Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Circumnavigating Viti Levu

 When we left the Suva Fiji mission home in October after our arrival, we traveled south and west on the Queen's highway across the island and then north to Ba, about 5-6 hours away.  Last week, we travelled from Ba north and east and then south on the King's highway back to Suva for our Christmas mission conference.  We have now circled the entire island of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji -- and the King's highway is much prettier, less travelled, and has smoother roads which are a rarity in Fiji.  Here are some of the beauties we encountered:

Leaving the western side and headed to the east.

 Watch closely as Annie strokes the leaves of this "sensitivity" plant.  They are very common and enjoyable to watch as they respond to stimulation.

As we drove along we noticed another common site - a bunch of villagers net fishing in the river.  They string the net out into the river and then a number of them begin smacking the water with poles frightening the fish into the net which is then pulled together into a ever tightening circle to secure the catch.  On an earlier trip, we found these net fishers in the midst of scaring the fish into the net:

On the north end of the island, the highway cuts across the interior of the island with its beautiful villages and rain forrest.
Marking the entrance to a village.
The clothes lines are lifted up with bamboo poles allowing much more hanging room and the clothes are out of the way.-- So ingenious.
Color adds so much to these simple homes.

We weren't sure whether this was a mid week religious gathering, a cava gathering or something else.
                  Here we are crossing one of the wooden bridges with a village in the background.
All terrain, 2 seat, 4  legged horse power works pretty well. 
Beautiful traditional bure
 Everywhere in Fiji on the weekend and most evenings, you can find kids playing rugby, soccer, and volleyball.  If you look closely at the right pole you'll notice two kids holding the standard upright.  This is really common technique - one kid leans against the inside of the pole while the one behind wraps his arms around him and they both lean back to create tension on the net.  The kids take turns doing this and then rotating in to play.

Along the way, we stopped to to cut some bamboo to use for a curtain rod in our kitchen.  This kind man was sure Tom needed his help and was very pleased to smooth out the pole for us.  He said he was born here in the rain forest and that it rained most everyday.  Sure enough the skies started to sprinkle on us as we talked.

The road is still under construction and at times our 4 wheel drive came in handy. 

We were struck with how unfazed the people were with the rainstorm.  Life went on as always.
So many smiles we encounter along the way.  We wave to all and it is almost always returned with a big smile and a wave back at us. 
Even baby buns are strong here.  Not sure why he was being led back home...but his mom definitely had a plan.
Humble circumstances, but so much better than having to travel to a bigger city.

Sorry for the jiggles, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a picture of these joyful women zooming along in front of us.  Fijians are generally happy and laugh with great enthusiasm as they pass the time together.  Most everyone walks, takes busses, or "transports" like this truck when traveling from one distant place to another.  30-90 minute walks are nothing to these people who visit each other in neighboring villages regularly.  We travelled to Suva on Sunday afternoon and people were all dressed up for Church walking, carrying food contributions to their destinations, and playing with children as they went.  We passed banana laden trees, coconut palms and the staples of Taro and Cassava are grown everywhere there is space.  It is really pretty cool.


Jared and Lydia said...

what an adventure.
I wonder if you have access to my blog? Alice Rampton tells me it is really difficult to get mail to you in fiji. Which I can see from looking at your blog is probaly very true. Me and Annies sunday school class from back here in the 3rd ward wrote her some letters that I will put pics of on my blog. You can link to my blog through emilys.

You two are doing an amazing thing offering what you have to the people of Fiji. I am so inspired by you.
Hugs and loves to you both.
be sure and check my blog for those pictures.
Lydia Hale

Ditto Family said...

Did you get to eat any fish on this trip? So fun seeing all the pictures.

Matt said...

I loved the pictures of the road (to see what you have been talking about) and the church. Amazing!

Leah said...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Your documentation is priceless.

emily a. said...

I agree with Leah. Everytime we read one of your posts Ryan and I comment that you will remember the details and people so much better than we do because you're doing such a good job documenting it.

We fed the Sisters tonight and they looked at your blog a bit. One Sister, Sis. Faamau is from Samoa and she LOVED looking at your blog and was so excited to see some of the plants, homes and people. I'm guessing it's somewhat similar to her home. She thought it was so awesome you wear and like to wear the skirt, dad.

We're excited to talk this weekend!