Friday, September 14, 2007


THE money earned from selling fish parcels over the past four years has helped Livia Lalagavesi put her daughter through a teacher training institute and furnish her home something she previously could not afford.
Although her business involves selling fish, she has no regrets.
No regrets in the sense that when she first started, her friends and relatives used to ask her if she ever got embarrassed selling fish parcels in the streets of Labasa.
"A lot of people used to ask me whether I was embarrassed to sell fish parcels and sit outside on the street selling," she said.
"At times I must admit I felt quite embarrassed especially when friends and relatives come around every day to ask me the same question which didn't help at all."
But after a few days of seeing the good earnings received from the business, Livia knew she had to make a choice between her family's welfare and remarks from friends and relatives.
"My two children matter most so I decided to stay on and today those friends of mine have not said a thing because they have seen how my family has benefited from this business," she said.
"My eldest daughter is a school teacher in one of the schools in Namosi, while my younger son is in primary school. I have been able to fill my house with furniture and electrical appliances and that's all because of this business," Livia said.
On a week day, Livia can take home $140 from selling 40 parcels at $3.50 each but on Saturdays, her earnings can be $200 selling 50 or more parcels of fish from her table by the riverside of the friendly town, towards the market area.
Her earnings helped meet her traditional and church obligations over the years.
"Before I started this business it was difficult for me to attend church gatherings in Viti Levu especially the Methodist Church Conference because my husband was the only one earning money from farming.
"After I started the business, with the money received, I have been able to attend all the church conferences and meetings every year, help my relatives and friends who come around to ask for assistance and also install a telephone at home," Livia said.
"Why should women be embarrassed to sell fish parcels or food in the market or in public when the money earned from it helps a family."
Livia said running a small business had many benefits and one of it was being her own boss.
"I decide what time I come to sell my parcels and when I take my days off and don't worry about paying other staff as it is a small business that requires only one person.
"But with those benefits, I don't abuse my business because I believe the success of this business comes from dedication, honesty and sacrifices.
Livia said that from Monday to Saturday, her working hours begin at 10am and ends at 4pm.
"I get up at 5am, peel the cassava and about 7am I start frying the fish and eggs and make the salad.
"When all that is done I pack my parcels and by 10am I am at my stall with the parcels and if they are all sold by 3pm, I finish work early, otherwise it's 4pm or sometimes 5pm," Livia said.
On her days off or leave, Livia said these were only taken for deaths and the church conference.
"For other events and obligations, I make sure that the parcels are sold first before I attend because I don't want to disappoint my customers for without them my business earnings will not be good."
Adapted from Fijitimes Online