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Published: November 13th 2012
Suva, Fiji has a piece of my heart.
Bula from Fiji. This is an amazing chunk of earth. The natives are very proud and loving people that instantly grabbed my heart. Today we were transported in the best island busses I have seen in a long while to the village of Navua, where we were all treated like family. We were escorted into the gathering house to witness a Kava Ceremony, also know as the yagona. The men and women were segregated from each other. They explained that is because they are a male dominated society. And made no apology for it even though some women were not to pleased with their claim. After the ceremony they provided us with entertainment that included them dancing and chanting. I find the further south we travel the native dances get more intense. After their demonstration we were invited to dance with them. They are a very "touchy" people. I had native men grabbing me around the waist and holding me close, which I did not expect, but enjoyed. Oh yeah! The natives also don't mind talking about their past including that they are know as the island of cannables. They told a story about one of the first missionaries that came to the island. The tribal chief like the missionary's hair comb and took it and placed it in is hair as a decoration. The missionary went to retrieve it. The one thing you NEVER do to a Fijian is touch their head. It is sacred to them. So they killed the missionary, cooked him and ate him. They even laugh in spite of themselves that they tried to eat his shoes. Those shoes from the actual missionary are proudly displayed at the national museum. Yikes. Now a word about the missionaries. I understand that they "are on a mission to spread the word of God". God placed the Fijian people on this planet too. And God does not make mistakes. They live far away from 99.9% of the population on the earth and believe in their own tribal faith. But to see a beautiful, gleaming LDS temple with an asphalt parking lot, iron gates and wealth behind it upset me. There is no need for something so ornate to be amongst such poverty. The temple I saw looked nicer than the ones in my town. The temple was literally next to what we would call a "Shanty Town", the Fijians call it a sub-division. It is almost like if you convert, you become privileged to go the "resort". The God I believe in is not this shallow. This was unsettling to me. After our kava ceremony we were free to wander the village and talk to the inhabitants. This was fantastic. I asked permission to visit the children's school. I was told that now I had participated in the kava ceremony I was family and free to do whatever I wished in the village. And to make it my home. A young man escorted me over to meet the children who where very enthusiastic with questions, hugs and warm loving smiles and amazing laughs that filled my heart, I did not want to leave. The children were very sad for me, because in my home far far away from their island, trees do not grow naturally. That we have to plant them and then water them everyday for them to live and grow. They have no concept of what a desert is. I asked my escort if he was married. He said no because he was too young. Men marry about the age of 25 when they go out of the village to find a wife. The bride then leaves her family and lives in the mans village. This is to protect from inbreeding. Of course everything is done with permission of the tribal chief. It was then the villagers turn ask questions. They asked where else we were traveling and one of the astrometry experts was very excited to talk about the eclipse. The villagers did not know what that was. So they tried to explain. What made me giggle was when the native asked, "who does this?" Who puts the planets in front of each other? I just smiled and said, this is how God makes the solar system work. Sometimes the moon just has to pass in front of the sun. They said that was okay with them. After our time in the village we boarded long boats and cruised the river to the most pristine water fall one could imagine. It was right out of a movie set. So glorious. We had to hike about a third of a mile to get to it, but WOW. We all wished we had more time there. But our short visit was over. I must come back to Fiji. My heart is here. Beauty reins here. These are God's untouched children. Photos to follow once we can upload. Tanaka!
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