Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saqani Village in Isolation

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Friday, July 02, 2010
DEEP in the heart of Saqani district, Cakaudrove, villagers of Valovoni walk 22 kilometres to catch a bus to access health services, markets and play a role in the northern economy.
It's the only land they have so leaving is not an option. But they are crying out for a good road so that bus services can reach them.
Village elder Josua Vosawale said he could walk a whole day, from 6am to 5pm, just to catch a bus.
"The village is so isolated, we are in a world of our own," he said.
Children are a notable absence as they are all away in boarding schools from Class One because it was too expensive, at $90 for each carrier hire, to return home for the weekend.
"We have fertile land for agriculture and we want to supply the market with root crops and vegetables and earn an income but it's just too difficult because of the transportation difficulties," Mr Vosawale said.
Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini assured villagers that the State's rural development plan involved having road access and buses reaching every village on mainland Viti Levu and Vanua Levu by 2012.
"Children barely see their parents during the school terms," Ro Aca said.
"So what we are doing to help them out instead of them coming over to Savusavu the provincial office and government officials are visiting Valovoni every now and then."
Valovoni is the furthest village from the provincial office in Yaroi, Savusavu, being 145km away.

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