Sam’s Fiji Blog
After a journey that took over a day and with many time zones crossed, there are many differences between Essex and Fiji. The weather is a lot hotter, the Caqalai beach doesn’t contain the discarded sandwich wrappers that are found on its Southend equivalent, and the water goes down the plug in a different direction. However it is much more than these three things that makes Fiji a remarkable place. The relaxed culture and easy going attitude to life is clearly noticeable from when you land at Nadi airport. The hustle and bustle that is found on British streets has not managed to find its way onto its Fijian counterparts.
The locals waved and shouted “Bula” at our bus as we took the four hour journey from Nadi to the capital Suva. The journey took us along the coast of the mainland where we were witness to views only found in travel broachers.
After this journey we boarded a boat to the paradise island of Caqalai where we were to spend time just relaxing and getting used to the Fijian way of life. Many hours were spent on the beach, in the clear sea and on the volleyball court. The volleyball court was where ‘Team Win’ who consisted of Jamie, Becka, Nicole, and me lived up to our name and won the round robin tournament. However we weren’t so consistent in the quiz team, maybe the name change to “2 Girls, 1 Cup…..of knowledge” was the reason why.
On Saturday we boarded the boats to our new home of Naicabecabe. I found myself living with long time partner and heartthrob Charlie Miles. Waiting for us was our new mum, dad and brother. Fortunately, the pre-Naicabecabe nerves were settled with a mug of hot Fijian lemon tea that contained a generous 3 tablespoons of sugar.
After a few days rest, the build team got straight to work and got used to the tools, apart from Ryan who seemed to get lost during work hours. Even without his help, George, Charlie, Matt and Reiss dug trenches and holes were made by Jethro and Jamie. With the help of the man mountain that is Jack, a platform was built and the water container was put in place. Over the last week and a half the build team may have had a few changes in its personal but the work rate hasn’t decreased. The new team has started to paint and plaster the church and pipes have been put in place.
Even though I haven’t been to either the school or kindi I have heard that there has been many stand out moments, Amys address to the whole school whilst dressed as a pirate seems to stick out in my memory, if only it had been videotaped for the world to enjoy.
Our trip to Fiji isn’t all hard work. In the evenings we have found time to do ‘hop-hop’, coach the local children, play rugby and go spear fishing (the later has had various amounts of success). The locals have showed us the art of drinking grog and one person in particular, Jamie, has made it his duty to drink the village dry. In his pursuit of this challenge he has found himself being invited to specialist sessions where he says that “the stuff is stronger”. His grog drinking ability has spread to other villages and people have walked to Naicabecabe just to have the pleasure of drinking with him.
Furthermore, I would like to tell people that when they next want to wear something that is comfortable and surprisingly forgiving, a sulu is where it’s at. Although they may be regarded as dresses in England, in Fiji, it is acceptable for men to wear them and the next time I go Missoula I will most definitely be wearing one.