Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meet Mereseini Nabua

Imagine at the age of 90 one can still walk from Raiwaqa to the Suva market everyday to sell her produce.
It would take a lot of convincing to get people to believe this, but this is a fact and she has been doing it ever since 1971.
Meet Mereseini Nabua a long time resident of Raiwaqa.
One can only marvel on how this old lady is able to keep fit and able to walk every morning at 4am from her home to the Suva market.
Mereseini is the eldest of six children and to date she is the last surviving member of her siblings who were all brought up at Qoma Island but moved to Suva in her younger years.
Mereseini could easily be identified by those that make the city of Suva as their home because of her compassionate heart.
She would rather give her 65 cents fare in the afternoon to those who request for money and walk home.
She could clearly remember the first day she was given table at the market.
"I was told by the market officer that a table would be made available to me the very next day," Mereseini said.
"I was so happy that I could not sleep well that night thinking of how I was going to sell from the market and what produce to sell.
"In the morning around 4am I woke up and got ready for my first day in the market.
"I have been selling in the market since 1971, that was when the market was small and there were only five Fijian ladies that had tables selling all sorts of vegetable and root crops.
"I was one of them, at that time the market was much smaller than what it is today and prices of vegetables and root crops were cheap."
She said on the first day she walked from her Raiwaqa home to Centenary church to pray and thank the Lord for her life and that she could be given a table at the market.
"This has been my daily routine, I walk to Centenary church and say my thanksgiving prayers before heading down to the market to meet the middle men in front of the market gates," she said.
Mereseini said the only time she had stopped walking down to the market was during the coups that took place in the country.
"It was only when the military was along the road that I did not walk down to the city," she said.
Mereseini said her old age does not in anyway affect her day-to-day sales at the market.
"I can still see clearly and I make sure that I always give the right change to my customers," she said.
Mereseini said never in her 36-years of selling in the market had she received a complaint from a customer.
"It all depends on the produce that we sell, it should be good and edible and in that way one will always have their customers buying from them.
When asked what has been her secret to long life, Mereseini said she does not take butter and never takes any sugar or sugar-based products.
"When we eat the right kind of food especially the fresh one we will be strong and live long. I must say that nothing beats a pot of freshly boiled Fish, with it's soup," she said smilingly.
"Another thing that makes me healthy and fit is relying on the Lord's power to keep me going everyday. Everyday I thank the Lord in church and every Sunday I walk down to the Centenary (church) to attend morning service.
"The only time I miss church is when I'm sick," she said.
Mereseini encourages young people to serve the Lord and at the same time work hard in school so that they can secure bright futures.
I hope that our youths are able to appreciate whatever jobs they can find and commit themselves to it, because only then would they be able to prosper in life," she said.