Wednesday, July 4, 2007


BELIEVING in one's talent and putting it to good practice is what 52-year-old Tevita Manu believes in.
Tevita is a man of his own creation and sells mat strippers at Terry Walk in Suva.
The idea of making mat strippers a tool used for stripping mats into fine material is his own.
"This is my own idea and nobody taught me this," he said.
"I collect pieces of tin from the waste material at the tin factory in Valelevu to make this and I buy the wood from the sellers.
"It is better to use the waste material and earn money from it."
Tevita, hailing from Savusavu, said he has been in this business for the past eight years and the heat of the sun or the rainy season was not an obstacle for him to stop doing what he enjoyed.
"I do this because it is easy and I enjoy doing it," he said.
"It takes me about half an hour to make one tool. I thought about making this tool after I saw women weaving mats and the difficulty they were facing in getting thin straps of the pandanus leaves. Using this tool actually makes the work very easy and light as I saw people using nails and other tin materials to do the job.
"This is my talent and I am using it. I believe God gave everyone a talent and we should use in a good way.
"I am using mine and I suggest everyone to use whatever talent they have."
Making mat strippers is Tevita's part-time job.
"To run a family, I have to do two jobs.
"I also do some carpentry work here and there apart from this.
"When I am not sitting here, my wife comes instead of me."
The busiest day Tevita describes is during the weekdays and his customers are from all over Fiji.
"The locals and tourists buy the mat strippers," he said.
"In Fijian we call it the toci and I call it mat strippers in English."
Tevita says he earns well in his small business and is happy with it.
"It really depends how many customers come but at the end of the day I get about $50 to $40 from this creation of mine," he said.
"I am glad my wife helps me out in this."
As a word of advice, Tevita emphasised on the possibility of making something out of nothing.
"One can survive if their heart is into it and people should enjoy what they do, he said.
Tevita's mat strippers sell for $5 each and is quite a handy tool for women who weave mats.