Monday, July 07, 2008

Changes in Labasa over thirty years

from today's Fiji Times

Michael notes changes
Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Michael Amal Deo ... major changes in Labasa

THE town of Labasa in the Northern Division had no housing area and not many shops in the 1970s and people depended on a small market for their vegetable supply. Michael Amal Deo remembers this vividly.

He started work as a cleaner for the Labasa Town Council in 1977. He still does that job today and says he has enjoyed every minute of it.He has done everything from cleaning drains, mowing the lawn on council property to attending to pot plants around the town area. Mr Deo said when he started work, his job involved cleaning around town, starting from as far as Naodamu where a residential housing area now sits. He says there was no such area before when he started work. "There was no housing area in Labasa and not many houses or shops like we have now except for a few houses in Naodamu and about 20 shops in town," he remembers. "There was a small market in town that sold vegetables and I remember there were not many buses and cars like we have today."

Labasa has developed into a major urban centre serving as a meeting place for people in the Northern Division. The township is the only major urban centre in the division alongside Savusavu.

Mr Deo has even noticed a big difference over the collection of rubbish in residential and town areas. "In the past when I first started, there was rubbish every where, scattered all over the place and we used to collect from different places in the residential areas. Today, it is better organised and people know where to pile their rubbish which are now kept in bins or garbage bags."

He says over the years the town has developed but despite this, business people have done a good job in keeping their rubbish stacked in proper places making it easier for collection. Money earned from his job, Mr Deo says, has helped support his family financially."I have been able to educate my three daughters, feed my family and pay for bills so I am enjoying my job," he says."Although people always tell me to look for better opportunities, I enjoy my work at the council and I will continue until I retire."


Anonymous said...

In Dec this year, it will be 30yrs since I left Labasa, so it will be interesting to see the changes when I make a trip back there early Dec. However, I am pretty sure that were more than 20 shops back in '78!!!!! A good number of my friends have also left the town to move to Viti Levu or o/seas, but Labasa continues to grow. God bless them all.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Anon (hey, give us a clue of your name please!)
Yes, we were there in the 70s and there was a long line of shops both sides of the main road and a good fruit and vegetable market attended to our supplies that we couldn't grow ourselves. We even bought turtle meat there (Okay, these days it is a no-no)

Anonymous said...

Hi Peceli & Wendy - my name is Kofe and I am a niece of the late Bp Viliami Hala'api'api & Ema. I blogged on this site last year, and I always enjoy coming back to it whenever I feel 'homesick'.

God bless you both in your Missions.

Loloma bibi.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula sia Kofe - or Malo lelei!
Thank you for visiting our blog - which is meant to be mainly about Labasa and nearby, but of course we get side-tracked - such as our recent trip to Adedaide for a Fijian conference! I have been to Tonga by the way and your uncle was on that boat! He was very young then!

Anonymous said...

Bula sia again.

I first moved to Labasa in 1973 and attended Labasa Primary, then onto All Saints then finished off at Labasa College in 78. Before that, I was with my birth parents who were also in the Anglican Ministry, so we moved all over Fiji, spending 2yrs in each parish. It is amazing when I sit & think - to realise how many schools I went to in Fiji, and how many towns I lived in. However, Labasa is still 'Home' - I guess because it is where I was during most of my teens!

Yes, poor Uncle passed away 5 yrs ago. A yr later, my family & I went over to unveil his headstone: made right here in Christchurch and transported over!! He is buried at the St Christophers Orphange in Nakasi.

God bless you both, and thank you again for the pix & memories of the Friendly North.

Loloma bibi

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Moving every two years - that is something that's hard on a kid, making friends then leaving them. We moved a lot too as ministers didn't stay long in places. Peceli was appointed to Lautoka, Rakiraki, Dilkusha. Labasa was different - we went there to help the extended family regarding the land. In Australia it is different for a minister - maybe ten years before a move.