Hotel worker switches to farming for survival

SIx months ago, Eliki Reva’s family depended on the income he earned as a food and beverage attendant at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa on the Coral Coast.

When the 20-year-old was let go because of the tourism downturn caused by COVID-19, he returned to Nabukelevu-i-ra, Kadavu, and took up farming.

Today, despite the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Harold on April 8, he believes he made the right decision.

“The closure of the tourism sector due to COVID-19 has resulted in many Fijians becoming jobless and I am one of those Fijians,” he said.

Mr Reva said the time management and disciplines he learned on Yanuca Island were being put to good use in his village farm.

“I have been doing a lot of farming and I’m helping out in every possible way I can because my family depended on what I was getting from my previous job and now they will depend on what I can grow on our land,” he said.

“I had just started my career in the tourism industry and I was the sole breadwinner for my family.

“Everything I earned, minus my living expenses, was sent to them to provide for their basic needs.

“When COVID-19 hit, I made the decision to return to the village because I needed to survive and everything here is free.

“We don’t have to pay for food, water or even electricity as we have solar power. Back in Viti Levu, I had to pay for $300 rent plus bus fares and food.”

Mr Reva said there were no gender-based jobs in the village.

“I work hard on the farm and I also weave mats. During these challenging times, we have to do whatever it takes to feed our families.”