Yasa saves the day

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Maria Qio-Yasa next to her stall at the Nausori Handicraft Centre in the Nausori Market on Monday, January 30, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Life often throws challenges not to break one’s spirit, but to bring out one’s untapped potential. Marica Qio Yasa is a living testament to this expression.

The challenges her family faced have led to her to be one of the most trusted vendors at the Nausori flea market.

Due to an unfortunate turn of event, her husband’s contract was terminated in 2008 when the company he worked for underwent structural changes.

He was the sole breadwinner of the family at that time, so his sudden unemployment impacted the family’s financial stability and survival.

“Life became hard back then,” Ms Yasa said.

“We had our mortgage to pay and our daily life to sort out. I knew I had to do something,” she said. With basic knowledge in wreath and garland making, plant propagation and preparing virgin coconut oil, she opened a stall at the old Nausori Municipal Market.

“I was never keen on selling like this. I was always shy and never eager to do this, but desperation has made me find the courage to do it.

“I started at the old Nausori market selling wreaths, pot plants and juice before slowly including other products.” She said her knowledge of producing virgin coconut oil came into good use because no one was selling the product at the time although it was in demand.

“I started earning good money from my stall so I depositing some of my earnings with micro-finance,” Ms Yasa said.

Her decision to save some of her earnings with the micro-finance scheme paid off when the family’s mortgage payment was due. Her market earnings rescued her family in their time of need.

“It was close to $18k that we had to pay so I simply got the money from my savings and paid off the mortgage.”

She was also able to fund her daughter’s education from her income. Her daughter now works for a local veterinarian company.

The 60-year-old and her husband now own four stalls at the Nausori flea market and sell a range of products such wreaths, handicraft items, virgin coconut oil, honey, mats, masi and garlands.

Ms Yasa said everyone had talents that could be put to use to earn a living.

“Never let your talents go to waste.”

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