Josateki Anasa had been suffering from leprosy for some time before he was diagnosed in 2011. Sadly this delay in discovering his leprosy meant that the 51 year old was already suffering from clawing of his fingers, and foot drop of his right foot as a result of damage to the nerves in his leg. Separated from his wife, he lives with his two adult children and, until recently, was not working.
Josateki was anxious to help his children by bringing in an income. He noticed that there was a need for someone to cut rough grass and brush in his local area and contacted the Leprosy Trust Board in Fiji to ask if he could be helped into this small business.
The Pacific Leprosy Foundation sent the funds so that a strong, petrol-driven weed-eater / brushcutter could be bought for him. We believe that the whole area near where he lives is much tidier now!
Unemployment is very high in Kiribati, so for many leprosy patients, there is little prospect of finding a job.
Our Kiribati field worker, Wayne, came up with a scheme which not only enables some of our patients to earn an income, but also provides people with a valuable source of protein. Fish is a major part of the staple diet in Kiribati, but with no refrigeration available to the majority of the population, there is no way to keep it fresh. Tinned fish is available but is very expensive, however dried fish is only slightly more expensive than fresh, and is proving to be very popular.
Wayne has developed a fish dryer which can be made relatively cheaply. The first one was made by him and given to one of our patients – Kurarenga – along with an initial stock of 60 flying fish. She dried the fish and sold them by the side of the road. Wayne reported:
“At 1745 when I checked her sale beside the road, a happy grin overwhelmed me to know that when she finishes selling the fish, her net profit shall be $24. for today only.”
This is a wonderful result and will make an enormous difference to Kurarenga’s family. From now on Kurarenga can support her business and her family from the proceeds and she no longer needs welfare assistance from the Foundation.