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Mereia prefers village life

Ana Madigibuli
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

FROM walking on rugged terrain to managing life in the highlands of Naitaisiri, Mereia Moce wouldn't want to trade her village life with the hustle and bustle of city life.

The mother of five who lives in Nasiriti Village in the highlands of Naitasiri as an entrepreneur, deals with daily hardship of village life head-on.

One of the major concerns that she tries to overcome with positivity is the issue of transportation in her village, particularly for families who come from farming backgrounds.

In order to get home, villagers of Nasiriti often catch the bus from Suva or other parts of Fiji to Naqelewai Village in Naitasiri and from there get off to walk for an hour to get to their village.

If villagers get lucky they find themselves hitching a ride on lorries that service the area which doesn't happen to often in those parts.

Mereia hopes to change the way women think in terms of facing their problems with positive attitude and coming up with brilliant solutions to tackling their daily struggles.

Mereia was fortunate enough to be part of this year's Central Division Craft Show and to showcase her creative and colourful handcrafted paper flowers that are placed on beautifully carved balabala (tree fern) stumps.

Even with the transportation problem up in the highlands she still managed to sell her handmade crafts to nearby villagers simply by walking.

She said, if someone has a goal they need to follow through with it and not just sit at home dwelling on the setbacks.

"I do a lot of craft work at home during my spare time, but most of my time is spent helping my husband in our farm. We plant yaqona and dalo which we bring to the city market once a month and we earn a decent living from it," she said.

"We can earn about $500 to $400 from our harvest and most of our crops, especially dalo are harvested once a month depending on what's ready for harvest. The money we earn is spent on supplies that are needed at home and we make sure that our children have something new like clothes, shoes or school supplies.

"I'm really happy to be given the opportunity to participate in the craft show and it's my first time. I'm so amazed at what women can do with their hands and creativity. I will definitely take these ideas and develop it to something useful in my village.

"Even my flower craft was inspired by a woman who visited us and from there I added my own creativity, just to give it a unique look. I hope more women would tap into their creative side and I believe we can do anything if we put our minds to it."

She said, she loves living in the village and she enjoys her time with her family at their farm especially toiling the land daily.

"If you want to take up farming, you should. It offers good money and it keeps you humble because you know the importance of working hard."

She said, she hopes to one day teach young women from the interior of Naitasiri her handmade craft so they can be entrepreneurs just like her.

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