A woman from Kia Island
Kia is not only a car! It's a small island north west of Labasa. Pronounced Ki-ah. Kia can mean a war-club but these people are a fisherman tribe closely related to Vorovoro and Mali people. These days they supply fish for the Labasa market, caught by spear or line or nets. This is not deep-sea or large-scale fishing like the Chinese boats, but local family units in their small boats. Many Kia people live away from the island, in Labasa or Suva, in order to provide education for their children and find jobs. Here is a story of a Kia woman and her struggle to look after her family. I found this story on www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/Priorities and it was entitled Priorities of the People: Hardship in the Fiji Island ADB.org.
Single Mother, 32 Years Old
I began my education at St. Mary’s Primary School in Labasa in 1977 at Class 1 and left at Form 4 in 1987. I returned to the village to look after my grandparents for 12 years until their death. I stayed on my own until I had my first child in 1991. I reared my child alone for 5 years before I had my second child in 1994. I sent both my children to school here on Kia Island whilst raising them alone. I had no proper source of income, but I managed to see my daughter through primary school by fishing, gathering seashells, and selling them in Labasa market.
There is no male in my household. I therefore am finding it very hard to meet all the obligations demanded of me by the village, churches, and the school. I am receiving F$65 per month from the Department of Social Welfare but I hardly get by with this amount. For other income I go diving for fish three times a fortnight. I sell my fish at the Labasa market and pay F$10 per trip from Kia Island where I live. I have to prepare about F$150 every two weeks to see to my family’s needs and survival. I work hard keeping my house clean and raising my children properly and hope to do better in the years to come. My main concern is that my children get a better education and hopefully they will be able to find employment and have a better lifestyle for themselves.