Wednesday, June 4, 2008


FOR more than 10 years, Taufa Tukana has been a familiar face at the Nabouwalu market in Bua in the Northern Division. She is one of the longest serving vendors selling food there.
As people fill up benches at her tables to enjoy breakfast with meals that include boiled or fish in miti, boiled lamb neck and bele among other menus, Taufa keeps herself busy serving her customers food with a smile.
Her kerosene stove sits in a wooden box beside her table with a kettle on it and pots of food neatly arranged on the side.
As her customers settle to enjoy their food, Taufa who is 60-years-old, sits at one end of the table with a fan in her hand.
Apart from food served, Taufa also sells cakes, pies and puddings.
The cakes, pies and puddings are cut up into big pieces and placed on a saucer. Taufa neatly arranges a piece of each which are sold for $2 while her serves of food are worth $4.
Taufa cooks cassava or dalo or whatever root crop she has at home and brings it to the market in the morning.
She says the boiled fish, lamb neck, curry chicken, chopsuey and other dishes are cooked in the market so that they are served hot to her customers.
In the small market of Nabouwalu sits five long tables, about two metres long and the women at each table have their own kerosene stoves, pots, cooking and eating utensils.
For Taufa, business starts about 8am and ends at 3pm. It has helped her over the past 10 years to pay off bills, put food on the table for her family and helps with her contribution to the church and vanua.
While Taufa runs the small eatery business from the market, her husband looks after their farm at Nabouwalu Village.
Taufa's busiest time of the day is from 8am to about 2pm
when the people, especially dalo farmers converge on the Nabouwalu jetty area to load their farm produce on the Patterson boat Spirit of Harmony for the market in Viti Levu.
She said as soon as the boat returns to Viti Levu, the farmers return to their villages and business slows down for the day.
Taufa's daily earnings would range from $50 to $70 a day and she says most of her customers are farmers.