Why Elizabeth quit teaching and involves in family farming

To leave a white-collar job or formal employment is a tough decision one could ponder and it only takes courageous women and men to take the risk.

As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, It’s important to actually strike out and follow your heart—even if the odds do not seem to be in your favor. That’s the beauty of life. We never know what can happen unless we take a chance.”

Taking risk perhaps could create a whole new set of opportunities and gains for the future.

Elizabeth Votu 28, resides at Barana Community. A community that also hosts the biggest conservation site on Guadalcanal – Barana Nature and Heritage Park, about 2 kilometers away (ride) from Borderline Bus stop haven through the Mt Austen road. Mrs. Votu used to be an Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher back then but decided to take the risk thus left teaching profession in 2012.

The young mother of four was preparing her cabbage for market sale when MAL Media caught up on her at her residence at Barana where she shared her story. “It is not easy. It was really a tough decision one could ever make but, having the future of my children so dear at heart, braved me to take the bold step,”she said.

“I have no second thought on that but leave the profession (teaching) and involve in gardening and selling produces at the market to support my children’s education. Mrs. Votu’s family farm (garden) is just a walking distance from her residence where she planted cabbage, bean, tomato, shallot, pawpaw, banana and various root crops purposely for market.

“I involved in family farming (gardening) and marketing since I left teaching.” She does marketing twice a week. “A day I can earn $1000 from the sales of my vegetables and root crops and that amount be doubled in two days of marketing. It is more better than my pay while in teaching.

“This really helps me to pay for my children school fees and daily bus fare.” Mrs. Votu’s husband is currently undertaking tertiary studies at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).

“Also the money I earned from market enabled me to meet my husband school fees at SINU as well as pay for my adopted son courses who is currently undertaking tertiary studies at the University of the South Pacific Honiara campus.

“Most of my market intake (money) were spent on my children and husband education and part of it were spent on basic family needs. “I could not afford all these expenditures if I am still in teaching and I regret not the decision made at the first place and my involvement in gardening and marketing,”Mrs. Votu said with a smile.

She said that though Covid-19 affects her normal market intake per day, she can still earn around 600 -800 a day. “Farming and marketing is better than teaching,” Mrs. Votu confidently said.

Mrs. Votu appeals to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to support her and other women alike with gardening tools and pesticides to control the continuous attack of invasive pest on their gardens.

She also encourages other women out there to involve in family gardening and marketing since it is a good undertaking to support you and your family and also improve your livelihood.