It’s been one of those crazy couple of weeks that come around every so often where you pack too much in and still leave too much out.
It started in Freetown with the Right to Dream crew – co-ordinating Craig Bellamy’s annual visit. Craig was incredibly open, sincere and passionate about the work we’re all involved with there. And the media response to his visit has been terrific.
From Freetown I flew back to London – went to Wembley with the family to see England’s poor warm-up perforance against the Mexicans (apart from Gerrard it looks as if they carried this form to South Africa…) before checking in the next morning to LA, bags overflowing with screws for chainsaws, t-shirts for family and other gifts for Vorovoro.
Meetings at the Tom Bradley terminal in LAX were a complete blur as tiredness and a West African belly caught up with me. Ouch.
Finally I touched down at dawn in Fiji. Sunrise over the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and swim at skylodge. Almost home. Sevusevu with Ulai and Jo Tuomoto (Tourism Fiji CEO and cousin of Tui Mali) as is tradtion now when I land and leave Fiji – before final journey north to Labasa.
Nemani, Aj, Jone Robinson, Cahills, tribe members – all piled up in the market. The good things don’t change. Filippo – my business partner from Sierra Leone – had come to see Vorovoro so we bought up half the kava supplies of labasa and headed for Tui Mali’s house.
I love this routine.
“sa va’auraga na Tui Mali…” etc…
grog presented. grog mixed on the veranda. grog drunk.
Then a stroll down the road, hop onto the boat and cruise back to vorovoro for sunset.
The warm welcome you get there is always better than can be imagined, even if – as it is now for me – a trip I’ve been making for four over four years.
The week consisted of getting back into life here on the island – sunrise hike and swims, forums on sustainability, songs under the stars, snorkelling on the reef, kava classics, the school and village visits, the family, the tribe, the coconut wireless, and the eating – the constant and never ending eating. Home sweet home.
And inbetween all this trying to stay on-top of a busy inbox and keeping new projects rolling forward. At least the grog and casava settled the stomach. I miss the lobster, football and open sands of Salone, but I’ll be back there soon enough. Despite its bumps I love this life. And now it’s Fiji-time. Talo!