THE decision of her husband to leave her behind with her two children did not deter Sulueti Liku from living her life. Her husband was the sole bread winner of the family and was a very successful farmer in his village Ms Liku described him as a very supporting and loving man but questions regarding his decision to leave his family remains.
“My husband left us when we needed him the most,both my sons were below the age of five when he left and it was one of the most difficult time in my life. “I was left shattered,I had no idea of what to do especially on how to feed my two children,”she said.
The 55-year-old single mother from Vendor back on her feet Nasivikoso,Magodro in Ba said the only choice she was left with was to continue with the work of her husband. “We own a yaqona and root crop plantation and so I started to do farming and such practice was not so common in my village,”Ms Liku said.
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BEFORE the break of dawn, Anare Volanavanua and his wife jump right into their daily routine of preparing their produce for selling at the Nadi Market. As days go by, age catches up with the perservering couple. Fatigue and backache are some of the difficulties they face at the age of 70. Volonavanua hails from the Garden Island of Taveuni and lives with his wife in Nawaka Village, Nadi.
He has been happily married with seven children for over thirty five years. Before Tropical Cyclone Winston could wipe out his farm and house at his island home, Volanavanua and his wife were dependent on their children who lived with them and the produce they sell at Nawaka.
After Cyclone Winston his children married and now live away from them. Volanavanua knows that he can no longer depend on his children and the produce sold in the village as a source of income for him and his wife. “My children are now all married with their own children.
Even though they are willing to help us, I know they have their own families to take care of so I do not take any money from them.” The couple works hard to also provide for their children’s families if they are short of food. Root crops are sent to their children in Ba and Labasa when they can and of course free of charge.
“RENOVATE and extend our home to be bigger and better than what we have now.” That’s the aspirations of a market vendor at the Nadi Market. Akeneta moved to her mother-in-law’s village with her husband a few years ago to better support her family.
She has one child in year 11 in high school and a daughter attending the Nadi Special School Vocation Centre and five sons looking after the family farm in Navosa, which is about 4 hours away from Nadi Town. Nawaka, her mother-in-law’s village, is just a few minutes away from Nadi town, which made selling vegetables at the market a viable option for Akeneta and her husband, and a way to support their family in the long term.
They started by selling their farm produce outside the Nadi Market. Every week their sons at the village would send produce in a carrier for them to sell. The couple would wake up at five o’clock every morning, prepare their family’s breakfast and get their children ready for school before they travel to the market to sell their produce.
They did this together as a couple until Akeneta’s husband passed away in February 2016.