When we think of "Fijian Ways" we're not sure whether to laugh, cry,
or just be amused. May we share a few with you?
"Bula" is the Fijian word for "hello, thanks, welcome", etc. Speaking of "welcome", we never shared with you our official welcome by Bula singers at the Nadi airport 8 months ago (wow, 8 months, and after 32 hours of travel):
Our bula welcome was just the beginning of experiencing Fijian ways. Like visiting any vastly different culture, you find things that delight you or baffle you.
Food is a big deal in Fiji, perhaps because there is often so little of it with an equally negligible variety in daily life. But whenever they can, and wherever they gather, the experience is sure to include food prepared in the "Fijian way."
Cassava and Dalo (Taro) spread out on banana leaves for the Christmas dinner. All preparation is done by hand as they break up the chicken, stir the sauce, dish up the food, etc. Those hands have been everywhere & not necessarily washed! Then again, they dish things up on a plate for you and because of a shortage of plates, they take your finished plate, scrape off the remainder and dish up the next person's food without any effective washing. Will we live through this?
|More Cassava in palm frond baskets whipped up for the occasion|
Olivia and Tuli teach us how to make "Roti", the wonderful flat bread that goes with most meals. The pan was hot but Olivia just used her fingers to turn the bread as Tuli rolled it out.
We found some new citrus in the market one day. Many of the fruits look the same so we asked the seller, "What's the difference between these and those
other ones?" "Oh, these are seedless," he replied. Right -- anything to sell you, but they do taste yummy and we get much of our Vitamin C from these little tart treats.
The Nairoqo family were sustained by their broom making and selling during a jobless time. Their 13 year old son climbed the extremely tall coconut trees to harvest the fronds while the rest of the family worked on the brooms. Saimone had best luck by selling door to door. Who could resist a smile like his?
A sweet grandma with handmade fan also from palm leaves.
Now to a few things most tourists don't get to experience in Fiji . . .
Above and below -- two Fijian peculiarities, which we don't think American technology has caught up with: You buy a scrub sponge for dishwashing and instead of the sponge enlarging with water exposure, these begin shrinking until the sponge entirely disappears and you're left with just the mesh (takes a lot less space in the "rubbish bin"); below is an even greater feat -- first finding one to buy and then finding it is only good for 2 uses. As you begin to swing these, they proceed to break apart in the air (left), and when you hit the wall the rest of the swatter shatters. Just amazing.
Below - a "repair" of termite infested wood in our bathroom door moulding (this is the finished job, mind you). They have a saying here that means something like: "well, that's good enough I think", which characterizes all lousy workmanship. This week, the bottom of that board fell out as the termites had finished munching and there was not enough remaining structure to hold it together.
|Termites enjoying our former dining room table. What artistic circles of "sawdust" they left behind!|
|Roads are treacherous in Fiji and hub caps have no hope of staying on by themselves|
|The local mechanic's "garage"|
|Gotta love that TV antenna . . .|
|. . . don't have to love the outhouse|
| Note the "warning" sign at the temple patron housing bathroom where|
many islanders from different languages stay when coming to the temple.
Do you get the Pigeon English "Woning" from the island of Vanuatu?
|After the flood, Saimone Nairoqo observed that the people spend time every day searching for|
firewood and here Heavenly Father brought it right to their village!
|On the search for firewood|
|Tui, Ifi, and Iva|
First birth-days for little boys are cele-brated with their first haircut and a party, but most others aren't until you reach 21 when you get the "key" to the world and official adulthood. Below, Elder Patenaude from Washington DC is being fetted by friends at the little branch in Rakiraki (about an hour and a half north of Ba).
|No worries when you have a lot of coconuts for sale|
|Inmates from the local prison repair a flood damaged wall. We have been so pleased to|
observe useful ways they contribute. They loved the attention when we asked
if we could take their photo.
We started with "bula" and we end with "moce" (pronounced mo-they, meaning good bye) and with some traditional Fijian fire dancing.