My Homestay at Moturiki District School
On Friday 10th July, GVI volunteers from Caqalai Island, Fiji participated in a home stay on a neighbouring island at Moturiki District School (MDS). The home stay also included a kava fundraiser to help finance the students’ boat trip so that they could compete against other schools in netball and rugby.
When we arrived in Moturiki after a boat trip of singing, we all settled into our rooms at the school’s teacher’s compound. The house I stayed in belonged to the class five teacher, his wife, and their two inquisitive young infants.
Before dinner we heard the chatter of little voices outside the house. The village children were dying to get into the only house in the village with a TV.
We were treated to the breathtaking ease and grace with which Fijian’s belt out their melodies with perfect pitch and effortless island rhythm. When the children sat down on the floor with not a cushion or sofa in sight, to see their eyes light up as the opening credits of the film roll by was priceless. This moment in time made me realise how much we take things like TV for granted in our everyday lives.
Dinner consisted of a yummy fish curry, rice, bread, and tea. Dinner was followed by Kava, Kava, and more Kava! Kava is a traditional ritual here in Fiji whereby Kava (a plant from the pepper plant family with mild sedative effects) is shared from a Tanoa and drunk amongst the community almost nightly. We played Kava games in aid of raising money; they were a heap of fun! They mainly consisted of guitar playing, embarrassing singing, and idiotic dancing. We raced against the clock to ensure we had drunk enough Kava to lay claim to the winner’s pie. Success. Round one won.
Kava festivities raged on through the night and our GVI dancing feet were on fire – we were never not dancing with the locals, slow dance, hip hop, traditional pacific, any form of dance, you name it and we did it. Some of us even stayed up until 2am drinking Kava!
It was really lovely to always feel so welcomed by the Fijians. They treat you like family from day one and it is truly heart-warming.
We all slept soundly that night with Kava as our lullaby. We were woken too soon however when un-invitingly rooster crows disturbed our deep sleeps. Yet we woke to a beautiful day filled with the laughter of village kids chasing each other around and the smell of wood fire smoke.
Soon enough it was time for breakfast and most of the village sat down on the mat to share in it. Sitting there with everyone, with beautiful homemade tea and jam and coconut drenched everything, I looked up and realised that Fijians were so wealthy, with a strong sense of community and close nit family bonds. I have so much respect, materially they have so little and yet they are so happy. Fijians are constantly laughing, smiling, and engaging in the most innocent forms of fun. Vinaka.
By Meg Cloake
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