Thursday Sept 19
I love hearing the sound of rain on a tin roof.
Except when you have out & about sketching plans.
Not that rain lasts long here in Fiji, so we can still go with Plan A and we can still have a yoga session.
Some want to go snorkeling and others will come up to the Haman property, to sketch the Copra processing shed.
We all go up to the main house to greet our hosts Arthur and Martha.
Preparations are going well for the family wedding here shortly.
Then down the hill we trot, to the copra sheds and huts among tall coconuts. Someone has stacked up a pile of them ready to break up.
By climbing up inside the shed you can see the broken old coconuts in huge bins ready to be smoked.
When you look underneath you’ll see all the ashes of the last burn in the big drum furnace.
People find a good position and sketch their view or angle of the Copra shed from the coolest spot they can find.
Seems very steamy today.
Once we’re done, we decide the pool will be a great spot to head home to and get wet.
The snorklers arrived back right on lunch time so everybody can talk about their adventures and how impressed they are with the coral they’ve just snorkelled over.
There is a little free time now till our visit to Vivili Village and the traditional Meke we will see performed later in the afternoon, once all the kids are home from school.
We are pleased to find some ‘sketch’ time before we are invited into the village hall as honoured guests..
The children, and several adults are absolutely enthralled to watch our sketchers record the village in sketches as they see it around them. This is so heart warming to see.
Some of the little boys still wearing their grass skirts race up the hill, calling to the others, to come and see what the visiting ladies are doing sitting on the ground.
Other children nestle up beside whoever they’ve discovered, to get as close a look as possible at the simple lines and colour coming out on the paper. The can see its the very houses and scenes they are looking at right now.
They just love it.
You can see it register on their little faces that they recognise what we’re sketching.
As we enter the hall we take our places on the floor in positions indicated by Keni.
He makes a welcome speech to the elders of the village, they all seated in their respective positions, cross-legged with the traditional kava bowl centre stage.
Kava root is currency and is presented as a gift.
At this point Keni nods to me beside him and I say some words about their creativity through dance and ours through sketching.
Just love being part of all this, and I know the sketchers are flat out taking as many pics as possible.
Both groups of young boys and girls, aged maybe 6 to 18 years perform several traditional routines based on dances created by their ancestors. Here’s how they learn their own stories.
The smaller boys seem to be the ‘Caller’ and dance with incredible energy.
We can certainly work out the story lines behind the challenging movements.
The girls are more demurely dressed and dance beautifully, bending and weaving to the beat. Their dances are to do with caring for the family and planting the crops.
We make sure we clap everybody equally.
We love that the children all line up to shake each of our hands, as we leave the hall.
I speak to some of the young girls about their beautiful dance routines. Everybody gets included.
Thats’ village life for you. Everybody has a place.
We now go and do our homework says the young girl as we ourselves head back to town.
We are having dinner in town tonight, so we head straight there.
We’ve chosen Surf n Turf restaurant by the sea.
Vijendra the owner chef is ex Jean- Michel Cousteau kitchen, so what we eat is beautifully presented and delicious.
Ragini his wife makes sure we are all happy.
Oh yes we are indeed.
This is a superb spot next to the water in a slightly ramshackle building with an entrance you’d be loathe to go down as a rule.
But when you see where you are it’s breathtaking.
Back home Keni has a little kava ready for us as a goodbye drink.
He cannot be with us tomorrow because a family funeral is taking place in his village.
Some of us are seasoned kava drinkers now so we take up the offer.
But its off to bed as soon as we can and with another glorious day behind us.
©ErinHill2013. Photos also contributed by Therese, Jenny, Betty, Toni and Milton.
More to come yet!!