Back in the business

Losena Ravulovulo shows off the new refrigerator she bought from her savings. Picture: ATU RASEA

CLOSING her canteen business after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston wreaked havoc on her village in 2016, Losena Ravulovulo knew she had to restart somewhere.

Mrs Ravulovulo, 50, of Lutu, Wainibuka in Naitasiri, with the help of her husband and a government grant started her canteen business once again.

“It was last year, I started my business and now my canteen is one of the few operating in Lutu,” she said.

“I used to run the mataqali (clan) business store before starting my own canteen business in the village. Villagers know that I run the business with honesty and that I don’t like a lot of debts owed to the store which I also apply to my small canteen business.

“After seeing the mataqali business prosper it motivated me to start my own little canteen business in the village, just to help villagers get certain food supplies they might need.”

She said with a new refrigerator, she was able to sell meat products to villagers, which was a big step for her business.

She added: “I have been able to save about $20 to $30 to my savings account. I deposit money every two weeks and I realise the changes that are occurring because of the growing business. There is progress even though it can be slow at times.

“I make sure that we have enough cash flow to cater for family obligations especially to the vanua and the church.

“Sometimes, when we don’t have any cash during emergencies we rely on our savings accounts to assist us with our family needs.”

Now, Mrs Ravulovulo and her husband hope to expand her small canteen business by building new cabinets to properly display food items.

“This is our current goal right now because we want everything placed in an orderly fashion,” she said.

Another reason she restarted the business was so she could have some form of financial support for herself and her husband.

“My husband cannot carry a lot of heavy items because of his constant illness and so transporting our store items home is difficult for him because our home is situated on top of a hill close to the village church,” she said.

“Sometimes, I pay certain people $5 to help us move our goods from where it was dropped off to our home, but that has become a norm for us now.

“He is one of the main reason I started the business so I can help him provide for our family needs.”

Mrs Ravulovulo has two children who help as often as they can in the daily functions of the family home.

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