Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Day On and a Day Off

It was a tough job but someone had to do it!
 An hour's ride on a speed boat and we arrive on Rabi Island where Gilbertese is  the native language but gratefully they also speak English.  Smiling faces welcome us when we visit this remote and minimally developed island that makes Taveuni seem like a "modern development."
"Main" and only street
The LDS Church has an active but small congregation there and we love to meet with them and help where we can. Their rented meetinghouse may not look like much but their dedication and faithfulness outshine many.
This was a good day for the toilet, which had recently had a coat of latex paint added to cover its age -- and it flushed!  The next time we visited, the tank had fallen off the wall but the bucket was full of flush water.  It's always BYOTP ("bring your own toilet paper"), since paper is a precious commodity.  And just in case you forget it's an LDS Church, there's the handy "no smoking" sign for a friendly reminder.

Ready to learn and share their progress, Annie met with these wonderful women to exchange ideas and share experiences and materials to enrich their teaching with youth and women. Tom met separately with the men to help them better understand finances and church administration.
While we met with leaders, the captain of the boat was out on the reef edge spear fishing.  Won't his family and neighbors be happy with this catch!
Note to self: bring suit and snorkel next time!
We need to be honest, not all days are spent in such challenging missionary service.  Every once in a while we plan a really fun outing and get to join other senior couples for an excursion.  This is one of those days; it followed a pretty intensive weekend of leadership training so we were ready for some diversion.

Our uptight guide ~ obviously, ulcers are not a Fijian malady
Beautiful pristine waterfalls cascade off the mountains into the sea on the eastern side of Taveuni.  Too many to count, and seen only from the sea, we headed out to take in the sights and capture a few to share.

No sharks in sight so we jumped in the warm clear waters
 The water was stunningly beautiful and our mid-day hike to Lavena Falls was worth every step. We always hate looking like tourists, but . . .

It would be easy to get lost in the incredibly lush growth of vines, trees, bushes
and steep mountain sides.  Taveuni is truly the "garden island".
So many unique creations of nature to discover

Between swimming in our clothes and being caught in the rain, "wet" was the word.
Good thing all the water in Fiji is warm so you never really worry about it.
Lavena Falls cradled in a volcanic amphitheatre
Just a short swim up the river and we'll be there.  Looks placid here but as you
approach the falls the current is pretty stiff!

Should any of you visit this pool, please take your diving mask and try to find
Tom's wedding ring.  Somewhere between the current and the falls (and a shrinking
finger?), it sadly it did not make it to our 41st anniversary. . .
. . . but we're still happily married!
Nature provided our lunch of papaya and coconut and our guide prepared it with knife, rock, and smile.  Fijian trout swarmed and snatched any morsel we tossed their way and we trust the local crab got his share.

We're told that this is the filming location of "Return to the Blue Lagoon"
These little ones don't have to "return," they live here
Shall we make reservations for you?
It was a blessed day
"Now the day is over;
Night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky.

Jesus, give the weary
Calm and sweet repose;
With they tend'rest blessing
May our eyelids close."