Back in Fiji. Back on Vorovoro. Back to a routine I know so well.
Super yacht engineer Paul and medic Becca met on Vorovoro during the first week of the the project in 2006. They returned this month as if they’d never left, slept in a hammock by the high tide, and took part in village duties and fixed Poasa’s wind turbine.
Home cinema installer Ian was on his round the world ticket when Vorovoro got in the way. He stopped for a week, then two, became a chief, and helped the tribe & Tui Mali fix their antenna’s.
US study abroad students Jason, Amy & Ashley were taking a couple of weeks away from their studies in Australia when they came to the island. Ashley laughed a lot, Amy fell in the pig pen and Jason told everyone Vorovoro was his new favourite place in the world.
Qualified diving instructor, Dan and TEFL teacher, Steff plan to return and use their skills to volunteer in the nearby village of Ligau Levu soon.
Fred was a peace corp volunteer in Fiji in 1981 – when he married a local Indian lady. He returns every decade to explore a different part of the country. After spending time on Vorovoro he plans to settle permanently with his extended family in Fiji.
Mirel, when explaining to Tui Mali that he was from Israel, was asked by the chief if he flew helicopters. ‘No, logistics’ was the answer – followed by huge laughter all round the grog matt. Must be something in the water…
School-leaver Jade’s two weeks on Vorovoro turned into two months during which time she would draw crowds from the local villages as she sang ‘Isa Lewa’ in perfect harmony with island voices.
Camilla a software marketeer from Norway, Stacey an admin manager from the UK, Simon who talked a lot of rugby with the boys & Kim who mended the hammocks and Jim a Save the Children worker and his son Joe from Australia were some of the other tribe members I was fortunate to meet on this visit. Like many of them, I didn’t want to leave.
the tribe I re-connected with…
More permanently you might recall – Poasa, Francis and extended family, boat captains Api & Jone, Kitchen queens Kini, Wati, & Skipper, & the team Fiji core – Nemani (who managed to collect over 100 plastic bottles spewed up by Labasa river in 45 minutes for an eco-scavanger hunt), Liavi (talanoa teller and garden nurturer with love for sale), a chap we call Pupu Epeli who lead brilliant workshops on island medicines and coconut jewelry making, & our current ‘wavu’ Ropate charging the four peaks and forever setting up and packing down grog sessions on the beach, in the bure, or under the stars…
Tui Mali – Vorovoro’s father figure, landowner, host extraordinaire and chief was as good as form as I’ve seen him in the last few years; the band from Ligau Levu village always seemed to turn up when the tanoa was full; the recent cup winning Mali Sharks who if you close your eyes sound more like a gaggle of teenage girls than a rugby team helped clear Tanoa Park; the women’s groups of Mali who make crafts for the visiting tribe members; the primary school who we were able to donate $600 this month from Kaz’s ongoing Zaishu project; and our friends from Govinda’s internet in Labasa who delivered the ultimate indian take out to the beach last Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the month for me was seeing a man getting off the boat at sunset on sevusevu day in the shape of Ratu Tevita. Having travelled from Nadi especially to see us all it was fantastic to welcome Te back with a large bilo of grog and a meke he had taught us.
Then there is the Cahill clan from Indiana who have been with us for a year now and lead the project so brilliantly: Mama Jenny’s good omens, Papa Jimmy’s ‘dam truth‘, Lucas’s beach pad, Bethany’s bright island fashion & little Ollie’s dominant fishing are some of the reasons that make this blond-haired-five-some an all round inspiration to many that meet them.
For this life and community, our ‘bul’oqo’ – it’s positive local and global impact as well as the laughter and adventure – to continue and grow in Fiji we need support and new partnerships. Economically it’s been a tough year. So we are now looking to you more than ever to send yourselves, your friends, families, student groups, social networks and companies to our shared island home in the sunshine for adventure, inspiration and changemaking. Do it!
And for the first time there is now also the opportunity to play an even bigger part in the project. Ulai and I have some exciting options to become partners in Tribewanted Fiji for the next 10 years. So if the idea of Vorovoro connects with you – contact me today.
Vina’a va’alevu. Talo!
pics from island time in June