Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More of My Fiji

So, as promised, more of our trip in Fiji.

Even as I was going through these tonight, I felt teary all over again. It's such a difficult thing to try and put into words; feeling SO close to people and a place that it feels like that should be your norm and yet living here IS our norm.
Even though it has been weeks since our return, I still feel a mix of emotions being back.
Caught between two realities.
It's so weird and yet this is the way Yah has destined it to be (at least for now).
Anyway, here are more shots to share :)

{There were lots of meke's (special songs and dances) and in some of them the women stand up and 'choose' their partner by tapping them on the shoulder. They dance side by side with arms around waving joyously in the air. Siba!!!}

{Our kiddos had practiced 'Waltzing Matilda' as a little song 'gift' for our village. I accompanied them on the guitar and even Zippi joined in!!!}

{We enjoyed so many beautiful sunsets on the farm. It was like my skin and eyes were trying hard to drink in the colours and light, knowing as each day passed, that it was getting closer and closer to the time that I would say goodbye to these kind of simple pleasures}.

{Ethi and Liji were in their element playing footy with all the village children. It was so special to see them run and play so freely despite any language or cultural barriers.}

{Here I am with my sisters and with Samu (my cousin) and his wife Peci (in the orange) who visited us in the hotel. I couldn't believe how grown up Samu had become in 14 years.}

{Back on the farm, another feast is prepared. Our family went to so much trouble to cook and prepare food for us. It was so delicious and I'd give anything right now for some of that curry from Peceliema!!!!}

{This is where we ate together. In Fijian culture we eat on the floor as a sign of respect that no one is considered 'higher' than anyone else. A table runner is placed on the floor and food is spread out over that. My sisters fan the food to keep the flies away until everyone is called to eat}.

{Here is the volau (shed) which was errected in our honour. This is to house all the visitors who will come to the village to meet and greet us! The volau is decorated with many woven leaves and flowers, mats and in our case (because of my parents' bad back and Dannii and Brett's knees) they even put out a couch setting for us to use. Again in Fijian culture, they don't have lounge settings out when people are sitting in a lower position but there was an exception made for us because they understood our needs. That is LOVE and GRACE in action right there!!!}

{Dannii, my SIL, was loved and accepted immediately by my family there. This was so touching to us and to her too. She feels like blood to them and they to her. And I know she misses Nau and the family and the land there just as much as I do.}

{My beautiful Aunty Nana Kasa}

{My cousin playing guitar Sevo and his nephew (the oldest of the 41 great-grandchildren) Ropate (in the blue) whom I can still see as a little 2 year old running around the village getting into trouble from my Pupu (grandfather) }

{Another of my 40 first cousins (YEP!) Peiwa and his brother-in-law Joe}

{Two of my beautiful first cousins Mena and Ta'ke in the blue who is the eldest out of all of us grandkids. I love these girls SOOOOO much and miss them to bits}.

Zippi with little Lusiana and Sisi

We played many games of Pani which we have played since I was a small child.
I first played it on the farm in 1988 and then would request to play it in Australia with my family in our backyard and every time we went back to the village to visit. Our kids and Brett have been taught by my dad how to play and we LOVE this game!
So the kids requested we play while we were there.

{The two teams are established - the throwing and the catching teams. Coconut shells are stacked one on top of the other and the throwing team tries to knock down the stack in one hit. The throwing team can catch the ball and if it bounces once and is caught, the thrower is out! However, if the thrower manages to hit the stack and knock it down, then the whole team has to try and restack the shells while the catching team set about throwing the ball about to one another (no running!) and trying to peg the ball at the throwers. If the throwers can restack the coconut shells, they get a chance to throw again and it begins again. Otherwise, the catchers change ends and get to try their best at knocking down the stack. Sounds complicated but it's not and it is SO much fun!!!}

{The ball has been thrown at one of the 'throwers' but has missed and ended up on the roof of the shed! In the meantime, the kids try to stack the shells!}

{Kit does well with the stacking}

{Dee gets hit on the back and cracks up laughing! No more stacking for her now. She cheers on the rest of the 'throwing' team}

{The coconut shells have been restacked and here comes another thrower! The village kids have a great aim!}

{Almost had them stacked but oops they've falled down again! Quick, got to stack more before the ball gets thrown at you!}

{Love this photo of Liji who looks like he's trying to avoid the ball by standing diagonally!!!}

{While Pani is being played, little Zeeki strips off for a bit of a cool down. It's humid this particular day and he's enjoying being in just his nappy}.

{Aunty Meng catched the ball and gets ready to throw it again!}

{The game goes on while Sisi washes some pots...}

{...and my aunties and cousins chat and prepare the next meal. They are so incredibly hospitable and display a real servant heart to us. Makes me so thankful to them and inspired to do the same in my life to those I love too}.

{My cousin Via in the outdoor kitchen and verandah}

{My dad's beautiful sister, Nei Seno, whom I adore. It is her village that are hosting us each day. While Momo Kameli has passed away since I lasted visited, she and Ta'ke (her daughter) have been looking after Nau and Pupu Samu which makes my heart happy}

{Two of the great-grandkids...Giri and Sitaita}

{Zippi and Emily played beautifully together.}

{She loved the freedom of play and being outdoors so much too}.

{Meanwhile, pani goes on!}

{More cousins and friends come to the village to lu lulu (meet) and it is SO lovely for me to catch up with Kelera and Basi whom I played with as small girls. We are now all married and have small children of our own}.

{My incredibly beautiful Nau (grandmother) sits on and watches. I ADORE this photo of her. She is such a gorgeous woman inside and out. I'd give anything to be able to sit right there next to her, feel her hand on my hand as we laugh to a familiar joke or at something one of the kids are doing. I am so thankful for the MANY moments like this that we shared during our trip.}

{As day turns into night, the generator is plugged in (no electricity on our village) and the kids sit under the volau playing hand clapping games; teaching each other Fijian/Australian ones and enjoying such a sweet connection between distant cousins}.

Beautiful times and memories.
I have many more Fiji photos to share but I also need to try to keep updating my blog with photos of things that have happened since we've returned!
I'll keep going between the two when I can.
More soon.
Hope my friends in blogland are doing well.
Yah bless you,
Lus x


singing mama said...

Lus,you can so hear and feel your heart and love in your posts about Fiji!! I am loving seeing the beautiful photos and also getting glimpses of your heritage and your precious extended family. thank you for sharing with us! So beautiful!! Luv Donna

Michelle said...

You do a wonderful job putting words to pictures and tell a beautiful story. You and your family are something special. ♥

lusi said...

*catches* the ball...just had to fix that mistake sorry! Lol

Thanks Michelle and Donna. I'm so glad to know my words make sense because I get so choked up thinking about them all that it feels like I mustn't be stringing words together properly! Thanks to you both for your encouraging and touching comments. Love you guys x

Chrissy said...

So MUCH fun, so MUCH laughter, so MUCH love... I can feel it all through these gorgeous pics. Thank you for sharing them with us honey. Very special. <3 xx


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