Josefa reaps the benefits of hardwork

Josefa Ceinaturaga at one of the unfinished house he built at Mokani Village in Tailevu. Picture: VILIAME ODROVAKAVULA

Josefa Ceinaturaga’s story should inspire any young person who is searching for a career choice for the future.

Today, he owns and operates his own carpentry and construction business, but how he got there is a tale of determination and commitment.

The Mokani, Tailevu, native attended Form 1 to Form 5 at Central Fijian Secondary School, now Sila Central High School, before he enrolled at the Multicraft Centre at the school in 1980.

Mr Ceinaturaga graduated from the school in 1981 and returned to Mokani because he did not have a full set of carpentry tools.

During his time in the village, he farmed and sold root crops and managed to buy his tools.

In 1985, Mr Ceinaturaga joined the Union Marketing Group as an assistant carpenter.

He said during his three years with the company, he worked on properties around Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

He set aside money from every pay to purchase more tools and when he had everything he needed, Mr Ceinaturaga resigned from the company.

He spent one year at Wakaya Island before he decided to return to the village.

He spent five years in the village before he joined the Regional Development Ministry and travelled around Viti Levu as a carpenter.

During his time with the ministry, he travelled the length and breadth of the Yasawa Group.

His time in the Yasawas included an eight-month stint at Ratu Meli Memorial School, Nacula, and three months on Yalobi Island.

Satisfied he had enough experience under his belt, Mr Ceinaturaga decided to start his own company when he returned from the Yasawas.

He said he never regretted the decision because when he worked for a company, he saw that the firm benefited from his work.

“When I started my own company, I received the benefits of my hardwork and that really drove me to keep pushing forward.”

His company was hired to build houses around Mokani, Naila, Dravo, Naisogovau, Ovea and Naikawaga in Namara.

“So far we have built more than 100 houses, and also constructed churches and community halls.”

He said 2021 marked the 30th year of his construction career and while COVID-19 has slowed work down, he was still able to earn a living.

At present, he was engaged in building a house in Tawakelevu Rd, Lokia, Rewa.

Mr Ceinaturaga said during the pandemic he told his “boys” to take a break and follow the rules set by the Ministry of Health.

“I have two boys and one of them has a certificate of building from Fiji National University.

“I told him to follow in my footsteps and keep at it because he will also reap the benefits of the trade in the future.

“Nowadays everyone wants to have a building and today carpenters are in demand.”

He said sometimes during negotiations with potential homeowners, many would scratch their heads and argue over building costs.

Mr Ceinaturaga said the cost of building a house depended on the cost of the materials and the complexity of the structure.

He said if there were a lot of material involved and the owner wanted specific things, his charge would go up as well.

Mr Ceinaturaga said another huge factor was the amount of labourers needed for a project and this depended on the size of the house.

“I always explain to the homeowner that as construction progresses, there is less labour needed.

“I bring all my labourers from Mokani.

It’s easier for me to work that way.

“The biggest house that I built belongs to one of my relatives in the village and it was 80ft (24.4m) by 26ft (8m) in size.

“It included three bedrooms, a nursery, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, restrooms and a garage.”

He said before the virus hit our shores, there was a lot of construction work, but nowadays things were “a little slack”.

“If everyone follows the COVID-19 safe protocols, Fiji can be virus-free again, and we can continue with our normal lives.”

Mr Ceinaturaga’s advice to all school students was to learn skills like carpentry, joinery or engineering instead of focusing on white-collar jobs.

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