Get your coconuts scraped

IF you want to scrape your coconuts at the Suva Municipal Market, Joji Volau is just the man for it.

In a day, he could scrape up to 100 coconuts and rakes in about $60 plus on a good day.

The 65-year-old who looks fit and stronger than most men half his age, is the sole provider for his family.

“I don’t know why I started this business but I think it was all part of God’s plan,” said Mr Volau.

“I used to work at RB Patel Centre Point for 10 years until I reached my retirement age. I have been selling coconuts for 10 years but it was five years ago that my coconut scraping business started. I walked to one of the food stalls opposite the bus stand area and asked a woman if she wanted her coconuts scraped for her fish in lolo (coconut milk). She agreed and since then I have been operating this small business of mine.”

Mr Volau charges three dollars to scrape a heap of four coconuts — one heap of coconut costs four dollars.

“When I first started selling at the market, I used to have my coconuts delivered from Koro at the price of $30 to $40 for 100 coconuts,” he said.

“Today, I order them from my island home of Moala in Lau at the price of $50 a bag. My usual customers are the people who own food stalls and restaurants around the Suva market.”

Mr Volau sits the market six days a week, from 7am to 6pm.

“My busy days are Fridays and Saturdays because during the weekends there are usually functions or occasions that families are involved with,” said Mr Volau. “During this Easter week, I have people who come to have their coconuts scraped for dinner as well. People think I’m too old to be doing what I’m doing but because I’ve been scraping coconuts for years, my body becomes used to it. I don’t get tired of doing it. It’s also a good form of exercise and keeps me fit. So if you want me to scrape your coconuts for lunch, dinner or any occasion, do come down to the Suva Municipal Market.”

Website bodyandsoul.com.au reports why coconuts are good for you.

Some experts believe coconut can do the following for our health:

* Protect against heart disease by increasing good cholesterol and lowering the ratio of bad and good cholesterol.

* Helps treat malnutrition because it is easy to digest and absorb.

* Kills disease-causing bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses because of the antimicrobial effects of its fatty acids.

* Helps diabetics by slowing sugar release into the bloodstream.

* Prevents strokes and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

* Boosts metabolism and increases energy because it is more likely to be burned as fuel than stored as body fat.

* Prevent tooth decay — coconut oil fights bacteria responsible for tooth decay and could be a healthy, non-chemical additive in toothpaste and mouthwash, Irish research suggests. Scientists found that when the oil was treated with digestive enzymes it became a powerful killer of mouth bugs that can lead to dental caries.