One day in the village

Trip Start Oct 02, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Fiji  ,
Sunday, November 19, 2006

I didn't get up too early and took my time making my breakfast. I needed a couple of coffee's before I was ready for the day. Barbara and I packed our day-packs and set off for our walk. about an hour one way to get to a beautiful waterfall. But the trip there was just as beautiful. We were in the middle of a national park in a country which is very scarcely populated anyway. We went fro a swim at the waterfall and I had to climb and jump it a couple of times. I walked down the river a bit further into the jungle and felt absolutely great. Just sitting on a rock there all was good!

I made my way back to find Barbara with a similar relaxed expression sitting on the rocks. As she had to catch her bus we packed up and walked back. At the bus we said our goodbye's. Everybody but me was leaving, leaving me all alone in the village. I sat down in the middle of the village and played with the kids a bit. Pretty soon I was THE attraction and there was a line of about 12 kids waiting to be thrown over my shoulder by me. Then they decided to hang me with flowers. Soon I had bracelets and necklace's everywhere. This in contrast to the flower bushes around the village by then ;-) To preserve some of the flowers I started throwing them around again. It worked. I noticed some of the village men looking at me. I couldn't figure if it was disapproval or surprise. I don't think the men usually spent too much time with the kids, let alone have yourself hung with flowers by them. But the smile of the chief gave me the approval that all was good. Some of the older kids joined in with a rugby and soon we where playing tough-rugby. Slowly the players grew older and soon all the village men where involved in a full size rugby field with large bamboo sticks as the goal posts. Earlier-on in the game I was able to actually play a part in the game, but these men can really play. They do this every day all their life. But running around there on my bare feet I truly did feel part of the village for a while. It's great to leave being a spectator and actually play a part.

I took my shower and was once again invited for dinner. The dynamics where interesting. There must have been about 25 people in the hut that where eating there. But on the floor of the kitchen there was only room for about 8 at a time. So whenever anyone was done, someone else took their spot. For us it is impolite to walk away when others are still eating. For a moment I was doubting if it would be impolite to stay or go. So I just asked if I should give up my spot to another and they nodded I could sit in the other room. There they had the only TV in the village (200 people) and about 30 of em where watching it.

I noticed people where starting to sit down outside again and I joined them. I knew the rituals from the night before and looked forward to it. Again 6 hours of drinking kava and telling stories. At one point all fell silent and one guy insisted I tell a story. Everybody looked at me so I had to. I ended up telling them about Spitsbergen. How there too there are few people, and they live in small communities. But the differences got them excited. Ice, polar bears and the fact you can't leave the village without a gun made curious to hear of more of the places I had been. I talked a lot than night ;-) I also met the chief of a neighboring village. The man made a deep impression on me. He was very wise and humble at the same time. All I could think of was the Dalai Lama as a comparison. So friendly and not judgmental at all. He was telling me about the problems in Fiji, the religious and racial problems yet bared no resentment whatsoever. I'm not quite sure what it was, but he really got to me. I found myself talking to him for most of the rest of the evening.

At the end of the night I said my goodbyes to the people and the American girl who stayed with them for 2 weeks. They all told me to come back soon and I assured them I would once I'm back in Fiji.
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