Lisa Loko would not sit around while her family struggles, she looked for other ways to make a living for her family.
Lisa is a single 48-year-old mother of two. Both her children are in primary school. Lisa comes from Kombe village in Gela, Central province. She says that the Covid-19 restrictions made it difficult for her to come to Honiara.
All the reports she was hearing on the radio made her decide to stay home, it seemed like the right thing to do, putting her safety and well-being first.
As the months passed, she said that it became very difficult for them as a family, meeting basic needs was a challenge and she knew something had to be done. She decided to put the needs of her family first and hopped on a boat to Honiara with bags full of ngali nuts.
She tried to set up a stall at the Honiara Central Market, but it was crowded by the time she got to Honiara. She carried her bags of ngali nut and took a walk around town looking for a spot to sell.
She tried the Kukum market, but it was closed, and the few betel nut vendors there were not willing to give her a spot, saying that it was already crowded.
On her way back to town she noticed several women selling cooked food just outside the Holy Cross Cathedral church. She told herself that this will be my spot.
"It was a crazy idea, but I said to myself this is what I must do for my family, I must be brave,” Lisa recalled with a smile.
To her relief the women there were friendly and allowed her to set up her stall.
"I really enjoy this spot because most of my ngali nuts are sold out at the end of the day. We have had a lot of criticisms from people in the area, but we kept coming everyday," Lisa said.
"The Church leaders have been very kind to us, all they tell us is to keep the area clean and tidy before we leave," she explained.
"I think they understand that this is the only way we can sustain and help our families. For me it is about my children’s future, and I will keep doing it until they are old enough.”
She says she did not have a proper education and hopes her children will change that.
“This is the only thing I can do, and I make $300 to $400 per day, which really helps us as a family. It is hard to leave the kids in the island, but I am doing it for them.”