Meredani weaves her way to success
26 January, 2023, 9:00 pm
While culture and traditions give way to modernity, some women continue to weave their way to success. Meredani Dalituicama, 65, from Saqani, Cakaudrove is one of them.
For over thirty years, she has been weaving, a skill she monetised in order to send her four children to school.
Now she is one of the many vendors at the Suva market, who sell to help put food on the table and support the family. After getting married, Dalituicama moved to Koro.
There, she learnt to weave from other women.
“An old lady, one of my husband’s relatives, taught me,” she said.
“It took me six months before I could really weave a mat all by myself. “I had to do it without help so I could look after my children’s education.”
In 1993, Dalituicama moved to Suva, motivated by the fact that her son had to start school. Her business had humble beginnings, a far cry from what it is today.
“I was weaving from home and selling from there,” she said.
She is one of many business women in Suva who have been crafting and selling long before the time of social media. This, she said, helped control the quality of her products and commitment to customers.
“I sit here (at my stall) and wait for people to order, pay their deposit and I know how many mats to make so they are ready on time and of a high quality.
“My main customers are the people that know me. They know me through my work.”
Dalituicama’s commitment and love to her family is evident as she talks, every key event contextualised through where her children were in their lives.
“Even though they are married, even though they have their own children, I will always share with my children.”
In 2005, she moved to the Suva Flea Market.
“There was no one else helping me, but with all the skills I had, I was able to survive,” she said. “I was able to pay rent, school fees, food, electricity, water bills and all.”
In 2016, she moved to the Suva Municipal Market and today she continues to engage in the same craft she started. And it has paid off too! To make her business sustainable moving forward, her son has a farm where he plants, among other things, pandanus for her weaving business.
“I have taught a lot of people how to weave. I told them that it is the most successful moneyearning project I have done.”
Retirement is not yet an option for Dalituicama.
“No. I will be 66 in March and I will keep going. I never get tired. This is my hobby and passion and I enjoy it.”