Part 3…Unbelievable day in Fiji…A cultural experience filled with wonders!…

Handmade raft for fishing, which Rasnesh explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking.

When we think of how easy we have it; stores from which to purchase food and supplies, means of transportation, sources of entertainment and the income and ability to purchase items that which makes life more convenient, we stop and reflect on how fortunate we are.

As they say, “everything is relative” which may mean that everything is quantifiable in terms of each individual’s perception or opinion. Perhaps for villagers throughout the world living in a modest self sustaining environment, they are as comfortable in their existence as we are in ours.

Handmade ladder outside of a villager’s house. We speculated this ladder is shared from house to house as needed.

As much as many would like to believe, “in a perfect world” we all deserve the exact same degree of life’s comforts. But, us humans have grown through generations under varying conditions to which we’ve become adapted, not unlike the animal kingdom.

Other handmade rafts were ready for fishing along the inlet.

Our higher power or whatever we believe or not, didn’t create us to be identical. Otherwise, we’d all look exactly alike. Whether we were created by a god or evolved through millennium, we are different for many reasons, not always known to us, not intended to be known to us, hopefully to be respected and treated equally by us.

In time and space we find our human selves possessing a powerful tendency to make the best of it. No doubt, some fall behind, there again for unknown reasons and some reach out a helping hand as typical of the Fijian people. No one is left to flounder unaided by their fellow women and men.

A pig and a few ducks living off the land and sea.

They are happy in their existence, unfettered by worries of working technology, (other than their ability to communicate through the modern use of cell phones), unencumbered by bank balances, the success of a portfolio or the growth of a retirement fund. 

Clothes dryers are unheard of in many parts of the world, regardless of their modernization. A bench is located under this beautiful tree for quiet reflection with ocean views.

Retirement itself is a non-issue. When one becomes too old or disabled to care for themselves others step in to provide care and sustenance. There are only three nursing homes in Viti Levu, Fiji, none on this island of Vanua Levu.

As we drove down the road to the village, passing an old man, Rasnesh yelled out the window, “Bula, Tutu,” which translates to “Hello, Grandfather.” No, the old man wasn’t Rasnesh’s grandfather. He was an old man, weathered and tattered walking down the road with a big smile on his face, waving at us foreigners as if he knew us as well. We returned the waves, arms flailing out the car window, shouting heartfelt greetings of “bula!”

Tima explained these are crab holes located all over their grassy areas. Crab, shrimp and other fish are a good source of food for the villagers often caught in the nets as shown in the next photo.

The Fijian people regard one another as all related to one another, to love, to nurture and to care for as we’ve mentioned in a prior post. We’re still reeling from this heavenly (literally, heavenly) cultural anomaly in the today’s modern society.

A fishing net drying on the grass is regularly used by the villagers.

As we wandered through the village, we reveled at the natural resources the villagers of Vuadomo have utilized, not abused, in an unfettered and sustaining manner. Weren’t such resources were made available for all of us to use gently, not consume with a voracity that destroys their ongoing future existence and value for generations to come?

Oh, this could get political. I’ll shy away from that context, stepping back from pontificating on these delicate topics. Except, forgive me for adding, that in this day and age we have the human intellect and technology to develop new means of power and fuel and yet politics stand in the way. 

Seeing this starving puppy broke our hearts. We must accept that in Fiji and many other parts of the world, dogs are not regarded with the same love and care familiar to many of us. Their function is for protection, not intended as a pet. Although, we’ve found exceptions such as in Badal, our daily visitor, who is well nourished and loved by his Fijian owners and all the neighbors. 

I’ll put the soapbox back under the sofa saving it for conversations between Tom and I. We’ve found it best to be “apolitical” here, as one of our readers wrote to us in the past month, agreeing we’re best to continue to maintain such a stance.

Papaya grow prolifically in Fiji and are a staple in the Fijian diet.

These people lead a simple life, joyful in their surroundings, powerful in their religious beliefs, strong in their familial ties and able to nourish their bodies, hearts and minds in an uncluttered lifestyle, leave us holding them in high regard with memories we’ll always treasure.

This, dear readers, is what makes our travels so meaningful and powerful to us, as we as individuals and as a couple “living in the world” find personal growth and fulfillment we never imagined in our older years.

Tima offered us the use of this public restroom they’d built for visiting tourists as our last stop before heading into the rainforest for the steep and rocky trek to the waterfall.

There is no old building or bungee jump that could fill our hearts with such reverence and respect. For this, we are eternally grateful. For this, we accept our limitations in our travel knowing full well that ultimately these experiences, these memories, will continue to shape us as human beings long into the future.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the trek through the rainforest to the Vuadomo waterfall with many more photos!

                                               Photo from one year ago, October 25, 2014:

Although we never stay in the direct sun for more than 45 minutes, we loved the time we spent by the unheated pool at the condo in Maui. For more details, please click here.