Monday, August 22, 2011

Arrival in Ono

Hello All.

We took the long way around the entire island of Viti Levu, up the west side, across the top, down the eastern side and the down to Ono. This was about 170 miles instead of the 115 mile straight shot south east from Lautoka directly into the wind. The first two days were pleasant and in protected waters. Two nights ago we entered into open ocean and had a few ill people that didn't think they needed seasick meds because it had been so enjoyable up to then. But Brian took care of the boat and the people and I took care of Eloise. We happily pulled into the southwest corner of Ono island just at sunrise yesterday morning. Tom, the pastor, that invited Marine Reach to come lead the Bible course, had been watching since before dawn. Before we could anchor he came out in a longboat (looks like the Mexican pangas)to greet us and start unloading the goods for the school.

We palangis (white folk) had to stay on the boat until it was time for the sevu sevu ceremony in the afternoon. That allowed time for Brian to take a much needed nap after staying up all night. The sevu sevu ceremony consists of formally offering a gift to the chief or village elders after which they formally welcome the visitors and offer access to their village and friendship. Tom and his older brother were our representatives and conducted the ceremony in Fijiian so I have no idea what was said except for a lot of "Vinaka" which means thank you. We attended two of these ceremonies right in a row because there are two villages right next to each other. Marine Reach's gift was a tank of diesel fuel and a tank of premix gas/oil mixture used for outboards.

A 12 year old girl happily carried Eloise around and played with her during our attendance to these ceremonies. It was an odd feeling for me to know she was being cared for but to have no idea where she was for short periods of time. Eloise is a big hit on the islands. They like her blonde hair!

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