Hey all!

So still without a computer but decided it was about time to post some updates from the internet cafe.. So I am sitting here, with my notebook by my side, eating some indian snacks even though there is a sign right above my head that says absolutely NO EATING… and settling in to update you as to whats been going on these past few weeks that I have been MIA without a computer at home.

I also must add, my backside is entirely soaked. While waiting for the carrier up at the village I saw a bilibili (bamboo raft) that had broken apart in the strong waves and was crashing against our rock seawall as the waves catapulted white foam and impressive splashes of seawater over the wall and across the road. Well after a particularly impressive wave, 2 pieces of bamboo were hoisted halfway on shore so I grabbed the sodden pieces of algae covered bamboo and brought them across the road to dry out, hoping they will still be there later and i can make a raft of them again. Well after one particularly daring dart into the boundary between sea and land, I misjudged and turned around just in time to have my backside splashed with freezing sea water and see the carrier coming in the distance leaving me no time to change. 

First of all, without the distraction of a computer and hard drive full of movies and tv shows, I have really rekindled my love for sitting down with a good book and a nice hot cup of tea (thank god its winter here or I would be sweating while doing this). Since June 8th when my computer died, I have read 8 books. All of them wonderful! My favorite so far has been “The Ugly American” about american diplomats and foreign ambassadors in the 1950-60’s in Southeast Asia during the battle between Communism and Democracy was in full swing. It looks at the way the Russians and the Americans interact (or in America’s case-didnt) with the locals and is told in a fictional (although based on real events and people loosely) way that keeps you turning the pages. Highly recommended!

I have also become obsessed with listening to the BBC on my Peace Corps issued radio all day, every day. Sometimes I unfortunately turn it on during the arts hour or jazz music hour… but I have been getting pretty good quality world news and its great!

One woman in the village recently bought an oven, but only knows how to bake over fire. So she brought the oven over to my house…. big mistake! I have been BAKING UP A STORM! 2 years without one of my favorite de-stressing activities and I have been unleashed! In the past 4 days I have made brownies, french bread, pretzels, coconut cake (which is to die for), coconut biscuits, and oatmeal cookies… Its been an almost daily obsession to cook something in that oven! I just give it all away for the most part. I give my neighbors some, my turaga ni koro, one of the shop keepers, a family on the other side of the village, and various kids that come by. At the end of the day I have just one or two cookies left and that is perfect. 

Its unfortunate I can’t update you with tons of pictures, but that will happen soon enough!

I had finally grown tired of this break in the footpath near my home from a truck deciding it wanted to drive into teh village… uh… yeah. anyway it broke the footpath in to tiny pieces leaving a large hole in its path. Now I constantly walk that direction and have had more than my fair share of stubbed toes and sharp cement shards sticking into my feet as I walk barefoot to and from grog sessions  and meetings in the village. So one day I had enough. I went down to the ocean and low tide and started gathering rocks to line the side of the improved footpath i would build. I carried them back to my house and lined them up and then some kids came and helped me get sand and fill in the atrocious pit.  now its a slightly more improved footpath that at least doesnt rip up your feet at every turn!

I found 2 of the most incredible things in Levuka town recently. 1. Tomatoes. Good lord the tomatoes are back! I feel like I am especially excited about fruits and vegetables because we see seasonality so much more that people even in Suva, who seem to be able to get anything they want at any point in the year if they are willing to pay the price. And 2. TOFU. Granted, its expired, its 2 small rectangles, and its $6.80… but seeing that was the most beautiful thing! 

I naturally have still been attending a grand number of grog sessions, typically at the same peoples houses out of habit and friendship at this point. One night at a particularly lively session, we were talking and all of a sudden my friend looks up at goes, “Ru, have you eaten the babies?” To which I immediately respond, “Yes, of course” well this is how the coversationgoes

“Do you like them?”

“Well they have a bit of a funny taste to them, but you get used to it”

“Oh Ru, you have to try them when I make the babies”

“How do you make babies?”

“Well first, I put them in a plastic bag, and then I mash them up into just small pieces”

“Oh really… I have only ever eaten the babies whole”

“Oh no Ru, you must try them this way. So then you add the flour, baking powder, salt, onion, chilies, and curry powder. You have to put the curry powder!”

“Okay okay, babies in pieces and must remember the curry powder”

“Okay ru, then you fry the babies!”

Now I have to admit to you… we werent actually talking about babies… we were talking about fish eggs. The Fijian word for Fish eggs is “luvena” which is also the word used when you are talking about someones baby… so when she asked me in english if I had tried the babies… I knew after about 20 seconds she was talking about the fish eggs… which are interesting and would probably be really good fried with curry powder! Anyway, just a little insight into Fijian humor and translation issues!

I think that’s all I have time for today. Ill update again in the next week or so!



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3 responses to “Hey all!

  1. Shadae

    Yum, yum! Those baked goodies sound delish!

  2. What’s the general reaction in Natokalau, to Levuka being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site?

    • No one really has a reaction. People in town are excited but in reality, nothing in the village will change. They have been actively working to gain UNESCO status as a World Heritage Site since like 1998… its been 15 years coming and its well deserved, but the status of the town doesn’t have much of an impact on the village. They are incredibly proud of where they are from, no matter if its recognized internationally for its significance :)

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