It has become their favourite eating place simply because for a few dollars they can eat as much as can.
For Miriama Tuinadamu, providing food for these industrial workers has been one of the satisfying experiences she has ever had.
“Even though it may be satisfying, it also has its good and bad days. It’s not an easy work but once you learn to get by everyday, you will get use to it,” said Mrs Tuinadamu.
She sells varieties of dishes ranging from meaty bones, pork curry and boil fish in lolo (coconut cream).
Just hearing the variety of dishes she sells and how they are presented with will make one’s stomach (especially those with no money) rumble in emptiness.
The Mualevu woman from Vanuabalavu in Lau wakes up at 3am to start preparing the food that she would sell on the day.
“I have a gas and kerosene stove, which I just turned on every morning at three because I have varieties of dishes to cook.”
But she is fortunate that her husband always helps her before he goes to work at seven in the morning.
“I’m lucky that I have a good husband who can also cook. He can also make roti and bake much better buns than me.”
At 5.30am when most people are still tucked in bed she is already pouring out tea for dock workers who usually miss breakfast so that they could make it to work on time.
“Here, there are four eating sessions, there is tea at 5.30am for those who comes early to work, and morning tea at 10.30am and lunch is at noon. The last tea session is at three where many would come in for a quick tea break before going back to work.”
Even when you a 10minutes late during lunch time, you would be lucky if you could find a table to sit down on or if there are still some food left.
“Food really flies here because we cater for customers who really have big appetites due to the hard work they do.
“I usually cook enough to sell for the day and sometimes food that I bring disappears from my table well before noon.”
She said that Fridays are usually busy especially when it comes to the pay week.
The dinning hall has a separate room for cooking and each lady who sells there pays $30 a month to the Public Works Department for rent.
“We are always making new friends here everyday and each day we could earn a minimum of $70 and sometimes we earn more than $100.”
Making that much money and having fun everyday at work is what the women at the PWD dinning hall enjoy most everyday.
For Mrs Tuinadamu she said that the kind of work she does is one of the employment opportunities that youths nowadays are ignoring.
“Especially for Fijian youths they don’t see the joy and the benefits of doing simple things. Look at our Indian friends they would jump to any opportunities such as this if they see the benefits they get out of it,” she said.
She is calling upon young people to take up any employment opportunity that comes up in life.
“Many young people are always afraid but most tend to shy away from this kind of job because of pride. People with those attitudes should know that pride won’t get you anywhere.”
With many opportunities that would come along the way, Mrs Tuinadamu said that she would not prefer anything else than from what she is doing at the moment.
“I love to listen to all sorts of stories brought in by the different people and getting compliments about the food from my customers is indeed a blessing,” added Tuinadamu.