” the father of two sons said.

“However, there was a job vacancy advertised by the Department of Marine now known as Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji looking for a marine checker and I managed to apply to get the job.”

After two years he was transferred to Savusavu to look after the operation.

His job was to check boats like Spirit of Free Enterprise (SOFI), Ashika, Sullivan and Ovalau and to give clearance.

“During those days there were many shipping companies and no cruise liner,” he said.

“I worked for 26 years for the Marine Department.”

Mr Narayan also took up courses as a classic boat master license which enabled him to become a class six master engineer and boat master.

He got married to Tarun Narayan originally from Savusavu and is currently manager of JKS Holdings Limited also based in the hidden paradise.

After completing Year 12 at Savusavu Secondary School Tarun joined Consort Shipping Company in Savusavu as a senior freight officer.

After the company closed in 2013 she joined the subsidiary company, JKS Holdings Limited.

“I’ve been working in this company for 38 years and its because I have a very good employer, Leo Smith and his son Justin Smith,” Mrs Narayan said.

“In 1997 we bought a piece of land and built our first house with a loan from the National Bank of Fiji and financial support from the Fiji National Provident Fund.”

On the same property they gradually built flats to rent out.

$40k Lodge
Then in 2016 they developed it into a lodge at a cost of $40,000 and now it is known as Savusavu Bay Lodge.
Savusavu Bay Lodge is located along Lesiaceva Road in Savusavu just before Daku Resort.

The idea to invest in the tourism industry came up after they realised that the property provided the best view of Savusavu Bay and had a lot of space for accomodation and functions.

Although the lodge was closed during the the Coronavirus pandemic last year and this year, the couple didn’t struggle.
This is because they have paid off all loans from their savings and FNPF.

Despite being located beside Daku Resort, Naveria Heights and Gecko Lodge, they still have guests coming in after the lockdown was lifted.
The couple also provide speed boats and commercial vehicles for trips and tours.

When asked why he didn’t choose to return home and invest in rice farming, he said he didn’t want his children to experience the struggles he endured.

“My parents wanted us to have a qualification and a good life and through their blessings we have achieved so much in life,” he said.
“Till today my siblings and I help our parents financially so that we can give all the things they didn’t have before.”

He said mingling with the right people has enabled him to venture into other business like setting up a canteen business at Savusavu Hospital yard and then selling it off.

“Such skills over the years have helped me build up slowly and become one of the successful businessmen in Savusavu,” he said.


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