Leba ‘juggles’ to keep family alive

Maikali Leba sat teary-eyed outside the Nausori market earlier this week, begging people who were walking around to buy coconuts so she could feed her family.

The Nabitu in Tokatoka, Tailevu resident said her family ate only once during the two-day lockdown.

“On Sunday, we had only rice and dhal which was made from whatever was left in the house,” the 46-year-old said.

“That was the only meal that we had and until this morning (Monday) my family has not eaten anything.”

Ms Leba said she was the only breadwinner for her family ––– which included her husband and four children.

“My husband is sick and cannot work, so he stays at home with my children.

“Whatever I sell today will be used to buy groceries for our dinner.”

She said coconuts collected from her village was her only source of income.

“I used to sell food packs in the arcade before but now that all the businesses are closed, I have no other choice but to sell coconuts.

“On Friday, I took my daughter and we collected as many coconuts as we could so we could sell it on Saturday.

“But the lockdown happened and we couldn’t sell anything.”

She said the burden of feeding her four children and sick husband was very stressful.

“It’s already noon and I only managed to sell three heaps of coconuts for $6, which is not enough.

“With that $6, I am juggling between buying groceries or using it for transport to go home.”

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