Saturday, June 7, 2008


DESPITE her old age, Karalaini Sali (pictured) has continued to earn her living through handicraft work selling her products to companies and people who order from her.
At the age of 67, Karalaini spends most of her day at Votua Village in Bua in the Northern Division making flower vases, tea and food trays, hats, place mats and other items from pine leaves.
She learnt the art five years ago when her daughter taught her how to make such items from pine leaves.
She says ever since learning the art work, her financial earnings have not been so much of a problem compared to previous years when she depended on her children for support.
But since taking up the trade, Karalaini has been busy with the continuous growing number of orders for her art work from companies and individual customers.
And with an abundance of pine plantations in Bua, she has had no problem with her supply of raw material as she goes out into the pine forest in the morning to collect fallen leaves.
It is a duty she enjoys doing every day even in rainy weather.
Karalaini says one of her major customers is the Lautoka based company, Fiji Pine Limited that has contributed a lot towards her financial earnings.
She says her customers including the company contact her in the village, place their orders and when the money is sent to the Lekutu postal agency, Karalaini sends them their items.
So far, all her customers have been faithful and even though she has not met them, she says she has been blessed by having such customers.
The brown pine leaves are pleated into flower vases other items her customers order and once completed, she varnishes the product before sending it to her customers.
Karalaini, who is originally from Mamanuca, Tavua in the Western Division says when she visits her island, she takes her products with her to sell to the people in the West.
Business has also been good for her in the Western Division as most get to see for the first time, products made from pine leaves.
Karalaini says when companies order products, she can earn more then $400 a month and despite the difficulties in finding markets, Karalaini has grown to love her art work which she says has become a hobby.