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Grand white lady Ashika

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, February 17, 2013

THE golden rays of an evening dusk that sets over the horizon usually tints the grand white lady that sits by the roadside at Wainigadru.

Known as the Ashika Bar, this white building has served the interests of many former politicians, businessmen, senior civil servants and well known academics.

It has no fancy lightings, no built-in bars, no expensive liquor or contemporary music that is typical of a pub.

But it sure does have the friendly and welcoming gesture that certainly makes any stranger feel at home.

The welcoming gesture is the wave that has always lured people to its bar before continuing their journey. This bar also has a captain, just like the Princess Ashika.

In fact, the villagers named the bar after the ship because they believe that all passengers on board a vessel are treated equally. Bar captain Netani Tuwei said inside a ship, everyone socialises and share stories as they sit on the deck.

"Even those in booked rooms come out for fresh air and they also greet and talk to those already outside. The ship doesn't recognise your status or your money, it just does its job to take you from Point A to Point B."

It is also known as the one-stop shop.

Unlike other bars, the Ashika has two canteens that sells not only canned food as chasers but lollies and cigarettes, a long table provided for women to sell food and tea for daily commuters and a spacious area for grog sessions.

This bar doesn't have a standard time of opening hours because even if it is closed, the shop keepers can be called from home to open the shop.

That is the beauty of this bar which also has no cut off time for grog sessions.

Mr Tuwei said there had been times, when villagers have grog in the day to welcome visitors to the bar and most of these visitors and those transiting from upper Udu Point area heading to Savusavu or Labasa.

Some things about Wainigadru:

1. The "loga ni Tawake" (Tawake mat), known as Iluvatu is also made by the women of Wainigadru. Women's group leader Alumita Buna said the mat was a very unique piece that is used in traditional functions in the district of Tawake in Cakaudrove.

2. Well known secondary school sprinter Beni Maravu lives and hails from the village of Wainigadru.

3. There are no schools in Wainigadru and the primary schoolchildren of this village have to attend Volivilo Primary School in the village of Tawake while secondary school students either board in schools of Savusavu or Saqani.

4. Parents of Wainigadru Village have each week to cook food for their children at the boarding school.

5. Wainigadru is the last village in the district of Tawake before driving towards Saqani District.

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