Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements

from w
Should people work on a Sunday or have a rest? That certainly was a question many years ago when men and women in Labasa protested and some went to gaol for a road block. Anyway it seems that these days anyone can just work on a Sunday while others go off to church or do other things.

The newspapers of course - censored - now print articles about the lives of ordinary people to fill the spaces which used to be political comment or similar.
Fruits of his labour ... market vendor Anwar Shah with his lemons at the Labasa Market. Lemons or oranges?

Here is one from the Fiji Times Labasa journalist:

Tough times means no rest for vendors
Theresa Ralogaivau
Monday, January 11, 2010
CHALLENGED by tough times, Labasa fruit and vegetable sellers are taking on an additional business day just to make ends meet. The vendors are seen at their stalls in and around town on Sundays, a rare sight on the day of rest in the Northern town. Anwar Shah, 38, heaps his oranges at a corner of the busstand capitalising on an opportunity to do business with Savusavu-bound passengers. He never had to do that before. "Times are tougher now, the same income two years ago is no longer sufficient for my family," he said.

The father of three from Korowiri, five kilometers outside Labasa, makes a living buying and selling fruits. "Before working from Monday to Saturday was enough but now I can't do that because I'll not make enough to meet all my family expenses and send my three children to school," he said. "I have to sacrifice my rest day to earn more."

Mr Shah has been doing this for the past two months. And aside from working the extra day, equipping himself with better selling skills has become important. "I have to smile more, engage people in conversation, attract their attention so that I can sell the fruits," he said. "Once people stop, the likelihood they will buy is greater so I make sure they stop and talk." This he did by comically piling oranges on his body - people stared and stopped and Mr Shah was happy his strategy had worked.
And as the Fiji Sun journalist saw him - as a businessman.
Some bits I have put into 'bold'.

Benau businessman takes on challenge
Anwar Shah was the only person selling oranges at the Labasa bus stand yesterday.
Originally from Benau, a settlement outside Labasa, Mr Shah has been selling oranges for the past three years. He buys his oranges from the Batiri Citrus Farm in Dreketi and sells them at $2 a heap. “To survive the high cost of living we have to do something to earn extra cash,” he said.

The father of three said what helped him to cope was when the Fiji Development Bank provided him a grant to assist him in running his business.“I’m thankful for the assistance provided so that I can efficiently operate my business,” he said.

Mr Shah said life has been a struggle and he did not complete his form two at Vunimoli Secondary School.“I decided to leave school because I had no interest whatsoever in learning English. I was smart in Urdu Studies but not in English. Since English was a requirement subject at school I decided not to continue my education.”

When he left school, Mr Shah worked as a truck driver for 15 years. “I was driving for Vunimoli Sawmill Limited before I decided to venture out into selling vegetables and fruits at the Labasa market.

“Today, I’m happy to do this kind of business because at the end of the day I’m able to have some money to buy for my family’s evening meal,” By yesterday afternoon, Mr Shah had sold 90 heaps of oranges and took home about $180. Not bad for a day’s work.

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