I couldn't get a decent picture of this moonshine, so here is a video of it. It was amazing.
Adorable little Lewa tells us what she ate for dinner.
Adorable little Lewa gives me some kisi's. I'm going to miss her for sure!
I have just about 2.5 weeks until I finish Peace Corps and leave the country, so perhaps it is time for what will most likely be my final blog. I have to admit that lately I have gone through ups and downs. Earlier in the week I was having frustrations with the people in my community and my living conditions. I was very easily angered and I felt guilty about that which only made me feel worse. On top of that, I leave the country soon and am still not sure about my next step.
However, things can turn around just as quickly as they dip down. It seems that the rollercoaster ride of Peace Corps goes all the way to the very end. But, lucky for me, I had about a one week period with all ups and no downs. I had a couple of visitors at my house that I got to entertain and cook for which was fun – I miss that part of America. It’s something you probably wouldn’t realize that you could miss at all in fact. But having people over to your space and sharing your home with them is a lot more important to me than I realized. The times I have had visitors have been really satisfying for me and I’m glad I got to have a couple more before finishing. I went snorkeling for the first time in a while as well and took some more walks on the beach. I forget sometimes how important it is for me to be outside. When it’s either raining too much or way too hot from the sun, you always want to stay inside! The other day I had the lucky happenstance to find myself out under the shade of a breadfruit tree scaling fish with some of the women in my village. And it was great! I didn’t say much. I just sat there with my hands wrist deep in a basin of water/fish/scales and listened to them gossiping. Scaling fish is mindless fun. If my back didn’t start to hurt, I would have enjoyed doing it longer.
So … 1.5 weeks left in the village and then 1 week in Suva finishing up Peace Corps paperwork and waiting for my flight to the US of A. While on Monday it seemed like 2 weeks was a lifetime, today, it is scarily close. Don’t get me wrong – I look forward to rejoining the real world, but I will miss this one. The world where the waves are crashing mere feet from my window (I can hear them now). Where my doors are open all day to friendly “Bula Tuli!”s and the ocean breeze. Where I can pop a papaya off a tree and have it for breakfast. Of course, those are just a few of my happy memories. The bad ones are there too, but if you have ever watched I may be experiencing a phenomenon known as “graduation goggles” where when you look back – all was good and nothing was bad. Of course, they fall off now and again leading me to want to stand under a coconut tree and wait for that tell-tale “CRACK” sound. But I have a few things to look forward to in the coming weeks as well. A friend is supposed to take me out fishing on the bamboo rafts called bilibilis for the first time – long time coming!!! I’m also expecting a friend to teach me to properly mix the kava so when I bring some home for people to try I don’t kill anyone. I am also supposed to do an itatau with the community – it is the opposite of a welcome ceremony (an isevusevu) where I say goodbye to the community and present the kava. There may also be a dinner with my final taste of Fijian fare.
Of course, in recent days my mood has plummeted again. Fiji has shown some ugly colors to me lately in the way of finally seeing some progress on the marine protected area in my village to be kick started with a workshop in AUGUST!! Oh Fiji thou art a cruel mistress. I would have loved to be a part of that workshop and the people involved are just “oh – why don’t you stay?” NOOOOO! And during the meeting I felt kind of like an ass because I didn’t have more to say that was accomplished in these last two years. I should look at the silver lining and say that at least something seems to be starting. Additionally, I got another Fijian kick in the you-know-what when one of the computers in town gave my hard drive a virus, wiping all of my documents and photos from the past 6 years of my life. I have only myself to blame for plugging my life into what was surely to be a virus-ridden Fijian box of terror.
Some final fun Fiji observations to close out my service:
- I saw a woman shaving her chin on the truck the other day. A couple of things shocked me about this besides the obvious. One being how she didn’t cut off half her face with the conditions of the roads around here being what they are. Another being the fact that she was actually doing something about her chin hair! Most women here seem to be oblivious to it.
- The sun moves a lot. It started off rising at a point further east and now it seems to be rising in more of a northeasterly location. My friend tried to explain this via diagrams in a letter, but I think I need a face to face explanation. My astronomy is weak.
- I have a bump on my head I can’t see but it hurts and I didn’t hit anything with my head. So that begs the questions – wtf?! My first fear is BOIL! I can’t see it though, but it’s kind of pointy, less squishy so I can probably rule that out. Second is that I got bitten by a centipede in my sleep again because it does feel bruise like. I also feel bruise like on my neck, but there is no bump there and again – I didn’t hit anything with my neck.
- I am slowly getting rid of things in my house to get ready to go home, but it’s hard. What goes? What stays? It will come down to what smells too much like urine/dust/mold – and if the answer involves any of those three smells then it stays.
- People in the village have been scouting out my things for a while now. They want to call dibs on whatever they can before others do.
- There will be 3 new volunteers on Ovalau after I am gone, but none of them will be coming to my village to replace me.
- The davui just sounded outside. The davui is the large shell from a triton snail and they have been overharvested in Fiji. It is usually blown to call people to meetings in the hall or to start some village work. I am hoping they just blew this one to have the men go check out why I have not had water for over 24 hours.
- I played BINGO in my house with a bunch of kids to give away a lot of the kiddie yayas I’ve found while packing. I was nearly suffocated trying to give away the last of the crazy bands. I feel that if I had enough crazy bands I could overthrow Prime Minister Bainimarama in a non-violent coup while blindfolded and eating curry.
- A young man came over to my house last night to watch a movie, but it was late and I told him to return later. He walked into my house uninvited anyway and refused to leave for 15 minutes, just sitting on the floor saying “please tuli please tuli” over and over. It was with persistence and a swift kick to the head that he finally left. Without the kick in the head. Where were my guard dogs when I needed them?
- Finally, if any potential future employers are reading this – I am very enthusiastic about starting a new career!! Please don’t hesitate to contact me about available positions – I promise to work as hard as I can for you. J