Pubdate: Sun, 16 Aug 2009
Source: Fiji Times (Fiji)
Copyright: 2009 Fiji Times Limited
Author: Fred Wesley


In another place and time, Isoa Boseyaco would have passed for a
simple farmer. But the story of his life forces attention on to this
unassuming man of Yaroi Village.

Barely five years ago he'd been the scourge of the lower portion of
Cakaudrove on Vanua Levu, pushing drugs, and drowning up to $400 a day
on booze, women and other worldly pleasures.

Life was a breeze with cash in hand. The world was at his fingertips
and he'd lapped it up with a vigour that stretched for about 16 years.

The underworld knew him as Chako. He was arguably the biggest and most
renowned drug pusher in the little tourist town of Savusavu.

He'd lived life on the edge, stretching the arms of the law to the

He knew Savusavu and its surrounding areas like the back of his hands
and used this to his advantage, constantly evading the prying eyes and
arms of the law.

He understood the need to be one step ahead of the law.

I'd met Chako at his hydroponic farm at Nabuna which sits on the
outskirts of Yaroi Village along the Cross Island Highway which cuts a
north-westerly path to link up with the Nabouwalu Highway heading to
Labasa. Nabuna is about a five minute drive north-east of Savusavu
Town and a little walk away from Yaroi.

"I suppose there are times when people change," he laughes.

His turning point came five years ago.

Married with two children at the time, he'd taken his young family to
Bucalevu, towards Labasa.

"My second daughter was constantly falling sick," he says.

"She almost died. In fact we were basically living in the hospital

"She was sick for about two months and we were at the hospital almost
every day of those two months.

"I remember taking my family to Bucalevu one Sunday.

"A group of evangelists from the Spiritual Warfare group led by Jone
Cokanauto were there that day.

"I remember meeting a woman from the group. She came up to me and told
me to change. She did not mince her words when she said I had to
change for the sake of my daughter.

"She told me that would heal my little girl, otherwise she'd die.

"I turned a new leaf then and my girl is living proof that God heals.
She got better and is now very healthy and strong.

"Now ... no more drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes.

"I've seen far more good things over the past five years compared to
the 16 years I pushed drugs.

"There was a lot of money, but no one understands the fear and stress
that come with it.

"I had money, lots of it, but I also had sleepless nights, lots of
that. I was always on edge. At night, by the time a vehicle stopped by
the roadside, I was already wide awake, my adrenalin pumping. I'd sold
drugs and also smoked it. I'd wake up in the morning and smoke
marijuana, smoke it throughout the day and when I couldn't sleep at
night, I'd light up again and smoke marijuana to help me sleep.

"Looking back at the years, I'm quite happy now and content."

Chako opted to keep the tag the underworld knew him by. It serves as a
constant reminder of the change he has made in his life.

He owns Chako's Greenearth Hydroponic Farm with partner Ted Taylor of
Melbourne in Florida, in the United States of America.

The partnership, he says, is part of the good things he has
encountered over the past five years.

The chance meeting a few years ago has developed into a firm
partnership that saw the birth of the first hydroponic farm in the

"Ted hired the taxi I was driving. He'd asked for the fare and I had
given him a rate he could not believe. I wasn't about to rip him off.
That was when he told me, he had an urge to make the trip to Fiji, to
meet someone. He felt it was me that day.

The partners set up a deal which is now into its second round of test

"Iceberg lettuce is imported into the country at around $15 per kg.

"We hope to plant that here. Hopefully we can set up 10 more
greenhouses and improve this business soon."

Chako's hydroponic farm has a variety of lettuce which are planted on
foam floating on a cool pond-like base inside a greenhouse that allows
the right amount of sunlight needed by the plants.

The farm has changed his view of life in general.

"Nothing comes easy these days. I may not be earning a lot of money
now ... at this stage ... but I'm optimistic there are good things
ahead and I'm keen to get there.

"I believe if other drug pushers need to change, then the State needs
to assist them.

"Everyone needs cash to put bread on the table. Drug pushers are no

"I believe the State can make things work by offering drug pushers an
alternative means of making a living.

"For instance, it takes about six months to harvest marijuana and
there are a lot of problems associated with it. It takes me six weeks
to harvest a crop with hydroponic.

"I firmly believes the Ministry of Agriculture can help by offering
farmers something to fall back on."

"My former contacts still cannot get over the fact that I've changed.
They cannot believe it. But this is it. This is the way forward for

And if there is another reminder for Chako, it is the fact that his
youngest child, a son, is named after the preacher who helped him make
the biggest decision of his life - Jone Cokanauto.
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