Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Weekend Readings • Allen Lockington Column • Michael Field's Dubious Reporting • Samoan Observer criticises Barbara Dreavers's reporting,  and by far the most important and interesting,  • Dr Brij Lal's reflections on Sir Paul Reeves, who died last week, his work on the 1997 Constitution. and his work for Fiji.

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Cooking on Fire

Waiyavi is a beautiful place just before daybreak. As I stand from my vantage point in the dark looking down over the many homes and just before the first rays of the sun start to peek over the hills I see little specks of fire in the distance. And as the night turns to day I see little plumes of smokes snaking up from many homes.

As I take a brisk stroll in the cool morning breeze  and take deep breaths  and smell the wood fire it takes me back to my primary school days when we lived in Veisari some ten miles out of Suva. The mornings were always a beautiful time for us kids, sitting on the road side and waiting for a car to go pass. The road was still gravel and had lots of dust. Cars were few and far between, it was always  a treat when we saw one go pass and someone would say, “Isa! That car could be going to Suva" For many of us Suva was so far away. And suddenly someone would call out, “Hey you kids found any firewood or not?” And we would get up and go into the mangrove swamp to get some.  We usually cut old branches and left them to dry up. In about two weeks or so we would go and bring it home for our firewood. There would be times when we went to the spot and our fire wood was gone. 

Then I would suddenly come back to my senses when a car zooms pass. And I realise that we were in the heart of a city and I was dreaming of a very long time ago far, far away for the heart of a city.  We had a little kitchen on the outside and we cooked only on the fire . Yes, it was almost forty years ago. Not much has changed, because, like we usually say, times are tough and the fuel price has gone up and people today prefer to cook with firewood so they can save a bit of money. But back then we got COLA and it was sweet.

As for us, Sundays are reserved for cooking on the fire, that’s when we reminisce about the old times. For many of my neighbourhood friends, I pass them on my early morning walk with loads of fire wood, and I wonder where they are finding it.

Tough times? Could be. 

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