Lestro the operator

Cane harvester operator Henry Lestro who was trained last year by an Indian-based operator. Picture SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Henry Lestro is one of the local operators of cane mechanical harvesters who underwent training last year by an Indian-based team.

Describing his new found skill, the soft spoken Seaqaqa man enjoys his job as an operator because it involves a lot of work.

“This machine is not a simple truck or automatic car that we just drive around easily.

“This harvester provides a challenging yet enjoyful work environment because we have to deal with a few processes.

“I control the blades when cutting the cane, another is ensuring that all cut cane is being thrown into the truck and most important of all, as an operator I need to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Mr Lestro started off as a machine boy.

“Last year, when the operator from India was harvesting the cane in our area, I used to accompany him and do some work for him.
“The area he worked in involved 15 farmers and we are part of that group which came under the banner of Natua Solove Combined Cooperative Ltd.

“So last year, after one of our trainees got injured, the group decided to train me so I could operate the harvester incase the India based operator needed to tend to other duties, and it has worked out well for us.”

During the harvesting season, his job as an operator begins at 5am.

“I’m fully engaged in harvesting from June to November or when the season ends. After harvesting the farms of our 15 members, I move out to other farmers who hire our services.

“Operating this machine is interesting because we learn new things and for me, it’s important that I maintain a slow pace while harvesting cane.”

The father of three is also a carpenter.

“During the non-harvesting season, I build houses or do extensions for existing homes around the area and I enjoy my work,.
“I also strip timber so that makes my work easier as a carpenter.

“I only thank God for his blessings to me because without him I wouldn’t have come this far.”

Mr Lestro is also a cane farmer and he believes that there is no reason for poverty.

He believes it’s an individual choice to work their life out as God has blessed everyone with gifts and talents.

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