Bula venaka everyone! After our orientation at Mango Bay Resort, the Walkabout group ventured to Nadala Village, Fiji. Nadala is way up in the Fijian mountains near Mt. Victoria, the highest mountain in Fiji. Our group was split up into pairs to stay with a homestay family. When we first arrived we had “Sevu Sevu” – a ceremony where we were welcomed by the chief and elders of the village. Dinner was served to our group on the floor which we’ve become accustomed to. Everyone drank at least one cup of kava. Kava is powder pounded out of the yaquona plant root. A couple of cups will numb your mouth and toungue, but it is respectful to have at least one cup. All of our homestay families are beyond hospitable and happy to have us. They have welcomed us with open arms and a roof over our heads. We call our mother, Nay Nay, and our father, Ta Ta. Some also have a few brothers and sisters. We began w0rk on the community project to build a cement pathway around the community hall. We work alongside some of the Fijian men who are hard workers. It rains a lot up here so by the end of the day we are wet and covered in mud. We miss the sun 🙁 Our group also had the chance to visit the nearby primary school. We played games with all of the children and they were so excited to meet us! The school is a lot more modernized than I thought. School is so important for the kids because it teaches them to work hard and prepare for the future. The days have been pretty routine- breakfast at 8 am, work through the afternoon, lunch, tea-time, visiting with homestays and other villagers, and dinner. Yesterday we hiked to Nadarivatu, the highest village in Fiji. Fog covers the hills. It feels like you are walking in the clouds. The villagers showed us the”Stone Bowl”, a rock with indentations of where their forefathers knelt to drink water. We also hiked to a nearby waterfall where some of us swam with the Fijians. The young Fijian men love swimming and jumping off bridges into the rivers. They are wild and entertaining and love getting to know us. Their lives are simple and they haven’t been out of Fiji, but they are happy. But, they wonder about the outside world and yearn to see what its like. Today we took a 6:30 am bus to Tavua town where they have supermarkets, shops, and an internet cafe where we are blogging from. Okay, time to explore! Sota tale-see you later!!
Catherine & Lauren