Friday, October 16, 2009


Yesterday, we visited Ben and Kaba at their village, Naviyonga. They had asked us to come to "tell stories and get to know each other". When we arrived, Ben was cutting a piece of wood to add to the newly built cooking shed outside their house. Kaba and her two sisters were sitting on the pandanu mat inside the house, kneading dough and placing it in washed out tuna cans. Kaba shooed us outside and Ben placed a plastic tarp on the ground under a mango tree for us to sit on together. Kaba came back out with changed clothes, apologizing profusely. Soon a little girl came out carrying a tray with glasses and a pitcher of Tang (or some equivalent). We spent most of the next 4 hours on that tarp sitting and talking. Ana, Kaba's sister brought us the homemade buns that had been baked in the tuna tins with fried eggs tucked inside. Those buns were about the best homemade bread I've ever had. That was our lunch. We talked about the children in the village, looked over the photocopies from 'Where there is no Doctor' I'd brought them. They devoured the information. pointing out things to each other in Fijian. The 2$ scabies medicine I'd brought for their nieces that live in their house was much appreciated. I showed them in the copies where it talked about the treatment. I had also copied a couple pages from the book that talked about malnutrition in kids and beneficial LOCAL foods to combat it. They were surprised that cassava leaves were high in protein. Kaba said she'd heard of people eating the leaves but hadn't eaten them herself. Cassava root is the mainstay of their diet. It's starchy and filling and easy to plant but the village kids need protein. Hurray for a local plant that provides free nutrition.

After our visit to their "farm" it was back to the tarp to have lemon tea made from the leaves from a bush 10 meters away. While we drank the water from the green coconut Ben cut for us, Ana brought a plate of fried cassava out for us and we pulled out the graham crackers we'd brought to share. We told them stories of life at sea. When it was time to go, Ben walked us through the village, over a narrow cement bridge NOT built by the Army Corp of Engineers into the next village where we waited for a taxi to take us back to Lautoka.

The hardest part of the whole day was sitting around visiting in the middle of the day. It's just not part of my culture to "visit" until evening. Even so, we felt humbled by their generosity. We carried a large plastic bag of cassava and some green beans they'd picked from their garden for us, as well as 4 more of the delicious buns we'd eaten at lunch.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments: