|LDS Church parking lot. No plans yet for where Church services will be held in the long run|
or whether repairs here will be done. Perhaps a new site will be preferable after 3 such floods.
|Rescuing the computer!|
|Bishop Ratu finding some water to wash the mud off our feet|
|Ba River during the flood|
|One entrance to the open market, bus station, and main shopping area and serves as one exit out of town|
|Elevuka creek running through the middle of town - after the flood level receded|
(note the green tarp, then see the same area during the flood in the picture below)
|Here's the green tarp area under several feet of water. That "New World" sign is about 10 feet above|
|Looking into the main shopping plaza. Some employees were still in these stores trying|
to put things up when the flood closed in -- they were stuck there for 3 days (but had access to
all the store's goods, including electricity from the generators)
|Another view of Elevuka creek (post-flood) further into town. These fishing boats follow the creek to|
the river and then to the ocean each day. Note the tell-tale signs of the flood level in the
brown line up in the trees.
|View into the central portion of town. The picture of us in the previous blog post standing in the|
water was taken down on the main street.
|Not a river! Normally, this is grassland at the base of the hill we live on.|
|The family stayed in this house, though moved what they could upstairs. This view is looking|
towards the central town area.
|Koula street would have been our 2nd possible exit out of town -- but not on this day!|
Note the "head gear" to preserve their health -- just plain strange.
P.S. That boat belongs about a half mile down the road.
|And here's our last exit route out of town. Needless to say, we didn't leave town.|
|Happy Fijians on a rescue mission|
In the next few shots, you'll see the market area and main anchor stores. They were in the lowest area with water depth varying from 8-10 feet deep.
These stores really took the biggest hit.
|Note debris level about one foot down from red siding|
|Scavenging for anything of value in the rubble which was swept out of a market|
|Drying out all the loaf pans at one of the many "Hot Bread" shops|
|Not sure what they will be doing with all the garbage and damaged goods from stores|
|But with all the heartache, the Fijian saying is still: "Saga nalaga" - no worries.|
|We met this smiley fellow along side the road as we talked about the impact|
of the flood on his village. "No worries - we can go up the hill to the stream
to bathe and the government brought drinking water. We're fine!"
|With no electricity, Annie got creative in a night time peek into the fridge. |
Strangely, it wasn't until we were groping around in the kitchen that we
realized she'd left the candle in the fridge!
Some of the heart warming things we witnessed included:
* Our faithful ward clerk made his way to the church just in time to get most of the valuable things like computer, copiers, records, check book, stove, fridge, etc. up on creatively elevated stacks -- he saved it all.
* Fiji water being passed out through the Red Cross. We joined them in line and could tell we weren't the only ones who were missing a daily bath.
who depend on wood for their daily cooking.
|His grateful share of the harvest|
* Our friends, the Nairoqos have been able to find work helping in the clean up. That's been a blessing for cash strapped villagers like them. On the way into town from their village, they had to swim a swollen creek that had become a quick moving river. After Brother Nairoqo crossed, the police asked if he could go back and help a boy who was badly burned. They made a litter, placed a float on it and then had the boy lay on that. Tying a rope to the contraption, Brother Nairoqo swam across pulling the litter and the boy.
|Saimoni and Elenoa Nairoqo|
And that brings us to the final and most difficult issue for everyone these days. The daily search for water and quest for water conservation consumes both individuals and families. It's just amazing how much we depend on water. We do have drinking water but cooking, bathing, toilet, and laundry all require more. The Fijians are washing clothes in the dirty rivers and streams and walk everywhere with buckets in the search for water. Today the Nairoqos invited us to come to their home in the country to bathe at their open well -- how sweet of them. It's under the Mango and Tamarind tree and partly hidden by the sugar cane. A nice cozy place where they go early in the morning or evening using their sulus to cover themselves for privacy. We love these people. While taking them back home a couple days ago, we were concerned about the integrity of a bridge still under a few inches of water (formerly a raging river flowed through this). Brother Nairoqo hopped out and waded around on the bridge to test it out and said it was fine. While driving across he smiled and playfully offered: "Car wash?"
As for us, we have gotten very creative about water conservation. In the kitchen, we boil a small amount of water for dishes and then sparingly rinse in a bowl. The rinse water next becomes tomorrow's heated wash water and the old wash water gets poured in the toilet tank for flushing. For our evening bath, we scoop out of a small bucket of clean water just enough to get the job done -- and we can do it in about 3 cups! No hot water but we're quite used to the cold. Long hot showers and regular toilet flushing are over rated anyway. Water really is a problem of significant proportion and we have no assurance it is coming back soon. Today, we even heard a report that it could be up to a month -- let's hope not. More hard rain is forecast on Wednesday (about 6 inches expected) and flooding may reoccur.
We do want to assure everyone that we are well fed and safe. We are assisting Church leaders here to organize visits in all the villages to check on the welfare of members. They always have scant supplies but we know the Church will provide for members in special need and we're grateful for that. We thank you all for your expressed concerns and we know you would help in anyway possible. The Church is experienced in both local and international emergency relief and we're sure it will be available if needed.
Our love to you all ~ Annie & Tom