Throughout this entire trip, we have met some incredible people – people that we will be lifelong friends with and stay in contact with forever, and people that have taught us so much about different cultures and ourselves. But in Fiji, we became family with an entire village.

Back home, you can knock on your neighbor’s door and ask for sugar. Most likely, they would give it to you, and you’d be on your way. In Nakuku, if you were to ask your neighbor for sugar, they would invite you inside and help prepare your entire meal. Others around the house would smell the food, come over, help cook the meal, and sit down to eat with you. Nakuku is a village built on a strong foundation of love and giving.

Jay Bee was my brother for my stay in Nakuku. I loved to ask him silly questions as well as deep questions, because he’d always respond back with a poetic and thoughtful answer. He spoke softly, and I loved his response when I asked him what he loved about Fiji, and more specifically, Nakuku. He said that it was the people, love, and nature that made Fiji, Fiji. Everyone he knew would be willing to do anything at anytime for him, simply because they loved one another. They loved giving to each other selflessly, without a thought to the rewards of such giving. The village worked as a whole, including both the people and the environment. The villagers would eat the food that they grew right in their backyards and on their farms – talk about farm to table! They would eat the freshest food and give back to their land by planting more and taking care of nature.

The people of Nakuku as a whole showed us their way of life by endlessly giving to us. Words can not describe the happiness I experienced while in the village. Even when I got sick in the beginning of the trip and my body felt miserable, I couldn’t help but smile. Everyone around me knew almost too much about my vomiting patterns, only because they all asked how I was doing and what they could possibly do to help. Vivi, whom I became very close with, pulled me out of bed, walked me to her house, and made me tea. All she wanted was for me to be close by so that she could look after me, which made me feel at home halfway across the world. We tried our best to give back as much as we could in return. Their love will forever touch my heart, and the least I can do to give back is to spread that love that they gave to us with everyone else that comes across my path. 

Goodbyes are never easy, but saying goodbye to those wonderful people that we became family with in such little time was truly heartbreaking. There were many tears, hugs, and kisses to be shared as we walked away from the farewell ceremony and packed into the truck we arrived in. 

“No matter how far the distance between us, I will always be there before the next blink of those beautiful eyes, just to make you feel the warmth of reality which is hidden beneath the beauty of my dreams…” – Jay Bee