3-hour walk to road

Kirikiti Luvunavuaka with her grandchildren take a rest at Satulaki Rd after a three-hour walk from Korotari. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

THREE hours of walk on gravel road and across three streams to get to the main road has become a norm for about 300 people who live in the highlands of Cakaudrove.

This has been the daily life of villagers in Satulaki and Vunimatamata settlement who leave home at 7am to catch the 10.30am bus at Korotari Rd, outside Labasa Town.

Satulaki Village headman Atunaisa Tuinayau said their forefathers lived through this lifestyle and it had not changed until today.

“We’re tired of asking for improved roads so the buses or cars can travel to our villages,” he said.

“The road condition and having to cross three streams often discourages drivers from travelling to our village and we don’t blame them.

“Our expectant mothers and the sick villagers also experience difficult times because we have to carry them to the main road if we can’t get any vehicles. So what we have done is ensuring that expectant mothers move to Labasa a month before their due date and the sick are taken care of well in the village.”

The women from Vunimatamata settlement described the situation as a burden, especially when children were involved.

Kirikiti Luvunavuaka, who has lived in the area since her childhood days, said at times women had to carry their children to the main road including babies to be taken to the hospital for clinic.

“It’s difficult and if it rains along the way, it’s worse because our things get wet, our children get sick from the rain and the babies as well,” she said. “So I really hope something can be done about our road for the bus to travel here or even a minibus at least. It’s not easy for us and our students are blessed to have a carrier assigned for them during school days.”

In a statement, the Fiji Roads Authority said upgrading works on this road has been included in the 2019/2020 financial year.

“In the interim, cyclical maintenance will continue and the next round programmed to begin early December,” FRA stated.

“The cyclical maintenance was initially programmed for October, but due to the inclement wet weather conditions experienced, work program was changed to ensure bus routes are trafficable and damaged crossings and bridges attended to.” |

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