Monday, March 24, 2008


Spending years in the city being a barrow boy is not easy but that's what Akapusi Tumate Junior, 18, does for a living.
Akapusi is originally from Yadrana, Lakeba, Lau.
"I attended Uluiqalau Primary School and spent my secondary school years attending Ratu Finau Secondary School," he said last week.
Akapusi dropped out of school when in Form Five and aged 16.
He said he found school boring compared to staying at home with friends.
"Life was good staying in the village, especially having friends of the same age," he said.
"I found that going to school was no use since it was more fun being with my friends and I didn't have to do homework."
He said while in school he wanted to become a primary school teacher to help his parents and his three younger brothers.
When he left school, he helped his father planting cassava, taro, yaqona and vegetables.
As the eldest child in the family, his parents had great plans for him.
"When I approached my parents, telling them I no longer wanted to be in school, they said no.
"They told me to continue going to school.
"But peer pressure was so strong that I continued to stay out of school and started livng away from home
"I came to Suva without letting my parents know about it.
"They somehow found out that I was staying in Suva with one of my father's brother."
Akapusi said the idea of being a barrow boy came from his uncle who encouraged him to do something useful during the day instead of staying at home.
He said if the job went well he got $60 a day.
The money he earns, helps him set food on the table to feed the 10 people he's staying with in Delainavesi.
But earning cent is a competition with other like-minded young people.
"There are times when I go through difficulties but they allow me to discover new things in life," he said.
"Without patience and perseverance nothing can be achieved.
They are the two keys in life that keep me going. To my brothers and sisters out there, try and finish your school and achieve your goals in order to be successful in life.
"There is nothing easy in this world, it requires a lot of sacrifices to be able to sail in a calm sea.
"Listen to your parents for their instructions are the best teachings in the world today."

Adapted from Fijitimes Online

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


AT the age of 23, Joeli Lewaicei is a big-time yaqona farmer and middleman in the province of Cakaudrove in Vanua Levu.
He sells on average, 200 to 300 kilograms of yaqona every week to markets in Viti Levu.
The lad of Wailevu Village by the Natewa Bay in the district of Tunuloa has a 20-acre farm where he plants yaqona and dalo.
"I have been a supplier for more than four years now.
"I buy yaqona from farmers in surrounding villages and sell it to markets in Viti Levu through my partner at Nadi market.
"Apart from buying yaqona from farmers, I also get my own supply from the farm and send across to my business partner in Nadi who is also from the village," Joeli said.
He said he could send one tonne of yaqona a month and earn very good money.
In a week, Joeli can earn about $6000 from selling 200kg to 300kg of yaqona at $28 to $30 a kilo of waka or lewena.
"It is good money and I have orders from clients in Savusavu and Labasa.
"I sell at a very cheap price so I think that contributes to the good earnings I receive in a week."
There are some buyers he calls "trusted clients" to whom he sends yaqona by courier and the clients deposit his money in his bank account.
"Most of my clients are in Labasa and Suva but most of my supply goes to my partner at Nadi market who we started the farm together in the village.
"We used to be unemployed but after we started our farm and decided that one of us go to Nadi to sell our yaqona to the markets in Viti Levu, we have seen our business grow each day."
After seeing their business thrive, Joeli believes there is no reason for youths in villages not to be without work and money.
"We have a lot of land in the village and if youths are going to the urban centres to look for a job, I believe they are being misled because the land offers more money then white collar jobs.
"Even people with white collar jobs come and ask for small loans from me.
"That speaks much of how rich the land is and even at this young age, I have started my savings.
"Once I have saved enough, I plan on returning to continue my studies at tertiary school."
Joeli said without the support and advice of the Ministry of Youth, his business would not be as successful as it is today.
"They encouraged me to start my own farm and make it bigger.
"They showed me how I could turn it into a successful business with my partner in Nadi and I owe the ministry a great deal for their help and advice."
For now, Joeli's yaqona farm and middleman business is earning him good money.
But as everyone else in the business know, it will require some hard work from the start before you can enjoy.
No doubt he has done the hard work and is now reaping the fruits of his labour.
Joeli is a good example to all young men in the village with land but nothing to do.
There is money in the land but first you have to work hard before you can get it.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online