A dusty roadside dream

Evia at her roadside workstation. Picture: JOHN KAMEA

DREAMS are not only born in classrooms, offices and fine houses.

To Evia Rasova, if the mind is willing, prosperity and happiness can also be birthed on a dusty suburban roadside.

For the past two years, the mother of two has worked seven days a week, sometimes as early as 6am, to satisfy Suva’s growing need for sasa brooms.

“You may call it a humble roadside business, I call it a serious means of survival and a stepping stone for greater things ahead,” Evia said.

She believes a single broom represents the sweat and grime of a number of hard working people, most of whom live in rural areas or on the outskirts of town.

Sasa, derived from the scraped veins of coconut fronds, is supplied by the women of Vutia in Rewa.

Broom handles are sourced from cut and shaved branches of the uto ni bulumakau, a plant that grows in swamps.

These are supplied by men in the villages that have water-logged bushland.

Strips of tyre tubes are normally provided by young boys who collect them from garage waste and industrial sites.

“Rain or shine, I am here at the Jerusalem Road bus stop because I know that my family’s survival depends on me.”

“Also, I am not only earning a livelihood for my family. One single broom you buy supports the man who supplies the handles, the woman who supplies the sasa, and the boy who provides the rubber strips. One broom puts food on the table for four different families.”

Evia, who used to work for businesses in town said she decided to sell by the roadside so she could be her own boss and earn more for her family.

“I meet different people every day and hope my brooms can bring people smiles and happiness after they use them to clean their home.”

“Also, I’ve picked up a few valuable things. My job has improved my self-confidence, public speaking and communication skills just by selling on the roadside and interacting with motorists.”

Money from Evia’s daily broom sales are used on family and traditional obligations.

Recently, Evia added green coconuts to her usual supply of broom products as a way of supplementing her daily revenue.

“The sale of green coconuts surprised me and it will definitely pick up further as the weather gets warmer,” she said.

Evia’s advice to unemployed youth is to never stop dreaming and persevering.

“We have resources all around us. We are also born with talents. Our job is to figure out how these can be better used to improve our lives.”

“If you ever drive past Jerusalem Road and see me by the roadside, don’t hesitate to stop and check out a broom for your house or have a sweet drink of coconut juice. Remember you can support as many as four families with one broom and two with one single green coconut you buy.” Evia’s last word is “never give up”.

“Do not ever think of yourself as small and insignificant. Remember you are unique and special. Dream big beyond the skies.

“You may dream in a university classroom or from your office desk while I dream by this dusty roadside but only the dreamer who sweats it out and works hard will get there!”

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