Saturday, December 12, 2009

Call of the island life - Maneesha Karan

Saturday, December 12, 2009

EIGHTY-six year old Ana Waqanitoga cannot live without her island home -Levuka on Ovalau.

Singing and beating the lali during meke performances, Ms Waqanitoga says it's impossible for her to find the peace of home in any other place.

Two of her seven children live in Suva and she often visits them.

But she tires easily of the busy city life and longs to return to her village where she indulges in her favourite pastimes of gardening and socialising.

"This is my life and I can't think of living anywhere else. I've lived here all my life - the neighbours are my family," she said.

"I have a flower garden and plant a little cassava and dalo. I weave mats which I use for traditional purposes and visit friends and families in the village.

"It is safe because everyone knows me and they help me when I'm in need."

Ms Waqanitoga and her family survived on farm produce when the children were growing up.

She remembers packing boiled cassava for her children's school lunch.

"It was a hard time for us because my husband had no fixed job," Ms Waqanitoga said.

"Some money came in from the sale of cassava and dalo but there wasn't enough to send the children in a bus or carrier, so they had to walk four kilometers to attend Marist Convent School."

Ms Waqanitoga's husband died 35 years ago. She now lives by herself in her little home, although she never lacks help with her children and grandchildren assisting her daily and providing her with groceries.

Ms Waqanitoga keeps busy in the cassava patch. It keeps her healthy and strong although she's often disturbed by the attitude of the younger generation.

"The young people do not respect the elders as they did in our time," she said.

"Those were good times when everybody loved each other but now people talk back to their elders and fight among themselves."

She says children should practise the virtues of life to strive to become successful and respected

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