- Countries Visited: 2 countries
- Travel Wishlist: Hawaii
- Locked down in: Savusavu, Fiji
“As unemployment became rampant due to the suspension of flights and inbound tourists to Fiji, many resident of my village found life in cities and town very expensive.“
SHATTERRED DREAMS OF A YOUNG POLYNESIAN MAIDEN
I still have vivid memories of my childhood days, when tourists visit the island to share a glimpse of our cultural entertainment display. They marvel at the pomp and fascinating display of our music with the echo of voices singing in unison that resonated through the dark night into the calm ocean and beyond. I grew up on the island of Kioa inhabited by early Polynesians settlers on the 26th of October, 1947. Even though I came in to existence forty-five years later, the courage and sacrifices of these early settlers would live in the pages of our history, deeply instilled in the hearts and minds of the future generations to which am now part of it.
As an impoverish community, without any Capital for Development from the motherland, life was quite difficult for the settlers. It was my childhood dream to get an education and search for greener pastures, even if it meant going abroad. Frequent contacts with tourists emboldened my resolve that life can change for the better if am educated, get a job and set my goals for the future.
I attended Primary school on the island from year one to year eight and moved to Taveuni for further education. I stayed in a boarding school away from my parent’s and at first it was quite difficult as I was constantly thinking of home. As I became familiar with the other students in school, thought’s of home gradually subsided as focus are centered on my school work and my future.
Higher Education and sojourn in Tuvalu
After the completion of my secondary education, I studied at the “University of the South Pacific” as a private student for three years and was forced to renounce my education as I was not able to get a sponsor. I was badly shattered but was fully determined to fulfill my childhood dream. I managed to secure a job as a travel consultant with “ Fiviet Travel Agency”. I resigned to move to the motherland to secure further studies as countries like Australia, Japan and Taiwan annually assist in the education sector. I turned down offers to travel abroad to Japan to study law for five years and to be a secondary school teacher to teach in remote outer islands away from the comfort of town life, it was not fitting for me as a young girl. I managed to secure work as a cashier in a whole sale store. It was at this time that I met the love of my life and was gifted with a beautiful baby daughter named Luvita.
Return to Fiji
As I contemplate the future and its challenges, thoughts of my family back in Fiji and employment opportunities back home were constantly haunting me. My husband was employed in the fisheries department but his salary was inadequate to meet our daily needs. The minimum salary rate for unestablished workers in Tuvalu is 1.88 an hour and imagine rental payments and bills at the end of the month. A very fruitful discussion with my husband ensued and moving back to Fiji dominated the discussion to which he finally agreed to my pursuing a career that would offer better wages thus meeting life necessities. I departed with my daughter for Fiji in 2018 with the hope of securing employment that would help cope with our basic needs. My husband stayed behind to financially support me and my daughter as he was employed until we were able to make ends meet. I managed to secure employment as an “Administrator” with Vinod Patel a company that specializes in household accessories. The company offered a promising career to which promotions and a lucrative salary are the product of outstanding performance. I was able to perform to the expectations of my superiors and they were elated at prospect of myself becoming a key figure at one of their branches in the Northern Division. All these avenues ceased when the Australian Survivor suddenly appeared in the hidden paradise of Savusavu. I was spellbound and thoroughly captivated by news that was making headlines and was a household topic of conversation. The amazing scenes, friendly atmosphere, challenges and lucrative salary were amongst the best of the Australian Survivor.
Consequently in 2017, despite my enthusiasm and anticipation, things didn’t workout as I was 9 months pregnant but was able to join in season 3 and 4. I was happy when employed in the challenge team as I was able to get my family together again. My husband joined me in Fiji. I benefited greatly whilst working for the film industry as I was able to build my house that I call my own to raise my small family.
COVID 19 PANDEMIC
I was really proud of my achievements and mapped out a plan as to what I need once employed by Survivor in 2020. To exit my financial woes, the Australian Survivor was my only means of hope and survival. As I waited with eager anticipation till March, 2020, the unfortunate news of Covid 19 outbreak in Wuhan in China hit the headlines. As Covid 19 surges across the globe and was declared a Pandemic all hopes gradually turn to despair as border shut down eventually was imposed in almost 200 lands.
EFFECTS OF COVID 19 PANDEMIC
Apparently, I first heard about Covid 19 sometimes in late February 2020 and didn’t take note until it’s devastating effect on humans in China, Spain, Britain and Iran. The horrors and the anxiety caused by Pandemic was almost unbearable to watch and thus due to containment measures the government of my country imposed restrictions on social gatherings with social distancing of two metres apart and a 10 pm to 5 am curfew came into effect. A shopping spree was simultaneously undertaken by panic stricken residents of my town as news of border infection reached our shores, never in history had such occurrences impacted the lives of many people.
As unemployment became rampant due to the suspension of flights and inbound tourists to Fiji, many resident of my village found life in cities and town very expensive. Subsequently to curb being infected by Covid 19 many residents of my village living in Suva and Lautoka opted to take refuge in the village thus to avoid the crowded life of urban centre’s that are highly at risk of community transmission.
There is only one village on the island of Kioa settled by Polynesians in 1947 as stated at the outset. The island is in a remote location and is a safe place for isolation from the deadly virus. Most of the residents prefer the traditional family setting of living together in extended families and dwell in the village. For their livelihood, they are dependent on the land and ocean for a living. As the only Polynesian community in Fiji, tourists frequents the island to have a glimpse of our cultural entertainment and handicrafts. Revenues acquired from tourists were able to sustain families on the island and handicrafts from the village continue to dominate the market. Thus due to the outbreak of Covid 19 and the imposition of border shut down affecting the tourist industry, residents are finding it hard to cope with life’s necessities. The younger generation of my community has adopted the western life style and no longer would they embrace our traditional way of living. Money is scarcely available on the island as its no longer bustling with activities. The only means of living available are remittance from families living abroad. But as the Pandemic continue its resurgence without any signs of cessation, one could wonder and ask himself/herself, what does the future hold for me and my family?
To prepare for worst case scenario to which is imminent, my family embarked on an investment utilizing our land to its full potential. The plan had been devised and work are progressing well. In the initial stages of the plan our food supply chain is our priority to which we are willing to cultivate in great amount so as to extend assistance to those in need. Income security is also our concern and we had set aside time and resources to implement it. The future prospect of the human family is bleak as scientist have different version’s of the virus and a vaccine that is yet to be approved by the WHO is far beyond the horizon. What matters at this point of time is that we the human family need each other more than ever. As world events due to Covid 19 viciously spiral out of control, people turn to be erratic and are self-centered and no longer comply with instructions issued by authorities so as to avoid exposure and infection. As I lay down at night thinking about the future, could hear brushing coconut leaves swayed by the gentle breeze accompanied by songs sung by the old folks resonating in the stillness of the night. Faraway beyond the reef the sound of waves keeps pounding gently on the seashore and the sound keeps drifting further and further towards the distance until there is no more …..I was fast asleep.
Reflecting on my past, thoughts of my childhood dreams and my resolve to entertain them was my pillar of strength. Interestingly all obstacles encountered during my struggle, there was always an exit away from my troubles to move on, thus on account of Covid 19 it really shaped the fate of mankind and it’s ever deadly tentacles continue to inflict uncertainty in the lives of so many people. All that I dreamt off was completely shattered. No one is able to see the future, only time would tell.