|Visit to a Fijian Village
The reefs off each island in Fiji are owned by the
people who live on the island. In order to dive on these reefs, the
boat owner must first get permission from the chief of the village.
When Rob Barrel brought the Nai'a to Fijian waters, he visited each of
|these villages and made deals with the chief so
the Nai'a's guests could visit these reefs. Periodically, the Nai'a
visits these villages to reaffirm this relationship.
During the second week, most of our group took a
trip to one of these villages along with several of the crew. This was
a busy week for the village since the island was having a major
multi-disciplined sporting event. But they took time out to host us
for a little tour, choral performance and tribal ceremony complete
with song and dance.
When we arrived at the
village, most of the children were waiting for us at the shore line,
anxious to see who we were and, I suspect, to see if we had brought
anything. The visitors from dive boats often bring gifts of school
supplies, and the villagers look forward to receiving them. The
village visits have also helped to preserve the reefs since the
villagers now recognize that the dive boats will not visit and bring
gifts if the reefs are not in good condition.
||I was carrying a translucent plastic bag with
colored markers, pencils and other supplies. When the children saw
what I had in my hand, there was much pointing and whispering back and
But what really got their attention
was my digital camera. The Fijians love to have their picture taken,
and to be able to
immediately see the results on the LCD screen was very exciting for
them. The children were climbing over each other trying to get in
front of the camera, and I often had to tell them to move back so that
I could get the camera to focus on them.
|Everyone was extremely friendly and seemed very
happy. After hearing a wonderful choral performance from the children
in the chapel, we all proceeded to the meeting hall where we shared
some kava, sang songs, and joined in a little dancing. It was a lot of
fun (except, perhaps, for the kava which is definitely an acquired
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