If you ever visit Gizo, for sure why not take a stroll to the Women’s Market stalls where you can taste all the finest local traditional foods in town ever prepared have.
The ‘bon-bon’ (roasted/grilled) fish freshly from the hot baked (motu) stone served with fresh potatoes and cassava is a menu where you can’t miss but to stop over and have a good healthy food in town.
Arena Patovaki comes from Rannoga and Vella in Western province. Her face is one of those that one could not overlook when arriving at the location.
She has been rated as one of the women that usually sell agreeable local foods at the market stalls.
The struggling mother survived through selling local foods as a daily income for her family to satisfy their needs and wants at home.
When asked how she earned money for living, she said it was through joining the Women in Business Centre (WBC) which was started back in 2015.
Many women around the town have an idea to make a women’s group by selling traditional local foods menu at their own market place.
Arena started her market by selling cooked food and BBQ but the selling didn’t go so well as every other woman because many customers go for local foods.
“I usually sell cooked and BBQ food but it seems many people don’t like oily foods but prefer local foods instead.”
“As from that time, we started the ‘bonbon’ fish with the old local style, it makes more difference that many people like local foods rather than cooked and oily foods from the BBQ,” she adds.
According to Arena, being an uneducated mother is very challenging, as every single day counts, the wants and needs for the children is also needed in home is also high in demand.
Raising children means more demands like, school fees, school stationeries other schools items.
“Through courage and determination makes me always never give up but to continue strive for my family,” said Alena.
Besides selling local foods, Alena also sell some ABC Gospel books bought from Gizo, Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Books shop.
“The selling of the gospels books also gives me extra money and savings for my family and also contributes to the church funds,” she said.
She lastly encourages other women who may find many obstacles in life to continue to keep on strive for best and try to find a way how to earn money to sustain a good and a healthy life.
She also hopes the other NGO (Non- Government Organization) and members continue on to support Women’s Business Centre (WBC) around the country.
BY ULUTAH GINA