Amaysa builds her way to greatness

Amaysa’s road side ‘greenhouse’. Picture: JOHN KAMEA

“I feel content here,” a bubbly Amaysa Hope Naidu remarked. “This is paradise and I wouldn’t ask for anything less.”

You wouldn’t believe those remarks could come easily from the Wainadoi resident.

After all, she’s lived with abuse and psychosocial disabilities for most part of her life.

But since turning her back on her horrid past, Amaysa has emerged stronger, so strong that she’s building herself a house.

“I lived through tough times, so dark that I’d rather not talk about them,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

“But I’ve learned to endure the struggle, focus on my strengths and come out feeling better. Amaysa wears many hats. She is a mum, a faithful partner, budding florist, a landscaper, a businesswoman and an inspiring animal lover. She lives in a make-shift home in Wainadoi with tarpaulin roof and walls made of sheets of corrugated roofing and greenhouse netting. She depends on the rain and the nearby river for water. For lighting in the night, there’s a small solar light.

“Once we had everything. But then one day we woke up and didn’t have a roof over our heads anymore.

“Since that day, I have never stopped working hard. I told myself I will one day have my own house.”

Amaysa claimed that through government assistance she got a piece of land in Wainadoi (paper work in progress). She shifted there with her partner of 13 years, Craig and her 12-year-old daughter.

“We moved in three months ago and the house is still a work in progress.But it’s a place where I find peace and comfort,” she said.

Amaysa propagates flowers on the dusty roadside and sells them at the monthly market day at Garden City in Raiwai. She cannot afford to build a greenhouse. Her focus is on finishing her dream home.

“I sell my flowers at the monthly market day at Garden City, which has kept my family sustained. In between market days I have private jobs and do maintenance and landscaping works.”

With the money she earns, she puts some aside for her dream house.

“I want to have a wooden house on stilts with a runaround balcony that enjoys unobstructed views of the mountains. From my balcony I should be able to set my greenhouse and the water lily pond.”

Amaysa has been battling mental health issues since childhood. But through support and a bit of self-help, she feels empowered.

She is the president of the Psychiatric Survivors Association and the Fiji Disabled People’s Federation’s youth committee president.

She calls her personal doldrums a tough journey but believes the future looks promising.

Having pets and planting flowers have contributed to her healing process. They have also enhanced her ability to cope with her situation.

She was introduced to both hobbies at a very young age by her paternal grandmother, whom she said was the ‘only person where I’d find love and peace’.

“It was difficult to find love and peace when I was growing up but grandma had a lot to offer,’ she said.

“She loved flowers and I would watch her plant. She told me that flowers were the best teachers of hard work.”

When times get rough and rugged and her mind goes ‘a bit messy’ she turns to her 14 dogs (and counting) two cats — Tiger and Kitty, and her flowers, to give her inspiration.

“Humans can hug you but may have a bad heart. Dogs are beautiful because they love unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Even if you don’t feed them, they’ll still warm up to you.”

“My flowers teach me that when you work hard you reap good results. Every bloom is a reward for the work I do.”

To keep her motivated and guided, Amaysa also writes her thoughts on paper. The unorthodox note taking is how she tackles her “to do’ things.

“I’ve learned that living with mental disability is all about tricking your brain to see the other side of things,” she said.

“And if you tell yourself you e good for nothing every day at what you will believe in and come.”

She thanks Craig for being a tower of strength and for giving her love when she struggled to find it.

“I tore him apart because of my psychosocial disabilities but he chose to stand by me. He believed in me and gave me love.”

She said she has been so much better since she moved to Wainadoi to start a new life. “I’m not a very materialistic person. I am happy as long as my animals have food to eat, we have shelter and a place to sleep and no one will come and chase us way.”

“I am happy and content and I want to be that person who helps other people with psychosocial disabilities. She said people like her needed to take part in activities that could boost health and distracted them when feeling down.

“When I am my sickest I get up and work hard so that I can calm down and think clearly. I keep reminding myself that I am a child of God and I can take control of my health.”

“As for my budding business, I keep focused although I may be going through a messed up day. I tell myself that I am doing this for my daughter and family and for my dream – to live in my own home with dignity and love.”

Amaysa has been off medication for more than 10 years.

“Don’t get me wrong. I have my bad days but I get through because I chose to. Most of all, I have found love and independence, and now I am on my way to greatness.”

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