The Village

Our group split in half and we each went to stay in two different Fijian villages. It was really cool to go and see what real Fijian life is like. Because it takes so much effort to get to these villages visitors form overseas rarely come. The village was very small and modest.
Every time you you pass someone on the road you both say, "Bula." It's hello, but literally means good health. It goes to show how highly health is valued if it would even be their greeting for each other.Nicole playing with the kids :) We always wore our sulus for modesty - ideally you should be covered from your elbows to your knees. Also, nothing on your head should be worn and no sunglasses or backpacks. People always ask me if I had to dress differently in the Middle East, which I really didn't have to, but I definitely did here in Fiji.
Brian playing duck duck goose with them!
They loved my camera and thought pictures were the best thing ever.
The people speak Fijian at home, but are educated in English at school, which I found interesting.
We were able to participate in an ancient Fijian welcome ceremony. It's something Fijians have done when visitors arrive for the past 3,000 years. Basically we gave them a gift, they accepted and then gave us a gift in return. Then a prayer is offered. We gave them kava roots and then they gave us kava, the drink. Brian told us that it's ok to drink it. We were all sitting in a semi circle on the floor and one man filled a coconut either full (high tide) or half full (low tide) with kava and brought it around individually to each person. Before taking the coconut we clapped once, then drank it all, handed back the coconut and then clapped 3 times. And when they clap they don't do it like "tourists", they cup their hands. The Kava had a strange peppery flavor and made my tongue sort of numb. Not a huge fan. But I'm glad we could take part in such a cool Fijian ceremony.
Heading out for a hike. The thing is, they always tell us it's an easy walk and it's always a lie. ha.
People say that Americans are loud and that is very true. I've noticed that on this trip a lot. We talk louder, laugh louder and just seem to hold no restraint while enjoying ourselves.
Pretty.
Me, Leticia, Talia, Lisa and Holly stayed in this house with a family. We brought our sleeping bags and slept on the floor in the main room at night. It was slightly awkward staying with a family we didn't know, but they were really nice and it was very kind of them to open up their home to us. When we arrived they were all gathered around an old-fashion tv watching a video about Jesus. It was sweet to see because that isn't something you see often in America - usually we're glued to a sports game or a reality tv show.
More photos of their home. There was a rooster that would seriously come up to the windows every morning and make a huge racket every few minutes for hours. It was like a terrible alarm clock that we couldn't stop.
The shower is basically a very small room with a shower head connected to a PVC pipe. Because it was night when I showered and there are no lights in there, I had to leave the door a crack open and put a small lantern out in the hallway. The only electric light in the house was a foot and a half long florescent light in the family room. Luckily I had my head lamp and hung that up the bathroom which gave a little more light. There is no hot water option here, it is definitely cold. I didn't last long before I started involuntarily gasping from the cold.
Another pic of the shower.
We drank a ton of lemon leaf tea while in Fiji. It's not really tea, it's simply hot water, brown sugar and a lemon leaf. Wasn't my favorite at first, but it grew on me.
According to my journal, "Dinner was alright tonight. It's just so strange in my mouth." Really, much of it was just so bland. It's hard to know what to grab and put on your plate cause you really can't tell from looking whether you'll like it or not. Pumpkin curry potatoes was a common dish though and I liked it pretty decently. It was just strange to literally have no other option than what was served. I don't think that has every happened to me before in my life. If I don't like what's served I can always grab something later that I like better, but this was not the case. Not a restaurant or store anywhere in sight.
Nobody complains too much, but we did talk about food from home frequently and make recommendations to each other. "Take a scoop of cookie dough and put it in the microwave for 11 seconds. Get the taco soup at chili's, it's the best. Go to Olivegarden.com and make the recipes they have posted." We did it until we couldn't stand it. Some people smuggled in snacks and we were so envious of them and their late night treats. This next pictures is of a breakfast they prepared for us one day and it was good. Breakfasts were always the best, although their sweet treats weren't sweet like we're used to, still definitely different. But the table was beautiful decorated. They put in a lot of effort for us.
The Fijian version of a luau. Cooking the meat in the ground.
Their department of health was in some serious need of renovation. Maybe I can get a job down here to fix it up! ha.
Got to see their school as well.



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