Good service, struggle and taking a note from all jobs that you do can pay off in a big way.
This was something Vasemaca Cokanaqiwa experienced and advises others to do when wanting to start a business of any sort.
She owns the Ratu Kini Backpackers on Mana Island in the Mamanucas.
She also owns the Fantasy Backpackers in Nadi and Ratu Kini Dive Resort close to the Nadi Airport. And, she also has a sugarcane farm in Nadi.
Vasemaca started off as a housekeeper at the Mana Island Resort, supporting her husband. He was a local director at the Mana Island Resort and a landowner. Vasemaca has indeed come a long way through hard work.
Vasemaca has worked at Mana Island since 1969. In 1999 she opened up her own backpackers accommodation.
She said it only became apparent to her to open the backpackers when tourist and friends used to set up camp in her village at Mana because they couldnt afford the rates at the Mana Island.
She said she would invite them for meals and mingle with the tourists, much to their delight.
We thought Mana Island is owned by Japanese and the money is going out of the country, so why dont we keep the money here in the country by doing something ourselves, she said.
After giving this some serious thought, she and her husband went straight to work, saving cash so they wouldnt take a loan.
Thirteen years later, Ratu Kini ( named after her now late husband) is a thriving business, with its busy dive shop and most popular restaurant on the island.
With cheap rates, from $66 to $200, Ratu Kini is like honey to bees for most tourists, especially the young and those who do world travels.
For locals who wish to gather up a few friends and get out of the city, Ratu Kini is a good place to start. This way you can be in the five-star area of the Mamanuca without having a big hole in your pocket at the end of your vacation.
Food is the key at Ratu Kinis beachside restaurant and with their variety of dishes, it still makes money even if the rooms and dives do not.
We have people coming here from Mana Island Resort; those who come for the day, Vasemaca said.
This place always has people eating, she added.
Using their own home as a dormitory with meals in the beginning, Vasemaca and her husband who passed away in 2003, managed to keep saving and now she operates with three dormitories and 11 private rooms.
With 32 staff working at Ratu Kini, she is able to help employ people on the island and also from other parts of Fiji.
The highest number of visitors Ive had here would number into the 100s, because we have people who bring tents as well and pay $36 a night, she said.
Ive also had people staying up to a month at times, she added.
She says she tries to get feedback and comments from her visitors, especially with the meals, so she could improve and continue to be of good service to her guests.
With breathtaking golden sunsets, white sandy beaches and clear blue seas that comes without a five-star rate and good meals, it would be crazy to miss the opportunity of checking into Ratu Kini Backpackers on your next vacation!