Reincarnated As A Mother

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Cannibal King and His Cast of Characters

One of our favorite days we spent in Fiji was the day we took a day trip up the Navua River. 
 We went with Byron's cousins, Ken and Jan Klingler.
Byron lived with the Klinglers when he was younger and they are like a second set of parents to us--
we adore them.
Ken also happens to be serving as the president of the Fiji mission for our church.
So it was pretty cool to get to see them in their element and to have them be able to take time away
to play with us!
We all climbed aboard a "long boat"... a long, skinny boat that seated about 8 people
with a captain running a small motor.
 The Navua River is gorgeous. 
On our journey, we passed 14, yep, 14 waterfalls.
All along the shores are little villages.
Much of Fiji- outside of the big cities are villages-- each with their own chief.
As part of our day, our group stopped off at the Raiwaqa Village for a few hours.
Notice the tribal member under the grass roof on the left.
He's pounding on a giant wooden "lali".. a Fijian drum of sorts that signals all
the members of the tribe to come.
 And come they did... the little kids, the grandmas... everyone.
Once inside their meeting house, they put on their traditional welcoming ceremony...
complete with dancing, chanting and singing.
 We even got video of Byron up and dancing with some of the village women--
if you are ever at the house, remind me.
By the way it was hot.  Really hot and sticky.
It poured rain while we were inside
but stopped when we went outdoors.
We must be living right!
They took us to another large hut in the village where they showed us how they cook their food--
under rocks, banana leaves and palm fronds.
 While some of the villagers prepared our meal, we toured the rest of their compound.
This is the area where many of the women make traditional crafts.
They showed us how they strip local plants, boil the leaves and make mats and wall hangings.
They showed us how they make dye, weave mats and carve wood.
 We also watched in awe as the locals demonstrated how they
crack open coconuts with their bare hands.
Yum... but won't be trying that at home.
 They also took us over to the children's school where the little kids
came out, welcomed us and sang a couple of songs.
Loved that part so much.
We then went back to the main meeting house where we were treated
to a traditional Fijian feast.
 It may not look that appetizing but it was really quite good.
Lots of it was cooked in coconut milk-- and trust me, you can't go wrong with that.
 We also got a history lesson on the country's cannibalism beginnings.
Actually, the last recorded account of cannibalism was in the 1950's.
Crazy stuff!
We had to take a picture of this guy.
He was this village's former chief and a notorious cannibal back in the 1800's.
They told us the story of a time when he got into an argument
with another tribal chief.  Clearly, he didn't like what was being said,
so grabbed his knife, hacked off the other chief's arm and proceeded
to eat it in front of him.
Not someone you'd want to take home to meet mom and dad (or have over for dinner).
 Today's tribal members are warm, friendly and thankfully, not flesh eaters.
They also put on quite a show.
 We particularly fell in love with that little grandma in the full turquoise dress in the middle right.
She had to be in her late 80's or early 90's.
 After lots of dancing, singing and the showing and selling of their handicrafts,
we got back on our boats and headed further up river.
 Out of four boats, ours, I think, was the only one not leaking.
As we laughed at one of the other boat captains steering and bailing, steering and bailing,
our captain told us if your boat isn't leaking, it isn't a boat.
It was quite a ride... they somehow maneuvered those rickety boats
through several rapids and we all made it to dry land.
Well, kinda dry land.  We were in a rain forest.
We took about a fifteen minute hike-- through lush, breathtaking scenery.
We hiked to a 150 foot waterfall... where
Byron and I jumped in the chilly water.
It was one of those moments where we really felt like we had gotten far, far away from our crazy life.
After the swimming and waterfall, we got back on our boats and
headed down river a ways.  They then had us get on a bamboo raft.
Many of the villagers up river float all their goods down to market on these big
bamboo rafts.  So it was quite cool to get a taste of that.
We loved this day and everything about it.
It was just one of many great ones we had on our trip.
Tomorrow we will be slapped back hard into reality.
Byron heads back to work and Kean and I head to the hospital
for a heavy day of Chemo.
Here's hoping all the stress doesn't come pouring back in just one day.


Joseph and Kamber said...

So glad you got to get away. Can't wait to read more about your travel adventures and get an update on the kiddos. Welcome home.