Saturday, July 7, 2007


Edward Rao, 45, is so fascinated by the beautiful sites Fiji has that he has turned it into a career.
Rao is a tour guide and the senior travel consultant with Good Time Charter and Tours, where he has been working for six years.
He was born in a Fiji Sugar Corporation quarters, in Lautoka, the third eldest of three siblings.
Edward's childhood dream was to become a teacher.
"When we used to attend school, my brothers and sisters and I used to admire the teachers," he said
"After school my sister and I would play student and teacher at home.
"But as I grew my admiration for other work grew."
Edward attended Lautoka Methodist and Nadi Muslim High School.
He was a voluntary teacher at the Lautoka Methodist School from 1985 to 1987.
"After completing my Form Six studies, I worked as a casual labourer at the Lautoka Mill.
"I was called in for painting a section of the mill.
I carted sugarcane from Savusavu, Nadi, to Lautoka Mill on locomotives.
"I used to wake up at 3am as I required to be at work at 4am. At 5am my workmates and I left for Savusavu," he said.
Edward said he worked diligently because he was grateful for the encouragement of his parents, Krishna and Parwati Rao.
"They helped me in my bad times as well as my good," he said.
"My mom supported my every decision and helped me make the right ones.
"I am very thankful to them for what they have done for me.
"They used to tell me that one cannot succeed without struggling to make his stand. In 1987, just two days before the coup, I moved to Suva. I got a job with Cakacaka Travels and Tours as a tour guide.
"My boss, Seva Banuve, trained me as a travel consultant. He sent me to attend workshops on tourism to extend my skills in marketing and promoting Fiji abroad. I was very outspoken, so that's why my chose me." In 1989, Edward started his own travel agency called Rainbow Travel Agent.
"The industry was not booming and we made little out of it."
So he closed his agency and in 2002 joined Good Time Charter and Tours.
"My job is to promote Fiji abroad and tell the tourists how best Fiji can be and inform them what the paradise Fiji is.
"When we get tourists, the response we get from is very good as 80 per cent of the tour is around villages.
"The tourists are fascinated with the Fijian way of life.
"They enjoy feasting on lovo and taking walks in the jungle. They enjoy picking up coconuts, watching wild pigs and swimming in the sea.
"During a tour, we go to five villages a day.
"I enjoy my job because I like meeting new people and getting to know more about their country.
Sometimes we have tourists who are very depressed and have come to a new place to relax.
"Sometimes they want someone who will listen to them, and in that case we, as guides, become their friends.
"I do not go to nightclubs, I don't smoke and I stay away from liquor.
"My mom told me to stay away from these things when I was in Class 8. I have heeded her advice," he confessed.
Edward is a divorcee and has a 15 year-old son, Eron Sumit Rao, who lives in California, USA, with his maternal grandparents.