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Daughter and dad fight on

Solomoni Biumaiono
Monday, December 03, 2012

IT'S been seven months since Alipate Ledua's wife left him with their 13-year-old daughter and it is quite a predicament for someone who is unable to walk and work.

Ledua has tried to put on a brave face in spite of all the hardships that he is facing, especially in looking after his 13-year-old daughter and trying to pay for her education.

"That was the one thing she requested when my wife left us. All she said is that she will look after me but all she wants is for me to make sure that I pay for her education because if there comes a time that I will be no longer with her, at least she will have her education," Ledua says.

This 48-year-old Lauan man's story started seven years ago when he first started to develop gout and high blood pressure while working as a security guard. Over the years the sickness eventually overtook him and three years ago he completely lost his ability to walk and had remained bedridden ever since.

"During this time I started selling canned stuff and other small groceries from my home to help me with my fare to hospital and for my medicine," he says.

Even to the extent that he had to quit his work as a security guard and remained at his home in Jittu Estate in Suva while his wife looked after him.

"After one or two years of looking after me she started to tell me that she would leave us and I told her to watch what she was saying because she shouldn't disrespect me just because I am like this.

"I think she was just tired of looking after me but I still clearly remember the day she left," Ledua says.

His wife was angry with his daughter, Sigalima Savukigau, and Ledua was angry with the way she was talking to their daughter and over an argument about this, his wife packed her bags and left father and daughter.

"I told her that our daughter has been working hard at keeping the house neat and tidy and for her to be talking like that to her is not good but she just swore at us, packed her bags and left," he says.

Ever since his wife left him, his 13-year-old daughter, who has just finished primary education at Vishnu Deo Memorial Primary School, is the one who does the chores at their single-bedroom home in Jittu and this only makes his heart heavy because his daughter is denied her life as a child.

"When she comes home from school she would have to do the chores and this makes me sad because this is the time she is supposed to be playing with her friends and enjoying life but our circumstances just made it harder," Ledua says.

With only $60 given every month by the Ministry of Social Welfare Ledua tries his best to make a good life for his daughter, the biggest worry he has, and his helplessness only serves to remind him of his incapability.

Since his wife left, he has been trying his best to make ends meet and with his daughter in Class Eight, it is quite a difficult task.

"At times we live through the help of the Jittu Estate community who offer their help through various means and the police officers from the Grantham Rd community post also help us as well as my relatives back in the village who send in coconuts to be sold for our livelihood," Ledua says.

Through the police officers in his neighbourhood, staff from the Ministry of Health have made home visits making sure conditions in the household are sanitary.

But Ledua is starting to worry as his daughter will start high school next year and like any other concerned parent he is already looking for the money to pay for her tuition fees and stationery.

"In primary school I would spend about $20 but in high school I think I will have to look for more than $100 to ensure she enjoys going to school.

"I had approached several organisations about this but all my requests have been turned down but I am still holding on and hoping that my other requests will be accepted," he says.

For now the Dravuwalu, Totoya man has eight weeks to think about where he can get the money from and for him, it is not about his wife leaving him anymore but it's about taking care of his daughter because she is the only hope that life has given him.

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