PEOPLE: Nele’s long journey

Merewairita Nele with her certificate from the Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre last week. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

Tavuya Village in Dreketi, Rewa, is considered one of the remote villages in the Rewa delta.

To get there you either have to travel by small wooden boats or take a gruelling one hour walk through mangroves, a route frequently travelled by villagers living within those parts.

One of those individuals is Merewairita Nele, who travels that route daily in order to get to her classes. Nele, 28, travels from Tavuya Village to Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre in Nasinu to attend her sewing classes.

Faced with the uncertainties of life, Nele strives to attain a certificate in sewing through a course offered at the centre. She hails from Nawaisomo Village in Beqa and ended up in Tavuya Village through marriage.

At Tavuya, Nele knew she had to stand on her own two feet and push beyond her circumstances. She found out about the training sessions and signed up immediately to join.

Now Nele committed herself to catching a punt ride through the Rewa tributaries early mornings or sometimes travelling on foot under the sun’s scorching heat to get to her destination. When relaying her story to this newspaper, Nele was emotional talking about sacrifices of getting to the centre.

“I was married at a very young age and it didn’t last because of difficulties that arose in our family life,” she said.

“Even with the struggles I didn’t give up. I kept trying to find means to sustain myself.

“I learned about the sewing course offered at the centre through Facebook and right away applied for the course. I was fortunate to have been accepted by the centre.”

Even with the good news of being accepted at the centre, Nele’s first challenge was coming to terms with the difficult long-distance travel.

“Life was tough, I didn’t have enough to cater for the two months travel expenses.

“Whenever there was a high tide, I’d travel 20 minutes by boat to get to Nasali landing and when it was low tide I would walk for about 8km to reach the landing.

“Sometimes I would walk an extra 2km to the next stage if I didn’t have enough money available in my purse. So it was a great deal for me attending classes at the centre.

“Despite this challenge I was determined to successfully complete the training as the opportunity was far greater than my difficulties.

“Looking back at the hard times, the struggles I went through in the past has made me realise that life is not about falling down and giving up, but about achieving and pushing ourselves beyond the limitations.”

Ms Nele was among the 63 women who graduated from the centre last week.

She hopes to earn a decent income from sewing and help support her family financially.

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