Monday, July 2, 2007

Meet Elenoa Tupua

She loves the rainbow for its colours and she loves Naitasiri for its green hills.
Elenoa Tupua, 62, enjoys planting colourful flowers on a part of her seven-acres of land in Vuniniudrovu Village, in Naitasiri.
"I do dalo and cassava farming and my flower garden is about two-and-a-half-acres," she said proudly.
"I have loved flowers since I was a little girl."
Elenoa is a member of Suva Orchid and Horticulture Circle.
She has been selling flowers from a stall near the Suva city foreshore since Monday.
Usually, she can be found selling beautiful flowers under a mango tree in the Suva Market on Saturdays.
She is the widow of an auditor, Jona Tukua, and now lives with her youngest sister in her village.
"I got married when I was 19- years-old and after that I started work at the Tradewinds Hotel.
"I used to work as a waitress, as a room cleaner and then was promoted to receptionist. I worked in other hotels after that.
"When I was young, my parents leased land in Naitasiri and we all moved there.
"After my parents died, the property was passed on to me. I loved the village life because my family and I used to live in Flagstaff.
"But it was in Naitasiri where I gained skills in gardening," she said. "I started planting in small numbers but as my interest grew, so did my garden."
Elenoa has two women working in her garden twice a week.
She has gingerflowers, halacornias, carrabia and many other pot-plants of all colours and sizes.
"It's like my flowers make me relax. When I am upset, I go in my garden and my mind clears and am no longer upset.
"Whenever I am alone at home I go to my flowers and spend time with them.
"My flowers are very helpful to me. I take care of them and they take care of me," she said.
"All the flowers are my favourite, I can not choose among them which is prettier. If I choose I will be thinking low of the other flowers."
She is the eldest of two sisters, has two daughters, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
"My little ones are like flowers, they are very adorable and I like spending time with them.
"As the old people used to say, when you become a mother all your love goes to your children, but when you have great-grandchildren you put aside everyone else and love them. "The little ones love coming over to my place, they really like my flower garden," she said.
"I find myself alone at times but my children and my gardeners help me by keeping me company.
"Every day is like a routine for me. I wake up at five in the morning and clean the house, have breakfast then I soak the clothes. I go to my garden and at about 10 I wash my clothes.
"I arrange for a van to bring us to Suva Market. The van charges me $10 but at times when a cab is arranged, it costs about $30 to come from Naitasiri."
Elenoa is proud to be a student of Mahatma Gandhi High School.
"We were the first lot of student to go to that school. We opened that school and I really liked the principal, Mr Patel. He was a short guy and he was a nice man. I loved that school," she said.
She attended the Fiji Institute of Technology after high school where she did commercial studies.
She likes attending church services, saying her husband was her strength in the work she did.
"My husband was a very good man and very understanding. He used to plant the dalo in our farm and he helped me out with my flower gardening.
"He always used to tell me to do what gave me the most pleasure. And I am doing that," she said.
"Being a retired person, it's good to engage yourself in something with which you are happy with. I have my kids and my flowers, and am very happy."