From Fijitimes Online (14 December 2006)

Christina Mario makes most of her time

While most school kids are relaxing at home watching their favourite DVDs, playing touch rugby or enjoying the sunny weather on our beaches, a young enthusiastic girl knocks on every office as early as nine o'clock.

Christina Mario

Christina Mario is one who will never let her school holiday pass by without securing a holiday job for herself.

She is spending her holidays knocking on almost all office doors in Suva selling cakes, sandwiches, muffins and fruit salad.

She appeared like a muffin fairy at the entrance to Fiji Times Limited with a basket of what looked like a hotel prepared cakes, muffins and fruit salad.

The outspoken Rotuman girl from the district of Pepjei is a fifth former of Saint Joseph's Secondary School, in Suva.

Clad in her favourite summertime wear of jeans and, T-shirt Christina quickly but friendly responds to questions asked by her customers.

She neatly places her laid back flowing black hair before passing on a container of their favourite product fruit salad.

"At the end of the third school term we were asked by a couple that runs ROCAS Catering to work as they were offering holiday jobs for students," she said.

"So I decided this would be the best way to spend my school holidays and to applied for the job.

"And yes, I am enjoying it," she said.

"My father was very encouraging, telling me to take up the job as it would be a very good experience me.

"However, my mum was a bit reluctant to let me do it because of the political situation," she said.

Christina said her first day with her basket of cakes in the City of Suva was the toughest.

"I thought it would be easy but the first day was hard.

"I got to meet a lot of friends along the way and I know in their minds they must have been wondering what I was doing in town with a basketful of cakes and fruit.

"I just say hi and move on," she said.

Christina said meeting up with friends ate up a lot of her time so a short hi and bye was the only appropriate thing to do.

"Time is very important with this job, I need to get around the offices before and during their tea time."

Christina said she was blessed to work with the couple that runs the business, "as they are very helpful in every way".

"We just have to be there at their place to pick up our baskets and sell the cakes.

"For me personally, I have learnt a lot of things just from selling these cakes and sandwiches."

Smilingly Christina said she was not very much of a talker, but because her work required her to do so, she had become quite vocal in selling her basket of cakes.

"I have really gained a lot of confidence walking into offices and telling them of the kinds of stuff that we sell.

"Some customers are very particular. I try and explain to them what exactly is in the sandwich or any other product that they ask about," Christina said.

She said apart from the confidence she had gained, she had improved a lot on her basic accounting skills.

"After each day of I meet up with all other sales girls in Palm Court so we balance out all our day's takings before giving it in.

"Our aim everyday is to sell all that is in our baskets, and since we started business has never been better," she said.

While most kids will do the job for the sake of the money, Christina said she was doing it all for the experience.

"It is a great and very challenging experience that I had enjoyed even though my first day was a bit rocky," she said.

Christina smiled when asked how much she gets from selling cakes around the city.

"It all depends on what I sell, for students like me the amount we get is enough to help out in any little way we can inside our homes," she said smilingly.

"Holiday jobs are fun and I urge those students who are at home and not helping cleaning the house to look for jobs," she said.A

nd for this Rotuman lass, her work experience and friends that she has made selling cakes around the city will definitely go a long way.

How she uses the money she earns from her holiday job is her secret.

"I really can't say how I'm going to use this money, but one thing is for sure is that I'm really going to spend it well.

"For my family this Christmas will be a bit different because we won't be with our dad." she said.

"That does not mean I won't be having any Christmas gifts," she said.

She said the experience she had gained from her holiday job was the best gift she had got.

"My father had always wanted to open up a family business," she said.