Kia Chronicles

It's been a while since it has rained on the island and we are desperate for fresh water!  The water tanks are empty, the bore hole containing ground water is dry, and we are subsisting on the emergency tank that the village shares in tough times like these. We have resorted to bathing in the ocean, not doing laundry, and using water very sparingly.
Other than that life on Kia is swell.  I am deep into designing and planning a community leadership training workshop for the fishermen and women of the island.  The program will be aimed at teaching the fishermen about the scientific basis of marine resource management and give them the information and knowledge to equip them to sustainably manage the local qoli qoli's (traditional fishing grounds).  It is a huge undertaking and is a great challenge given the culture, customs and mentality of the people on the island.  They are very set in their ways, beliefs and behaviors.  Every day is a challenge and we are slowly trying to penetrate the people and get them to open their minds to new ideas and ways of doing things.  Its been a frustrating but exhilarating experience.

When I am not working on the workshop planning I occupy myself beach-combing, taking photos, learning to cook traditional Fijian dishes and socializing with the women of the village.  I have learned to weave some and have developed a knack for weaving rings out of palm leaves.  There's a huge influx of jellyfish in the water recently so I haven't been able to snorkel as much as I would like.  Last week we had a beach cleanup with all the children of the village.  It was fun and we picked up a lot of trash but there is still so much more to collect!
I've had some awesome experiences on Kia- everything from watching meke (traditional dance) to hiking the highest peak on the island, watching a colony of fruit bats emerge at dusk, and volunteering at the school.  Not to mention eating fresh, tropical fish for dinner almost every night, watching picture-perfect sunsets, and making wonderful friends.  Kia is a special place.