Old couple make money

Filimone Toka 78, shows his fue and magimagi and his wife Savu Litia (right) with one of her mats ready to be sold. Picture: MELA KATONIVUALIKU

VATOA couple Filimone Toka, 78, and Savu Litia, 77, make a great team. Having their children all grown up and married and earning their own living in Suva and other parts of Fiji hasn’t stopped them from earning their own living.

“Our children do send us money every now and then but they have their own families too to worry about and care for,” Mr Toka said.

“For us, we just carry on with our lives here at the village and do what we can to earn an income.”

While his wife Litia weaves mats, Mr Toka turns to the coconut husks lying around in the village.

“I get the coconut husks, pull them to shreds and I plait them into ‘magimagi’ strings,” Mr Toka said.

“In a day I aim to plait 50 metre long string which costs around $17 when sold so in a week my aim is to plait 150 metres of magimagi.”

Mr Toka also makes “fue” which is used to fan flies away during meal times or can be generally used as a fan. The ‘fue’ can earn him as much as $35.

He also makes ‘tawala’, which is a traditional attire for Lauans and Tongans that is worn around their waist during funerals or special occasions.

“The ‘tawala’ can cost around $25 to $30 when sold,” Mr Toka said.

Mr Toka said he learnt to do these things from his late parents when he was 10 years old.

“My late father when teaching me used to remind me not to forget about these things as it is part of our culture and tradition,” Mr Toka said.

“Today I find that to be true as many of the young generation have gone to urban centres for further education and work and only a few in the village know how to do these things.”

Despite it being a source of income for them as a couple, Mr Toka said he hoped the tradition of knowing how to make fue, tawala and magimagi strings were kept alive.

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