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22 years at the market

Losalini Vuki
Friday, February 23, 2018

IN everything you do, be happy. This was the response from Luisa Fisher, when asked about the secret to looking younger than her years.

The sixty-year-old from Somosomo Village on Taveuni has been a market vendor at the Suva Municipal Market since 1996.

She comes from a family of eight and used to run their family estate (Viana Bay) on Taveuni before leaving it in the good hands of one of her brothers.

Mrs Fisher says although a lot has changed during the years, she still takes delight in what she does today.

"Being at the market gives me a chance to meet people from all walks of life and also send some money back to family in Taveuni," said Mrs Fisher.

"I like to help people, look after them and myself. Before Tropical Cyclone Winston, my produce were supplied from our estate but at the moment it's supplied from Nadroga. We only have pigs and cows back at the estate today. We used to ship about 60 to 70 bags of coconuts to Suva in a week but now it's one and if we're lucky it's two bags. There really isn't any point in doing this so we've opted for seasonal fruits and vegetables — at least that rakes in a few dollars."

Nowadays, Mrs Fisher only sells seasonal fruits and vegetables such as the tropical, strong, and sweet aroma guavas from Nadroga.

"One bucket of guava costs $10," she said.

"From that one bucket, I could make about seven or eight heaps from it at a cost of two dollars a heap. I sell for four days on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The people from Nadroga come as early as 4am during the weekends to sell but those who come on Mondays come a little later in the day time or late in the afternoons. Quavas are great for this weather because you can make fresh juice and jam but otherwise kids like to eat it as it is because it's sweet."

From guavas alone, Mrs Fisher said on a good day she could rake in about $100 to $150.

She shares her guava jam recipe:

* Cut the guavas in four;

* Fill enough water to cover or pour 10 cups of water equivalent to the guavas in the pot;

* Drain or strain and add five cups of sugar;

* Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat and stir until jelly; and

* Once you see very fine froth while boiling and colour changes to light pink, let it cool before pouring it in jars for the family to enjoy!

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