Sunday Sept 15 ’13
A cup of tea on the balcony as the sun rises is a perfect start to the day.
It’s not possible to be uptight in Fiji.
You can try but it won’t happen.
That’s a city thing. I’m not sure I’ll need my watch.
Breakfast is a relaxed meeting time and everyone slowly appears.
The choice of fresh fruit all grown locally looks beautiful and tastes even more so.
Papaya grows all over Savusavu and we devour it firstly with our eyes.
This morning is to be our welcome ceremony and kava would be offered to us as important guests.
Keni the headman explains the procedure and the order of things.
You begin to realise that life here in Fiji follows a series of traditions.
In fact this is so for all the cultures here.
We become more aware of this as the week goes on.
South Pacific people are orators.
All occasions are marked in this way.
Keni’s sons will perform the welcome and make all the orations today.
It is Sunday and they will then go to church.
Yoga will have to wait for today I’m afraid.
I am offered the first bowl of kava, being the group leader.
In fact a second one comes my way.
Five of our group are also chosen to receive the ceremonial drink.
Kava is a pepper plant based mixture and has an a anaesthetic effect on the lips and tongue. It’s a narcotic but not alcoholic.
With enough of it your legs will give up as well.
A welcome speech is made. I make our reply.
We are now Family.
My legs work, but I’m not sure my tongue does.
Time to get started on sketching.
Our first sketch is some of the native flowers from the garden including frangipani, hibiscus and another with large pink and yellow tear shaped flower. We have a red one and a blue one.
We swap the flowers so that there’s a change of sketch part way through.
Two people new to sketching amaze themselves by managing beautiful hibiscus works and learn not only to sketch but also to add some colour, all on the same morning.
Morning tea is brought to us and set up beside the pool, close to our table at just the right time.
We are learning that nothing is too much for these smiling staff.
They will bring morning tea to us wherever we are, including to the beach, table, teapot and all, as they will later this week.
It’s definitely swim time and to float on the double lilo, gazing through a straw hat to the sky.
We are staying ‘home’ today and beginning to feel the relaxing world we were now in.
Plenty of time to get out and about and get to know the town later in the week.
Mereoni, Keni’s delightful wife, is giving a Tapa making demonstration later this afternoon.
She says this is exclusively the women’s creative process, handed down from Mother to daughter.
When the men see them starting to spend a day doing this they know they will be on cooking.
You can’t stop part way through the process to run round doing the family meals.
Sorry boys. We’re being creative.
Drinks before dinner at the end of the day and sharing a meal round the long table, is a very good time for everyone to really get to know each other a little more.
We chat on until one or two start to drift off.
We are feeling a lovely and relaxed tiredness.
It’s been a very good day.
Photos also contributed by Jenny C, Toni, Therese and Milton. More to tell coming soon.