Living the Island Life

It’s the end of the dry season in Fiji and hot as ever.  Next month will begin the rainy season and hopefully cooler temperatures!  I have been frantically busy planning and preparing for the Community Leadership Training workshop that will be held in our village next week.  

 Going to the beach in the afternoons is great fun; I get to see the myriad of colorful fish that the fishermen and women catch.  Everything from striped triggerfish to spotted groupers to speckled cod and streaked sweetlips.  I am amazed at the diversity of fish here.  

Living in the village you never get a break from being around people.  I live in a one-roomed  house with 4 other girls right in the middle of the village.  We have neighbors on all sides and people are constantly coming in to the house to visit with us.  The community is extremely close-knit and everyone knows everyone’s business, not to mention where they are at any given point in the day.  If you take a walk, people always ask you where you are going and why.  Every once in a while I manage to slip away and I hike over a big hill to the other side of the island to a beach sequestered in a little cove.  Whenever I need a break I grab my mask and my journal and spend a few hours writing and snorkeling.  Its peaceful there and I enjoy the solitude.  

 My private beach : )

Days are busy prepping for the workshop so my free time has been limited, but I have managed to find some free time for weaving and quite enjoy it.  I have learned to make a few different things and love experimenting.  The holidays are fast-approaching and the women in the village have been busy weaving new mats for Christmas.  We can hear them in the community hall from our house. They spend all day in there weaving and sharing the village gossip.  Every once in a while one of them says something of particular amusement and the hall will erupt with cackles and giggles.    

 My curious cowrie collection
 Went fishing and caught a grouper!

Some of the girls and I went fishing on the reef with the villagers and had a wonderful time.  The sea was a little rough and we got tossed around but had good fun slipping and sliding all over the boat.  I got to see blue-footed boobies on a nearby island, flying fish jumping and gliding over the water and some beautiful tropical fish in the waters below. 

Living on an island is a double-edged sword.  There are things I love about it…waking up to the ocean every morning, drinking from fresh coconuts on the beach, living in a village, beachcombing, and snorkeling, but I definitely get island fever and long for the conveniences and amenities of the mainland.