People: Staying true to his duty

Jess Karan does his daily duties at the Gurbacahan Singh Mall in Labasa. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Visit the Gurbachan Singh Mall in Labasa and you’ll surely see a slim-built man cleaning and mopping the walkway.

Jess Karan used to be a canefarmer but for the past two years, he has been working at the mall as a cleaner.

He opens the mall every day and starts his cleaning program as early as 6am while most are still comfortable on their beds. For Jess, staying true to his duties is a priority.

The Qelewaqa resident left canefarming because the low income didn’t justify the hard work and long hours spent on the farms.

“I decided to take up this job and I first started at the Sangam temple in town and worked there for a few years as a cleaner then moved to this mall,” he said.

“Many people think I made the wrong choice moving from a canefarmer to a cleaner but I believe I made the right choice.

“Both my children are working and married and working hard all day on the farm is no longer suitable due to my old age.”

He does not regret leaving farm work to take up a cleaner’s job.

“The farm I looked after was a contract job for the owner so after educating my children I decided to move on and get a job with lighter duties as I am approaching 60.

“I believe that whatever jobs we have, it’s important to be true and loyal to the hours we work and to our employers.”

In his line of duty, he has also met new friends and has had to deal with different people.

“We have a lot of people visiting the mall every day and they come from around Vanua Levu so it hasn’t been easy.

“While cleaning and mopping the walkway, people keep walking in and out so I needed to think of a way to control the crowd and I decided to always cordon off the area of cleaning.

“It has worked very well over the past two years and I enjoy my job in this mall because I get to meet new people.”

In the past two years he has made friends with men his age who have travelled from as far as Bua and Udu Point to have breakfast in the restaurants at the mall.

“Sometimes I get to meet my old friends who have moved out of Labasa so this job is a blessing.”

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