30 October, 2018, 10:29 am
HE once graced the compounds of Government House tending to the gardens and mowing its lawn making sure it always looked neat.
He was also a mechanic at the residence so you can call him a jack of many trades.
In 2009, Eparama Rokodrava, 68, decided to call it a day from serving the then President the late Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda.
The Logani villager’s days of holding a brush-cutter and repairing other things mechanical at the government residence came to end.
He was 60 years old at the time.
“I was into engineering and I used to repair cars and other things while being employed at Government House,” Mr Rokodrava said.
His ability to repair things was self-taught until he took an interest in repairing small engines such as the brush-cutters, chainsaws and generators.
“For repairing these small machines I was lucky to learn it from a prison warden,” Mr Rokodrava said.
“Apart from teaching myself and learning from my friend, I attended a two-week mechanical engineering course at Kiuva, Tailevu last year,” he said.
“I was so used to repairing car engines but when I tried my hands on repairing smaller engines like the brush-cutter, I found out I had to have a lot of patience.”
Mr Rokodrava charges a maximum of $100 for repairs to generators and chainsaws and for brush-cutters his charge is $40 depending on what needs to be repaired.
He gets customers from Nadaro, Naiborebore, Cautata, Noco and other villages not to mention some of his customers are also from Suva.
“I love what I do because I am stationed at home and I don’t need to wake up early and go to the farm.
“I only leave the house if some customers request a house call where I go to their homes to repair their machines but if not most of them bring it home.
“I prefer that customers have knowledge beforehand of what is wrong with their machines so it is easy for me to repair because if not I would have to dismantle everything to find the fault.”
Mr Rokodrava says in a day he could earn $160 if he manages to repair four brush-cutters and this does not include his earnings from repairing chainsaws and generators.
“At least something is better than nothing. I am fortunate I have this skill and I am able to put it to good use so that it generates income for me and my family.”