On Wednesday, December 31, 2014 we flew to the island of Kadavu which is one of the southern islands of the eastern district of Fiji. Elder and Sister Collins, another senior missionary couple were sent there by the mission president to provide support for the young elders who are serving on the island as well as to assist the branch president with working with inactive members as well as upgrading the chapel and living conditions of the young elders. It was our intentions to visit the Collins and to help where we could in there efforts to support the branch.
This was the twin engine airplane that we took for a 35 minute flied from Suva to Vunisea, Kadavu.
This is a picture of what we were looking at when we were looking straight ahead from our seats. The next picture is what we saw when we turned around and look at the inside of the airplane.
The next two pictures are views we saw as we were flying over the ocean to Kadavu.
As we landed in Vunisea the next several pictures are of the airport the surrounding area of the largest city on Kadavu.
As you can see the parking lot at the airport was pickup trucks and all 4 wheel drive trucks. The people in the back of the pickup is how they are transported on the island. The next pictures are what we saw as we left the airport on our way to town.
The main part of Vunisea is right along the ocean…people walking on the road is their mode of transportation. People walk and walk and walk…many of them for hours at a time to get to their destination. These people are walking to the market which houses four or five different shops. These pictures are of the shops at the market. There is a clothing store, very small grocery store, vegetable stands, a small snack shop, and most of all a place that people just go to talk with one another.
On New Year’s Eve we went to a small village up in the mountains to visit a member family who had a few small children and we brought some fireworks for them to shoot off. When we arrived the whole village showed up to see the fireworks. It lasted for about 30 minutes and the children asked their parents when the plalani’s (sp) (white people) could come back so they could see more fireworks. It was really a special time for the village and for us.
On New Years Day we toured the island and saw some beautiful scenery…here is some of what we saw. Well before we show you the pictures of this beautiful island, we needed to get some gas for the car. Now with the gas prices becoming cheaper in the US and with all the self-serve gas stations, we had to look for gas here and this is what we found and what we had to do.
As you can see the gas station is very out in the open and not what we are usually looking for when we need gas. This is a typical gas station, there are only two that we came across where we were staying. We had the only car on the island, the rest are pickup trucks, mostly 4X4’s.
The gas station attendant had to measure the amount we needed and then pump the gas into a metal container. After the gas was measured he had to take the container to the car and now you can see what happened…
After we filled up with close to 50 liters of gasoline, at $2.37 per liter (approx, $10.66 per US gal.), we were on our way to see the sites.
As we drove around the island, these are the types of roads that we were on, all dirt and rock. Very few trucks and many people just walking along the side of the road.
As we drove we stopped from time to time to chat with the locals who were walking along the road, we stopped in some of the villages and received permission to visit. We had a wonderful time getting to know the real people of Fiji and to feel there compassion for the simple life. Things do not move to fast in Fiji and that is OK. Everything works on Fiji time and that means, whenever. It is definitely something that we have had to get use to. Nobody, we mean nobody is on time. An example was when we were told that a meeting was going to begin at 7pm, we were 15 minutes late and were the first one’s at the meeting. The meeting didn’t start until 8:30pm, thats right, 8:30pm. No one seemed to be concerned at all. That’s the way it is in Fiji…
Just outside of many villages they have a cemetary for the people in the village who pass on. Because the villages are mostly a closed group, meaning that they are connected through family ties, either direct descendants or by marriage. It is customary in the Fijian culture that the woman always go to the husband’s village when they get married. Also, in many villages the dead are buried not in a cemetery but in a grave right next to the house where the family lives. It is also very customary to decorate the graves, especially during the Christmas Holiday Season as you will notice in the next several pictures.
As we had been driving for a few hours on bumpy roads with no gas stations for restrooms for our wives to use, we were encouraged to head back to Vunisea where we were staying. What a fun, relaxing and enjoyable time seeing and learning about the true life, feelings and spirit of these people. This was very educational, relaxing and spiritual at the same time.
On the way back these are some of what we saw…
We thought we could make it back but we had to take a break…
The people we met along the road were really, really friendly and they all like to have their pictures taken. As we met them, most of them were going home after a day in the jungle picking fruits, vegetables, and going in the streams to catch fish, crabs and clams for there evening meals.
After making a few stops to catch glimpses of beautiful scenery, we arrived back in Vunisea, tried, hungry, but very blessed that we had an opportunity to experience such a wonderful country, culture and people of Fiji.
Since we took so many wonderful pictures we will have to continue this travelogue with Part 2. We will put Part 2 together and put it on the blog shortly. We hope you enjoy Part 1.