Thursday, January 29, 2015

Messages from the past

from w
A friend on facebook posted these - came from an autograph book of her relatives.  One from Setareki Tuilovoni, the other from John Havea.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Painting an old village

from w
Peceli did his painting on canvas quickly with acrylics. ( I have only sketched bits and pieces so far for mine with the pelicans.) I helped him with the fiddly bits with a fine brush. He wanted to paint a Fijian village with the old-style bures.

Honour to Peter Drysdale

from Peceli,
Our Rotary friend in Lautoka who has worked very hard in developing housing for the poor by establishing a village called Koroipita has been honoured with the Order of Australia. Congratulations.  Our friend Anton VanDoornik also received an honour this week, the medal of the Order of Australia for his work with Donation in Kind in Geelong which is about sending containers of hospital beds, medical equipment, books, clothes, kitchenware, etc. to South Pacific Islands and in South East Asia. Wendy and I are volunteers with the Geelong Donation in Kind.

Drysdale honours appointment

Litia Mathewsell
Thursday, January 29, 2015

BEING appointed a Member of the Order of Australia while residing and working outside the country is not commonplace, but nonetheless, Peter Drysdale welcomes the honour.
The prolific Lautoka-based Rotarian's name was among selected Australians recognised for their remarkable efforts in the Australia Day 2015 Honours List, announced earlier this week.
He is being honoured for being of significant service to the international community through the provision of low-cost housing for disadvantaged persons in Fiji.
He said he would travel to Canberra in April for the investiture ceremony.
"I will be taking my family along in recognition of their great sacrifice," Mr Drysdale said.
"My wife Josephine and our children left Fiji 17 years ago for their education and other reasons and my family has made a great sacrifice to allow me to pursue my career at Williams and Gosling and this project at Koroipita. I call that the untold story."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Labasa shop opening hours

from w
An 'exhilerated environment' in Labasa, they say !  I hardly think that shopping is so exciting as this.
A letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times is about extending opening hours till 8 p.m. two days a week.  Surely you can do all your shopping by 6 p.m.  Would the extra two hours make Labasa town 'exciting' Will later buses mean kids hang around the shops till dark?  Surely families ought to be home by then to have their evening meal and do family things - homework, etc.

Bid to foster excitement

Salaseini Moceiwai
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
IN a bid to foster an exhilarated environment, the Labasa Chamber of Commerce has come up with a proposal for the extension of business hours in the northern town.
And the bus operators have welcomed the idea, saying the move was one that would benefit everyone.
The proposal was presented at a stakeholders meeting in Labasa on Monday night.
Commerce president Satish Kumar said this was a way of invigorating an exciting night life in Labasa.
"It would rather be tried out for two days and we have come up with Thursday and Friday as these are two busy days of the week," Mr Kumar said.
"We propose to extend the business hours from 8am to 8pm instead of 8am to 6pm for these two days. If all goes according to plan, we will include some more days.
"This is part of efforts to bring about positive changes into Labasa. We all know that after 6pm, Labasa Town is usually empty and the night life is not as exciting as Suva, Lautoka and Nadi.
"At least with the extension of the business hours, we will be somehow boosting the northern economy.
Fiji Bus Operators Association vice-president and Parmod Enterprises Ltd owner Parmod Chand said they were willing to provide their services to the travelling public until 8pm.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Babasiga women go to Taveuni

from w
Some of our babasiga relatives recently went over to Taveuni to help the move of the talatala and radini ni talatala from Wailevu village to Welagi village in Taveuni.  Ateca and Talei posted pictures on their facebook pages about their delightful trip so here are some of their photos. They are of course Ratawa women!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Potential seasonal workers for NZ have to pass a hundred tests

from w
It amazes me that potential seasonal workers have to pass a hundred tests to be eligible.  Normally seasonal workers are pack packers, people passing through, without credentials except a willingness to work.  Read this -  from the Fiji Sun.  Don't they just love red tape in Fiji!

“To ensure that the selection process is transparent, the Ministry has developed two sets of Selection Criteria to be fulfilled by prospective applicants before a final Barrel Selection is executed to determine the successful applicants for overseas employment under the New Zealand RSE work scheme.
“Under the general criteria, Fijian nationals interested for overseas employment must first register with the National Employment Centre (NEC), must be Unemployed, must be living in the rural setting, must hold a  medical card issued by the Ministry of Health, possess a valid Fiji Passport, have Police clearance and hold a clean Police record, have a general health medical clearance, be of good character, must be English literate, must have some skills in agro-farming (etc.), reside in Fiji, must be accountable and a team player, must be honest and hardworking, and must have the clearance to travel overseas. As the New Zealand RSE targets low skilled workers, applicants with minimal education background are encouraged to apply.
“Under the second set of selection criteria which is the specific criteria, workers must pass physical fitness tests, pass the Rapid Upper Limp Assessment, have acceptable BMI (Body Mass Index: <29 a="" and="" audiometry="" be="" by="" clearance="" colour="" doctor="" ear="" ecg="" employment.="" eye="" function="" have="" lung="" medical="" ministry="" occupational="" of="" p="" pass="" specified="" stress="" tests="" the="" to="" vision="">
The Minister emphasised that to be considered for the selection process, an applicant must fulfil two basic requisites, namely to be registered with the National Employment Centre for overseas employment, and hold a valid Fiji Passport.
Mr Konrote also cautioned recruiters who were taking money from people on the pretext of acquiring them a place under the RSE scheme.
He said those wishing to be considered under the scheme must apply through the Ministry of Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity, and not go through any other external parties. DEPTFO News

It's easier just to get a visitor visa perhaps, cross your fingers and touch wood, and then when the shout of 'tevoro' rings out, run for your lives amidst the fruit trees.
Young people from specified countries can come to Australia on a 417 visa (for under 30 years of age) and are allowed to work for part of their year-long holiday.  But beware of unscrupulous business people wo do not pay the normal wage of about $22 an hour etc.  Such as this story in today's ABC news:

Workplace watchdog says Tasmanian business paid backpacker $1.35 an hour

The promise of sunshine, adventure and a decent wage draws thousands of young people to Australia on working holiday visas every year. But the country's workplace watchdog says too many backpackers are being ripped off by unscrupulous employers. Now the Fairwork Ombudsman is taking legal action against a Tasmanian business owner it says paid an Italian worker less than $1.50 an hour.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A resourceful babasiga woman

from w
The women in Labasa are often quite resourceful and work hard to support their families. Here is one example.

Fishing for the family

Josaia Ralago
Friday, January 16, 2015
ANA Biausavu Niusoria is a well-known woman in Labasa.
A vendor at the Labasa market, Nau Ana, as she is known, sells varieties of goods from mats and wreaths to fish.
She said it was important for women to contribute to the running of the family financially.
Mrs Niusoria said with the earnings she made from her vending business, she was able to cover for her family's expenses like electricity bills, water bills and hire-purchase payments.
Originally from Viwa Island in Yasawa, Mrs Niusoria sells a variety of goods depending on the demand for them.
She said that even though she was a handicraft person by profession, fishing was always her hobby.
The mother of one said the passion to fish stemmed from her childhood days growing up on the island of Viwa.
Unlike others, Nau Ana goes out to sea to catch her own fish. At times, she is accompanied by her daughter and sometimes she goes with other fishermen and women.
The Fiji Times caught up with her as she displayed her catch in an ice box after returning from an overnight fishing trip.
The fresh fish was ready to be taken down to the market to be sold.
She said that her husband was on leave from his work for now and it was her business that was keeping her family going.
Mrs Niusoria also receives orders for mats and tapa from customers on Viti Levu.
"I have a lot of clients and when they call, I send the items through courier and even though it may be a hassle at times, I do it anyway for my family's sake," she said.
"Now I have a daughter who will attend secondary school so my business has helped us very well.
"I believe women can do a lot. We can weave mats, make baskets and even do flower arrangements which contributes to the family income."
Mrs Niusoria encouraged women living in villages to utilise their resources and earn an income from it.
"We just need to know our goals in life and what we want to do for our families and only then can we achieve our dreams including educating our children," she said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Volcano in Tonga waters

from w
Plane flights have been disrupted this week as an underwater volcano spews up ash and stuff and the cloud of ash means the cancellation of some flights in the South Pacific region.  Let's hope it is clearing up soon for stranded passengers.  Also, I hope that this will not affect the health of people in the small islands.  Go to this website for photos. Coincidentally or not, the sea has turned red near Tongatapu. However some say it is a kind of algae bloom.