Jai Wati Finds Peace At The Suva Market

55 years The number of years Jay Wati has been a vendor at the Suva Market
15 Sep 2022 18:30
Jai Wati Finds Peace At The Suva Market
Jay Wati at her stall in the Suva Market. Photo: Nolishma Narayan

Jay Wati has found the Suva Market to be her place of peace, believing every day is a blessing.

The 74-year-old from Koronivia, Nausori has been a vendor at the Suva Market for the past 55 years.

The oldest among her brothers and sisters, Ms Wati had dedicated her teen years in nurturing her younger siblings.

“My late parents were market vendors during their days, but sadly my mother became very sick and used to spend half of the year at the hospital. Times were hard as we siblings were schooling too,” she said.


“I had only studied up to Form 4 (Year 14) and had to stop there to start looking after my younger siblings. Being the eldest I knew it was my responsibility to help my parents.”

“I wasn’t hesitant to leave school as I knew I had nothing to worry about because in my heart I knew that in future my siblings will be there to support me,” she said.

Ms Wati said being a new vendor at the market years back had its struggles, but with time and patience she had managed.


“When I became a market vendor everything seemed nice, but the only difficulty I faced was with the money. When it came to giving change to customers I wasn’t prepared for it.”

“But with time I got used to it and with practice I got better and better. I’m proud I didn’t give up, but rather kept pushing myself to learn,” she said.

The mother of two buys vegetables from farmers and sells it at her stall inside the market as her only source of income.


“My husband passed on 15 years ago and since then I have been looking after my two sons. It wasn’t easy, but I knew my responsibility as their mother,” she said.

“One of my sons needs extra care, sometimes I have to close my stall as early as 3pm to rush back home to cook and feed him.”

It wasn’t easy managing everything myself, but as a mother I did and still do it all.


“I am thankful to my sister in Canada who never made me feel I’m alone, she’s always there to support me and my son,” she said.

Ms Wati used to accompany her father to sell vegetables outside the Suva Market during her young days.

“I love my time spent at the market, it feels peaceful speaking to other vendors and also meeting new people while they buy their vegetables from me,” she said.


“There’s never a dull day at the market, although sales are not that good everyday, but I just hope another day is not the same,” she said.

“Life is not always the same, but we all have to manage somehow. We parents as adults know what life has to offer at different stages so we should prepare our children accordingly.”



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