We are here! It took us 20 hours by plane (via LA and NZ) and 5
hours by bus. Probably the highlight of the journey was when my dress got
caught in the escalator at the Nadi airport and I had to be cut out –
literally. I knew wearing dresses would be an issue, but I didn't think it
would affect my safety!!
When we finally arrived to our training site, Peace Corps did a
nice little welcome ceremony which included many speeches and drinking grog
from the yoqona root. It tastes like dirt spiced with pepper and makes your
tongue numb. All I could think about was drinking after 30 people from the same
coconut shell, but so far no sickness!
We are currently in a small training village called CATD (Center
for Appropriate Training and Development)… thankfully we are not learning
anything inappropriate! We have been in classes all day, every day learning about
language, culture, and Peace Corps policies. The language is fairly simple
compared to French and very fun to speak – I just hope I don't giggle the whole
time! Vinaka vakalevu!
The heat hasn't been too terrible, but apparently it is
"cold" now. However, the humidity is insane!! Our washed clothes
still have yet to dry and my hair is out of control, but I keep telling myself
my greasy face will help prevent wrinkles. The mosquito nets are fun once you
figure out how to hang them. They look like wedding veils and I have dreams of
sleeping in a cloud. Thank goodness I'm not claustrophobic! We do have to boil
and filter our water, which can be quite inconvenient when you are thirsty and
want a COLD drink. So we are so thankful for Marc's water sanitizer pen
thing… everyone is jealous!
Today is Sunday so we went to church this morning and we both
got to buy a shiny black sulus to wear to it (must adhere to dress
code)! 80% of Fijians go to the Methodist church and Sundays are very
sacred. We can't work or exercise and most of the shops are closed (unless they
are run by Indo-Fijians). The elders opened with a welcome to us reading Psalm
133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
The service lasted about 2 hours – filled with hymns, readings,
prayers and then a sermon. I LOVED the hymns (called sere) and recognized
several (Count Your Many Blessings). The Fijians sang very loudly and
enthusiastically! The sermon was about knowing who you are and he read the
story of Jesus naming Peter from John 1. We cannot look at ourselves through
our eyes and see only good, others eyes remember only the bad, but Jesus sees
our potential and our future in Him.
Probably my favorite part so far is how happy everyone is to see
us. People come running out of their bure's grinning ear to ear to wave hello
to us! Probably my least favorite is the skirts…. I even have to wear one
when we go running/exercising and it certainly doesn't help my time! Matt looks
really good in his – he has nice legs. ;o)
I can't believe it is 17 hours time difference between Fiji and
home. For example right now it is Sunday 4pm here and Saturday 11pm there.
(However, I have no idea when I will have internet to email this… so you
might be getting this in August!!) We lost almost an entire day in our journey
over here. Monte's (fellow trainee) birthday was the 20th and he only got
to celebrate it for 7 hours!
We love you very much. Ni sa moce!
The Peace Corps gave us matching sulu's…. apparently we
will be given lots of "matching" outfits! That should be fun.
The view from our training room… kinda hard to pay
Another grog session….
Our bure during the first week of training. We move in with
a family tomorrow!
View from our window.
Matt in a sulu! You can see the laundry line and our bure
The Methodist Church in our village.
Matt is standing in front of the drums they play every
morning at 6am…. I would have taken the drumsticks if I could have found
We have tea every morning and every afternoon (thanks to the
British)! Matt is of course talking to Dave – he is 77 years old and our oldest
Another view of our bure.
Matt's underwear and socks are blocking my view!