Muttu keeps on keeping on – A single parent’s struggle

Mar Muttu. Picture: SUPPLIED

Single parent Mar Muttu raised four children after his wife died 11 years ago.

Born and bred in Wainunu in Bua, he grew up in a copra estate in Vanua Levu.

Muttu is a Fijian of Indian descent who speaks the Bua and Macuata dialects very well and is a
Christian.

When this writer met Muttu his burnt charcoal skin and hands spoke volumes of his outdoor work in his past.

He will greet you in his usual way bula si’a or bula re!

The 53-year-old said being the eldest in his family, he dropped out of school because his mother had fallen ill and
he had to look after her.

“I cooked and helped my mother to look after my younger siblings while my father went to work in the estate,” he said.

“We really struggled that’s why my father was very hardworking. I attended Baravi Primary School, managed to learn how to read and speak in the iTaukei language before I dropped out.

“I can speak the Bua dialect and Macuata dialects very well.”

He said he got married when he was only 19 years of age and had four children.

“I had my first two children in Bua before my father asked us to move in with him in Labasa because he wanted his grandchildren to have a better education.

“We were living at Waiqele and my father worked as a canecutter. Not too long after I lost both my parents.

“My father passed away in 1993 and my mother passed away in 1994. We had to struggle to make ends meet. During that time my children only ate cassava and lemon tea.

“I would forgo meals, but made sure my children were always fed. Life was such, but we have to survive.”

Muttu said he managed to get odd jobs at different places.

In 2010, Mar Muttu’s wife died when his youngest was just six years old.

“A lot of people encouraged me to get another wife, but I made up my mind that I would be the father and mother to my four children.’

Muttu said his two eldest daughters were now married and have families of their own.

“One of my sons is a police officer based in Nausori and my youngest is 20 years old and just finished secondary education.”

He said they moved to Suva four years ago.

“I will make sure that all my children are married and keep supporting them until I retire from this life.

“I work as a watchman looking after the storeroom for Jannis Construction based at Luvuluvu in Nausori. I travel from Waila to Luvuluvu every day. I have to be here at 6am and finish work at 6pm. I am thankful for this job because I’m able to earn money.

“Even my children and daughter-in-law keep asking me to retire. I told them that I need to work so I can keep myself occupied.”

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