Sunday, July 23, 2006

Still in Naviqiri Village

Blog Location: Naviqiri Village
Current Location: Musket Cove
Current Position: 17°46.2' S 177°11.3' E

After the paw-paw bread disaster we decide to bring the village kids out to the boat. I shuttled people back and forth and we ended up with 30 people on board. Everyone wanted a photo taken and loved checking out the boat. They especially loved our electronic zapping fly swatter that says do not touch right on it. Of course they loved the spark and zap it gave them. One little kid Tui was< up on deck while I was explaining things below. We was talking in Fijian, "Chris I can hear you but I don't know where you are!!" I got a couple of good photos, one of all the kids on the right side of the boat, and then the other of the boat while they were still sitting; we must have been out of the water by a good foot on the other side.

Our second week started out rather mellow and slow; Sunday we played cards, a Fijian game called trump, where we tried desperately to throw the cards down with the same oomph as they did. It was amazing to watch, they would slam the card down with almost a whip cracking sound. They laughed hysterically as we tried, and failed to copy them. KT made some banana bread with chocolate chips which the villagers loved. We "had" to leave the village so the kids would go to church, so we went to visit a bush house where the family raised goats. It was rather funny to arrive and have them running a little generator so that the kids could watch a movie. They were having a great time and we thought they understood everything until KT described exactly what was happening.. oh.. they said. Now I understand why Stephen Segal is the most famous actor in Fiji, simple dialog with lots of actions that they can understand. It was a rather fun visit as he explained that he trained the goats when they were young to return to the pen. He takes them up into the hills and then back again, I guess after a couple of days they just keep returning home at the same time. It was kind of funny to watch them come running down the hill to home, only to be sold to the Indians for food later in life.

We spent some time cleaning the boat and working on the computer, but we would always return to the village in the afternoon to play with the kids. We had Sera and Freddy to the boat for dinner again, I guess they've been to a couple of boats now so they weren't as impressed this time. KT made them pizza which they had never had before, can you imagine a world without pizza? We went on a couple of long walks and every time we saw someone they said, "where are you going?". "Just walking" we would say as they gave us a VERY funny look. If we said we were "going moce" (sleep) they wouldn't have had a second thought because THAT was something they could understand. I finally explained that we don't get to walk very far on our small boat so we enjoy it when we get the chance.. they still thought we were crazy!!

One night after a busy afternoon of playing with the kids and a drink of tea afterwards we headed down to the dinghy to go to the boat. Of course we had a bunch of people follow us to wave goodbye as we headed out into the moonlit night to find Billabong. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a black and white striped thing on the engine .. and it began to move. Yikes, holy cow.. what the.. it was a sea snake, one of the most poisonous snakes. We jumped around trying to get it overboard, flailing violently and forgetting about steering the dinghy. We made a couple of circles, headed right towards the reef, and pretty much made fools of ourselves to anyone who didn't know what was happening on shore. We finally got it overboard and we certainly deserved a good beer after that adventure. The good thing about a sea snake is they can really bite you because their jaws aren't big enough. I guess you can get bit in the skin flap between your fingers and toes so I pretty much fought it with a palmed hands. It was funny in hind sight, it's been rather cold in Fiji and I guess it was warming itself on the engine for a while.

The next day we explained to everyone what had happened and after a big sigh of relief, they laughed at us. We invited Aquila and Boxing Grandma to the boat for a breakfast of coffee cake and tea. It was rather funny to watch grandma run to her house, change her clothes and fix her hair, just for a visit in the boat. Not for us mind you, the boat!! She had never seen one before. After a tour and breakfast she said that we could go back and let her sleep there all day and she would be happy.

We spent the rest of the week learning more card games, "5-3-2" and "last card", and ended up giving them a couple of decks, theirs were like cloth they were so warn out. On Saturday the men all went out to the bush to harvest food for Sunday. KT and I played some more cards and I said that I thought we should learn how to make a basket. They use a basket woven from palm leaves to carry the crops back from the bush. KT spent about 45 minutes making a small one while the ladies all called her smart.. "some Fijian ladies don't know how to weave like you" they said. We also spent some time handing out some of the 200 no bake cookies she made to all the villagers, some of them loved them but some of the older ones thought they were too sweet.

The rugby star Oreise came back with his girl friend and was in a much more relaxed mood. You know you've been in a village too long when you end up in bed with the chief. It started out as a simple walk down to "check the boat" our signal that we are going to the beach to take a pee. Of course a couple of kids followed and I had to tell them to wait as I did my business. While they were waiting they heard a woman screaming from the chiefs house... "Chris Chris come quick" they said. I ran to the house as the kids stayed outside. The Chief's daughter was yelling at me to help her. The chief is bed ridden and had fallen over part way out of bed and she couldn't get him back up. Oh yeah and he was pretty much naked! She was pounding on his back and hysterically crying, all while trying to rewrap his sulu. So I leaped over the bed and grabbed him around the chest I didn't realize before exactly how big and heavy he was. I tried pulling him back but he wouldn't move. He was moaning incoherently and was completely dead weight. Finally I pulled with all my might and he flopped backwards onto the bed. She was still screaming and hitting his chest, so I ran out and grabbed one of the chief's helpers and he started pounding on his back as well. Turns out he was taking a pee into the bed pan and started having a heart attack. yikes!! Well word got out and everyone came over .. "Chris you saved the chief", Yet another story the can tell about those crazy white people from the boat Billabong.

On Sunday we brought in coffee cake for breakfast and some more cookies, they made us Fijian pancakes which are a lot like donuts without the hole. We had more people out to the boat; first Oresee, his uncle/dad, and friends came out. They loved hanging out of the boat and wanted their picture taken with their island in the background. They really wanted to see the video of us swimming with the whales and the sharks. I think we gained some new found respect after they saw that, Then we had the "ladies" out to the boat. They were much more excited and required two trips to get them all on board. They laughed and giggled as we gave them lemonade and started asking us all sorts of questions and wanted to see pictures of our family. Then they asked what we were going to do about a family. I was standing down below and I said "we're just practicing" hoping it would blow over.. I have never heard them laugh sooo hard.

We walked around the village saying goodbye to people that weren't hanging out by the shade building, and handed out more cookies. Everyone asked when we would be back, it was hard to explain that we didn't know. Maybe we would return with our family to see everyone grown up. They had a goodbye grog party for us and people gave us gifts of paw-paw, coconuts, bananas and pineapple for "our trip". We tried to explain that it was just a day sail but we excepted their gifts whole heartedly. We said goodbye to everyone but it was especially hard to say goodbye to Sera, Freddy, and Asinaca who walked us down to the beach that night. We returned to Billabong,
completely satisfied by our visit and looking forward to our eventual return.

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