Story and photos by MAIKA BOLATIKI (Fiji Sun News Ltd)
Published on 15 June, 2019
Namara youth Joseva Diva from Naisausau village, has started a new life after he was released from the Korovou Corrections Centre.
He was sentenced to 18 months in jail in 2017 after an alleged robbery.
A month before his release he went through the Correction’s Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (CARE) Programme.
“I chose to work on the farm because when I return to my village I will be engaged in farming,” he said.
Before his release he was always visited by the Tailevu Care Committee member Sekaia Muaduaduakibau who is also from Namara.
Mr Muaduaduakibau said before Mr Diva’s release, he had briefed the village chief and elders about the Yellow Ribbon programme and stressed the importance of them accepting Mr Diva back into the community.
One of his regular visitors was the head of the All Nations Church the Reverend Epeli Ratabacaca.
Mr Diva was released on May 17, 2018.
On that morning Mr Muaduaduakibau said the village hall was decorated with yellow ribbons.
Namara chief Turaga Na Roko Tui Veikau Josefa Kamikamica he said joined the Naisausau elders to wait for Mr Diva.
It was a very emotional greeting by the vanua before Mr Diva was traditionally taken to his clan (mataqali).
Mr Diva said he was shocked to experience his acceptance back to his community
A week after his release, Mr Diva started his dalo and yaqona farm.
He also planted vegetables for quick cash.
Next month according to Mr Diva he would be harvesting 1000 tausala.
He said he had two options the first is to sell in bundles costing $25 each or to be weighed and sold at $5 per kilogram and the market was already in place.
Mr Diva is also selling dalo baked in the lovo and he said he was getting more money from this.
“The cost of dalo baked from the lovo ranges from $3 – $10 each and the cost depends on the size,” he said.
He said he prepared the dalo and his mother Taina Vakaloloma sold them in the market on Saturday.
According to Mr Diva he plants dalo and yaqona on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. For Thursday and Friday he prepares the products to the market and this includes baking dalo on Friday afternoon.
He wakes up early in the morning, catches the 5am bus and gets off at the road to his farm. “I work from 5.30am to 12 noon and I’ll be back in the village at 1pm to do some house works.”
Mr Diva said in farming clearing the weeds was very important as when the farm was bushy it would affect the growth of the crops and yaqona.
He just used his cane knife to clean his farm as he said the use of chemicals would affect the fertility of the soil.
He has a total of 1,500 yaqona and more than 2000 dalo on his farm right now.
For his farm he will be extending it as he has been given 8 acres by the mataqali. “I’ll concentrate planting dalo and yaqona.”
He said he needed a chainsaw to cut down the trees but he would be buying one for his farm.
“I will have to buy more farming equipment.”
Diva plans to build his own house and will also buy a vehicle to help him with his work on the farm.
MOTHER PROUD OF HER SON
Diva’s mother Taina Vakaloloma told the Fiji Sun at Naisausau village that she was proud with what his son was doing after his release from Korovou.
“Now I’m selling vegetables, dalo and cassava in the market,” she said.
She said her son was also helping other families by giving them cassava from the farm to sell and use the money for their family.
According to Ms Vakaloloma his son has changed and has accepted the good Lord to lead the way for him.
Mr Diva she said was the eldest in the family.
FIRST IN TAILEVU
Mr Muaduaduakibau said Mr Diva was the first in the province of Tailevu to be under the Tailevu CARE programme.
With just after one year and with his the progress, Mr Diva has also set a good example for ex-offenders not only in Tailevu but Fiji wide that they could live a happy life when given a second chance.
He said before he usually monitored Mr Diva’s work but now he had trusted him and was working alone.
Mr Diva according to Mr Muaduaduakibau is now a proud and faithful son of Tailevu.