Trip to the Village
This weekend (Friday) our little band headed out to a Fijian village. We stayed with the village for two nights, sleeping on the floor of the church. Our time began with a fundraiser for the village church, where we were the guests of the chief. We gave a group donation to the fundraiser, then ate lunch with the different tribes living in the village.
After lunch, a few of us went with Pastor Dan, who is pretty much the coolest/most humble guy ever to the reef. He walked out onto the reef with us at low time, then out of nowhere jumped right off the reef into the ocean… we didn’t even noticed the reef dropped off the way it did. We played in the water for an hour or so, playing tag and tasting the vegetation of the reef. Later we walked back and had dinner in the village again, spending time with the locals.
On Saturday morning we split up in groups of two and three and had breakfast in a villager’s home. We had “roti” which is kind of like a chipati or tortilla smothered in coconut milk. We also had tea made from lemon grass or something… Ah-mazing! After breakfast a group of us took off on boats to Tavarua, an island right off the shore. We went and visited Cloudbreak, which had 40 foot waves the week before. As we pulled up, we saw the tail of a shortboard floating toward the island. I was hoping to get a chance to surf it, but wasn’t allowed due to an agreement between the villagers and the island resort. It was the most beautiful wave I’ve ever seen! Instead I surfed the island of Namotu, which had overhead sets coming in, but the wind was onshore and kept blowing me inside the break where I got caught over and over again. Hopefully I get a shot to surf Cloudbreak again… we’ll see.
After I finished up surfing, we went back to the village for lunch. Some people went hiking, but I took a nap. Gotta love being on island time! Following my nap we had dinner then went to a gospel crusade at a church a 15 minute bus ride away. While they have chairs in Fiji, most of the locals are used to sitting cross-legged on the floor for hours at a time. All the non-Fijian interns had trouble sitting through the several hour crusade due to all the extra wear and tear on our uncalloused butts. Much like African preaching, it included a good bit of shouting, which could be heard from the village we were staying at a few miles away. It was an awesome raging party though. It included a lot of music and dancing, including a part where we all got up and danced around and formed a conga line of sorts. The night sky out there is so beautiful. The southern cross was shining brightly, and we could see the milky way galaxy including a number of fiery shooting stars burning their way across the night sky. Wow!
On Sunday we got up early and built an earth oven. We put all kinds of foods like kasava root, leaves soaked in the milk of coconuts, and chicken wrapped in foil on rocks heated over a fire, then covered it with giant leaves to cook for the next few hours. After breakfast we had church. Again, church lasted for hours and included a lot of sitting on the floor. Despite the pain on our bottoms, the service was wonderful. I love the approach the pastors take to the service: Sunday is God’s day. We don’t plan anything else that day. Whatever God wants to do in church we’ve made the time for. Whether it’s 1, 2, 3 hours, we’ll stay until it’s finished. The only agenda was God. People in the US would leave. Our stay at the village concluded with our earth-cooked lunch, speaking with the villagers and playing with the children. Afterward we packed up and headed back on a bus to the training center, almost like leaving our new home. I’ll be back to see them I think, but more adventures before then.