When we entered the village we were given another welcome ceremony
with yagona (AKA kava or grog) and then we got settled in. We have been
living with our host family for a week now. Alipate (host dad) works in the
provencial office and Lice (host mom, pronounced Lee-they) stays home. Jone
(nickname Turani), the village mayor, also lives with us – which has been very
beneficial for our PC homework! They have a very nice and colorful home with electricity
and running water. They even have a TV and a microwave (which I have yet to see
them use). Lice is teaching us how to wash our clothes and cook. She is a very,
very good cook and the food is wonderful – lots of fish, curry, taro, and fruit
that we just pick off the trees! The village keeps saying I have good curves
but not enough meat and they want me to be a big strong woman by the time I
leave. Matt and I run every morning so hopefully that won't happen!! ;o)
The village has 3 clans (families) with 1 chief and 1 mayor. There
are 560 people that live in 120 homes. They have 3 churches and a very nice
community hall (where we do our lessons). There are 5 students and 1 teacher
from Peace Corps in our village and from what we have seen – it is the nicest
koro! There is always children playing outside and there has been a revival
going on so we have fallen asleep to students singing each night. Our host
family is pentecostal (most Fijians are Methodist) so we went to church with
them and it was much more lively – they have a synthesizer and a praise team!
The village mayor offered to cut Matt's hair and gave him a 'do
just like his. ;o) Of course then Matt returned the favor. He said it is much
cooler and our teacher said it is easier for her to spot him now. Ha. The best
was when the kids asked if he was Jesus' light of the world! Haha. Yes, we are
We have learned so much already – how to make coconut bilo (cups),
how to weave mats, and even how to make a lovo (earth oven that you cook food
over). The lovo is basically the Fijian barbeque! You heat rocks with fire and
then bury the rocks with fish/chicken/veggies wrapped with gigantic leaves.
Then you cover it with more leaves and dirt. It basically smokes the food for
1-2 hours and then you eat! It adds amazing flavor and is worth the
My favorite food is by far the fruit/veggies. There is a great
market in town, but just in our backyard we have banana, papaya, avacado,
mango, taro, cassava, greens, peppers, potato, tomato and coconut. Matt has
learned how to cut open the coconut so we can drink the milk – which is very,
very good and filling. However, each one has about 1000 calories!
My host mom is determined to make me the best dressed, so she
continues to have sulu jamba's made for me. The first one was a bit tight up
top and they all got a good laugh about it. They are very colorful and
surprisingly cool. We have to sit on the floor everywhere we go, so the wrap
around skirt is long and ensures we don't flash anyone!
I love the children in our village and they have taken it on as
their project to teach me Fijian. They speak slowly, help me with words and
numbers, teach me the motions to their songs, and bring me bubble gum. ;o) They
love the camera and laugh at all my mispronunciations.
We love you very much! Sota tale!
Maciu and Keleni
Gloria is one of our trainees, she is from New Hampshire.
Matt on the way to our host village – Naila.
Turani is teaching Matt how to shave a coconut.
Na teaching me how to cook!
Matt is doing our laundry!
We are about to eat dinner – taro, cucumber, peppers, and
tuna & greens in coconut milk.
Matt had to draw a community map of our village.
We got a tour by Turani.
They have lots of pigs!
Naila's main crops are cassava and taro.
Dee is our language and culture instructor.
Here you can see an out house and a laundry area.
Our koro (village).
As usual, Matt is captivated by the construction… good
thing, Peace Corps mentioned he might be building bure's (homes).
This is our host home for the next 8 weeks.
The Methodist church.
Weleti (papaya) tree.
Our class room in the community hall.
Turani starting to cut Matt's hair – I actually had to get
out the scissors to get to where he could use the razor.
Now we are talking!
Returning the favor…
All of Matt's locks!
Dee taught me how to weave mats (ibe).
Me at the market.
We bought Turani a bicycle tire for his 43rd birthday!
My tight jamba.
Me and Na (Fijian for mom).
They are making coconut cups (bilo).
Gloria and her host brothers.
Another grog session.
I sat next to the chief's wife – she ate everything off my
plate once I got full. ;o)
Our host family's farm.
Na and Ta.
Turani teaching Matt how to prepare coconut for drinking.
Matt couldn't climb like Turani….
This is the beach where we had our water safety instruction
and test. They dropped us out in the ocean and we had to make it back to shore!
Starting the fire to heat the rocks for the lovo.
I smashed garlic and ginger for 45 minutes straight…. I
think I will be sore tomorrow!
Matt and Ta are squeezing the juice from the coconut flesh.
Turani is wrapping the fish in leaves for the lovo.
Putting the food on the lovo…
Covering the lovo with leaves to keep the smoke and heat in.
Taro – we have this at every meal.
Matt in his sulu – ready for church!
1.5 hours later – the food is ready!
Removing the food from the lovo.
All of it!
My buddies! They taught me how to count today!