Jivulu’s journey – Three-hour trek to the road

Jivulu on board a carrier ready to travel the miles back to his children waiting at home in Toberua. Picture: WAISALE KOROIWASA

You see people smile, but when you get to know their stories it grounds you in reality of the struggles they endure daily to survive and provide for their families.

Farmer Kaliova Jivulu is among the brave Fijian who endure the hardships of farming and travelling to the city and towns in search for a fair price for his produce.

Growing up in Toberua in the interior of Naitasiri at the border that separates Naitasiri from the province of Namosi, Jivulu said being a hard worker was in his blood.

His ancestors and the present generation continue to trek through the forests of Naitasiri in search of food and selling farm produce in the urban areas.

The former Baulevu High School student braves trekking three hours through the forest from Toberua Village in Naitasiri to reach Sawanikula and then catches a vehicle which takes him to the Sawani containment border when it was still being enforced.

Throughout the three-hour trip, he treks the highland forest on horseback with his yaqona and cargo. During this COVID-19 period he said life took a twist when the price of his yaqona dropped.

Jivuli, 29, said he paid almost $100 for the trip because the fare had also increased.

“I sometimes think of riding the horse right to the urban centres because it will save me a lot,” he said.

Tucked in the top end of Naitasiri Province, he said he crossed the Wainimala river 32 times and slept at Sawanikula Village to catch the carrier which takes him on another three-hour ride.

He said this had been the norm for his fellow villagers.

“If you have not been to my village, you have never been to Wainimala. It takes guts to bring your cargo to the market. Life is exciting because we do those things for our family sake.

“But the most challenging time is when you reach the market and are forced to cut down your price lower than what you expected. I brought 12kg of yaqona and was sold for $40 kilo.

“If you take all the years to plant and the hours to make the trip to the market, this price is far from what I expected.”

The father of two said he always made it priority to return to the village before Sunday because his children always expected him back with rations for the family.

“I am hoping that our leaders see our desperate need for proper roads because we are capable of owning vehicles. We have seen the hardship our ancestors went through. Three hours is hard to get to the main road.

“Just because of my young family I have to make the sacrifice because at the end of the day I value them than anything else.” This newspaper caught up with Jivulu as he was getting ready to return to Toberua. “No matter what I have to reach home today.”

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