Veitalanoa is Fijian for the telling of stories. How convenient that such a word exists because I have some stories to tell. Unfortunately, for those hoping to hear about cool work I am doing here, none are work related because that is soooooo slow going to the point of flowing backwards. For now, you will just have to enjoy these ....
1) Snorkeling!! The weather here has not been the tropical paradise I imagine – much more rain and cloudiness and chilly! Of course it is winter here I guess. Anyway – because the weather is less than optimal, the few times I get to snorkel I relish (no, not the stuff that goes on hotdogs). One time I got to see a small sea turtle!!! I squealed with delight into my snorkel, which is probably the reason it bolted. I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting with Nemo’s cousins. They send their regards (or lolomas in Fijian - see video above).
2) I had several visitors to my home since I returned from Peace Corp’s early service training. I entertained the preacher and his family over a pot of my home cooked soup. Quite hearty and delicious. My most memorable visitor to date was a woman and her small son. While showing photos to the woman her son was playing outside. All of a sudden “whack!” What just hit me in the head? Pants? AH! The kid is standing in the doorway without pants, penis pointing INSIDE! NOOOO – don’t pee in the house! Phew, he moved. But wait – after walking the mom out, looking to the left and down … POO!! That little boy dropped a load right next to my door. Excellent. Maybe it’s like a welcome basket? Or when people give fruitcakes at Christmas?
3) Tonight was one of my favorite nights since I’ve been in Fiji. The stars were shining brightly – cila sara na kalokalo if you will. Thanks to my Saftah (grandmother aka Buqu in Fiji) I had the ingredients for S’mores! When trying to explain the S’mores to some of the villagers, I realized that most Fijians have never heard of marshmallows let alone S’mores. So I told them we would make them one night, and that night happened to be tonight (10/18/2009). Funnily enough, the kids at the house where we were building a fire were watching some movie in which there was a bonfire and they were making S’mores!! That just made them so much more excited – like it was confirmation that I spoke the truth about these wonderful marshmallow and chocolate sandwiches. They made the S’mores, roasted some more marshmallows and we danced to UB40 under the stars. Seriously – excellent evening. I felt like a true Peace Corps hippie. Excellent. Nice way to celebrate the Dewali holiday.
4) Bad stories: people have been swiping food from me in many ways. Just today someone stole a papaya from my garden and while I was away for training someone swiped some of my eggplants. Perhaps I need a sign. “Na Turaga so raica tiko” aka “G-d is watching” … that should do it. Also when I got mail recently one of my packages had been pillaged to within an inch of its life. All the candy from my stepmom had been taken. See solution below.
********** Important *********** I had some postal issues last week – the first since arriving in Fiji. Several packages had been left somewhere besides the post office over a holiday weekend. 1 of the packages arrived in good condition, 1 was completely gutted by rats and 1 had been slightly invaded by rats but the only casualty was a bag of chex mix, and the final one had been ravaged and pilfered. I asked people at the Peace Corps Office and they said perhaps all packages should now be sent to the Peace Corps office address which can be found to the right. Letters, however, can still be sent to me on Ovalau to the Levuka Post Office. Packages should probably also be sent in either envelopes or flat rate boxes which can’t be opened and resealed without being obvious like a cardboard box. Food items in Ziplocs might be good as well because of rats. I really do appreciate all the effort and time friends and family have been putting into care packages and letters and I hate that the last few I received had been damaged. I am really sorry about that. Thank you so much to all who have been writing!! You have no idea the smile the mail puts on my face!