Fiji stories, Labasa, South Pacific culture, family, migration, Australia/Fiji relationship
Friday, October 18, 2013
Macuata women making fine mats
Good to see the women in Macuata showing their wonderful craftwork. Congratulations to Jamida fo her fine mats and loloma and peace to a woman who crossed the cultural divide and married a Fijian man.
Jamida Bi Tuinalolo and roko tui Macuata Sitiveni Lalibuli posing with her mats during the Rural Women's Day in Labasa this week. Picture: SALASEINI MOCEIWAI
HER belonging to another ethnic group has not discouraged her artistic character from competing with local iTaukei women to weave mats and create handicraft items.
Jamida Bi Tuinalolo is a classic example of a person who has integrated successfully into a society which is ethnically different from her own.
Despite being a Fijian of Indian descent, the 45-year-old mother of four heads the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Ni iTaukei in her Naocobele Village in Nadogo, Macuata.
Mrs Tuinalolo was among iTaukei women who displayed their artefacts for sale at the Rural Women's Day in Labasa this week.
"I started weaving about 13 years ago and it has become a part of my life. I have been weaving handicraft items made from kuta (freshwater reed) for four years now and items made from pandanus leaves (voivoi) for nine years," she said.
"All my four girls know how to weave and I am really very proud of them because this is one way of maintaining their culture and tradition.
"I receive high income from selling such items and the money is used to pay for household expenses and other family needs."
Mrs Tuinalolo is perfect in weaving kuta mats and is also s fluent speaker of the Nadogo dialect.
Married to the head of the yavusa Tabaraki in the village, she believes her role as head of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama is a blessing.
It gives her the opportunity to use her talents from a business background to encourage iTaukei women to strive for the best in life, starting in the village with income-generating opportunities.
Born into a rich business family in the area, Mrs Tuinalolo said she had eloped with the love of her life, Laisiasa Tuinalolo when she was 18 years old.
"Marrying an iTaukei was not an accident and I am happy where I am today because I have learned to be a responsible woman with important roles.
"I want my children to learn the cultures of both ethnic groups and continue the tradition because it's our identity. We have integrated well with the villagers and I am proud to be one of them now."
Mrs Tuinalolo says she encouraged women to make use of their potential and skills because it can be a source of income for their own families.
"Its only proper to utilise your potential well because it will help you in the future. I would also like to encourage young women who weave to always develop their skills," Mrs Tuinalolo said.
Introducing Peceli and Wendy. Babasiga (pronounced bambasinga) is the dry land of Macuata in northern Fiji - our place in the sun in Fiji. The town is Labasa and our village is Vatuadova and the beach is Nukutatava. We are part of Wailevu Fijian tribe with relatives in Mali Island and Naseakula village. Peceli was born in Labasa and Wendy is an Australian and today live in Geelong, Australia.