HARD WORK At 68, Nir­mala Still Cuts Cane

Fiji Sun - - NATION - LAISA LUI Edited by Ivamere Nataro

At the age of 68, Nir­mala Wati still cuts cane to sup­port her ail­ing hus­band. Grow­ing up in a strict and strug­gling fam­ily has in­stilled in Ms Wati the will to work hard.

She never had the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend school, but that did not stop her from try­ing to pro­vide for her fam­ily.

Ms Wati is mar­ried with one daugh­ter and three grand­chil­dren. They are from To­vata in Wailevu.

She and her hus­band have been work­ing in the cane farm be­long­ing to Mo­hammed Iqbal in Solove, Wailevu.

When her hus­band fell sick two years ago, Ms Wati de­cided to con­tinue work­ing in the cane farm.

Ms Wati wakes up early in the morn­ing and joins the cane cut­ters at five o’clock un­til 10.30.

She then re­turns home and does her house chores, at­tends to her hus­band be­fore re­turn­ing to the cane field to load the cane to be carted to the mill.

Farm owner, Mo­hammed Iqbal said he pro­vided a home for the cou­ple af­ter they were chased from their pre­vi­ous set­tle­ment.

“We all treat her with re­spect as she is the old­est and treats us like her son,” Mr Iqbal said.

“She car­ries out her work like every­one else and en­joys a salary of $300 ev­ery cane pay­ing week.

“Not many women of her age would be seen cut­ting cane in the field. She is strong and healthy. She com­plains if she has noth­ing to do, so she will aways keep her­self busy.”

Photo: Laisa Lui

The cane cut­ters with Nir­mala Wati (sit­ting) while load­ing the cane at Solove, Wailevu on June 23, 2020.

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