There's no doubt about it that the women of Macuata are strong, motivated and come up with ideas. Two stories: one about a craft meeting of Macuata women, and a story about the cooks who take their scones, buns, pies into Labasa town every day to make some much-needed money. One of our women from Vatuadova village gets up early each morning to prepare her children for school and then cooks scones etc. to take into Labasa for her pre-arranged contacts there such as the FIT. Way to go ladies!
from Fiji Sun
North promotes cultural heritage
The promotion of cultural heritage at the provincial level was seen in Labasa yesterday with rural women showcasing their talents in the form of craftwork.
More than 60 women from Macuata and Bua showcased their art and craft work at the Takia Hotel in Labasa. This initiative followed the focus on Macuata started by the Tui Macuata, Ratu Aisea Katonivere's representation at last year's Festival of Arts in American Samoa.
Chief Guest at the Craft Fair, Nukubati Island Resort proprieter Jenny Bourke said there was potential for women to make money out of their talent. Mrs Bourke said hive of tourism activities in the North has proven to be a platform for commercial cultural enterprises. Having managing a five-star resort, Mrs Bourke said they offer an authentic Fijian experience - not just a resort in Fiji but to also utilize Fijian products.
"We all have talents but we have to combine that talent for us to help you find the market. Our handicrafts are unique, authentic and beautiful. This is part of our lives."
"We can take raw material and our talent to produce something beautiful," she said. "Too often, we feel limited by what we have, but we are lucky here that we do not have to be taught the skills because we already have it. What is missing is bringing creativity to the market and that is the million dollar question in any industry." Mrs Bourke added that a survey should be done to know what product is in demand. "We need to survey to find out what can be sold. We have a local market here but for us to expand into this creative side, we need to find out what sells."
Assistant Roko for Women and Youth in Macuata, Peni Rakanace said they had a network with women in Udu, Namuka and Mali for mats and women of Seaqaqa, Sasa. Dreketi and Macuata for assorted woven kuta (Fijian mat). "We have to motivate and empower these rural women to utilize their talent using available resources as a source of income and employment opportunities."
"They all come from rural settings so this is a way they could earn money to help their individual families," Mr Rakanace added.
Vendors want better market provision
Food sellers at the Labasa Market are demanding better services by the Labasa Town Council to conduct business. More than 32 food sellers who were present in a meeting yesterday want the Council to provide them with proper stalls. Diwaqa Lakolako, a vendor, said they were not happy with conditions at the market. “We want to ask the council to give us bigger spaces because we have many eating utensils and storage cupboards,” she said. “It is not enough for two food sellers to sell food from a stall because of limited space,” she continued. “We requested them to provide proper shelter so that our belongings are protected during any weather condition,” she added.
The council has decided to relocate the vendors because of hygienic reasons.
The council was concerned about the open plate of food served by the sellers and also the illegal fish market situated beside the market. The meeting heard that all mothers and food sellers need to be medically certified to sell food at the market.
Another food seller, Taini Nacanieli said they were given only 28 days to have medical examinations. “We are ready to relocate but we need a better and suitable space to sell our produce She said most sellers would relocate when the council would build a stall for them. All we want is a good and a proper shelter provided by the council so that we can continue with our business,” she added.
About 60 women are selling food at the market.
Town Council administrator Vijay Chnad said the council had made provisions for the vendors. “We are going to provide them the same amount of spaces and food sellers should be happy that the council had provided decent and a much healthier places to sell from,” he said.