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Business by faith

Ilisapeci Tinanisigabalavu
Friday, March 02, 2018

For Miliakere Adisivo, it was when she converted to a different Christian denomination that led to the start of her market stall career.

She used to sell sweets, yaqona and cigarettes in the village and that was their main source of income.

Things changed for Ms Adisivo and her husband when they decided to join a different Christian church denomination that prohibited the consumption of cigarette and yaqona.

This resulted in them opting to become commercial farmers and it has now been their main source of income for three years.

The 46-year-old mother of six from Namena Village, Tailevu sells at the Suva Municipal Market.

She leaves home in the 5am bus on Thursdays and Fridays and returns on the 3:30pm bus.

Ms Adisivo said her work as a market vendor had earned her an income to cater for her family.

Her husband is her business partner who farms their crops and takes over the stall when she is out running errands.

Other than the bele, chillies, dalo, tavioka, lemons and fish parcels she sells, another popular dish customers preferred was dairo (sea cucumbers) collected from the beachside at her village.

Ms Adisivo said the perfect time to collect dairo was at night because they burrow in the sand in the day. They come out in numbers when it's dark and cool and by 7pm. Ms Adisivo and other women of the village head down to the beach to collect what they need. They formed a line as the move slowly across the sand when the tide is out.

After the dairo is collected they are squeezed to extract the sand inside, and cooked for three hours until the skin expands and softens. From there dairo are grated using a rock to take out the rough skin that cannot be eaten. It is properly gutted and cleaned before being cooked.

Ms Adisivo said she could earn $150 to $170 from dairo alone. Her customers were mostly Asians and local women who bought dairo and resold it in freshly squeezed coconut milk and tuna. A delicacy known as dairo va miti

She said the only challenge faced was that dairo could not be found when it rained, thus she relied on her crops to sustain her sales.

When asked to compare the income she earned from her previous business prior to converting, Ms Adisivo said she earned more from sweets, yaqona and cigarettes sales.

However with every cent earned as commercial farmers, Ms Adisivo and her husband were grateful because that was the income intended by God for their family.

Stuffed dairo in coconut:


* Four dairo (cleaned and slow cooked)

* Three cups fresh coconut milk

* Two canned tuna flakes

* Spring onions

* Coriander

* Salt


* Mix the tuna flakes, spring onion and coriander leaves together with a pinch of salt.

* Stuff them into the belly of the dairo.

* Place the dairo into a small pot and pour coconut milk over them. Make sure the coconut milk covers the dairo well.

* Add a pinch of salt for the coconut milk to taste.

* Simmer until the coconut milk is cooked.

* Serve and enjoy!

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