Pay not enough for family’s sustenance

Gopal and his wife Julekha Bibi sitting on the steps of their home in Jittu Estate with their 2 year old son Alifereti Tazil. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIFTY-five-year-old Gopal of Jittu Estate in Suva had sometimes shed tears because he could not provide what his two-year-old son cried for when they go out shopping.

Mr Gopal and his wife, Julekha Bibi have no children, but two years ago they adopted an iTaukei boy, Alifereti Ganilawa Tazil who they now regard as their own son.

Mr Gopal, who has been living at Jittu Estate for the past 10 years earns at least $150 to $200 a week.

With this, the security officer said he always had to manage it wisely so it could cater for his son’s items such as diapers, baby formulas and other things and also provide for his family. On his days off, Mr Gopal also goes around cutting grass to help make ends meet for his family.

He claims he does not have access to any government assistance, apart from his income from employment and grass cutting.

He relayed his story to a team from this newspaper in light of the latest Tebbutt-Times poll results which revealed that personal wealth (cost of living, unemployment, poverty), land issues, and crime were the three biggest issues going into the 2018 General Election.

A total of 81 per cent gave an answer related to personal wealth. Fifty one per cent of those polled mentioned the cost of living or wages, 39 per cent said unemployment or jobs was also an issue going into next month’s polls while 34 per cent named poverty as one of the biggest issues.

Mr Gopal said with his weekly income, he could only take home three to four shopping bags.

“If I take that $200, I can only buy two or four plastics of food,” he said while sitting of the steps of his corrugated iron home.

“The price of food is too much. “I’ll pay the electricity and water after that then all the money will finish.

“We don’t enjoy the luxuries others enjoy. We don’t go visit our other families because every day we struggle,” he said.

“I always feel sorry for my son, sometimes when I take him with me during shopping, he always wants things I cannot afford and that is when it really hurts me as a father. This is why we are asking government to reduce the prices of food to make it easier for us poor people.

“Our wages and the cost of living do not match at all,” Mr Gopal added.

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