Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Weekend in Taveuni

A couple of weeks ago, we finished helping to set up MLS within the Taveuni District. There are 4 Branches on these islands of Taveuni & Rabi and now they are all set to electronically transmit their weekly financial reports.
That's what we like to call "Progress"!

Our training began at 4 pm and finished around 7 pm. By then everyone was famished...

but these dear Sisters had spent this same time (plus a couple more hours) fixing a delicious dinner of roasted chicken, chicken curry, fried fish and lamb stew. The meal was polished off in about 20 minutes!

Here is one of the most devoted ward clerks anywhere! Bro. Ram Chandra loves his calling and he actually listens to what we train on and DOES it!

I think the wet season has kicked in early this year! It rained constantly the 4 days we were there. Here is the main river that runs through the Somosomo town. Not a problem ... in fact, it ramps up the entertainment factor.

Lots and lots of kids showed up on the bridge near the center of town. This became the fijian version of Cowabunga Bay!
First, these kids attached a rope to the railing along the side of the bridge.

This was seriously observed from those below...

then the rope was thrown down to a "secure" location. I don't know how these kids didn't totally just get swept away.

Now the brave (or crazy) guy wraps a swatch of fabric around the rope, counts to three and jumps!

Yee Haw!!
so fun and FREE!
All the kids kept doing this over and over...there weren't too many adults nearby. I sure hoped I wasn't going to have to jump in for any kind of a rescue! (basically I was worried about who would save me!)

Then I noticed there was a mom right to the side of the river taking advantage of the high level of the raging stream (also referred to as the local laundramat).

The next morning, we took off on a trip to see the other side of this island. We got our plans interrupted by another river that was overflowing the road where a concrete portion is in place for crossing the river. The depth of the flow was about 10 inches but the current was really strong. When we pulled up, there was already one car stopped with the driver considering how dangerous this could be.

Then these 2 men came walking across.

They actually seemed quite calm about the whole situation.

The rest of us weren't quite as willing to take the risk so we got back in our truck and changed our plans.
We were in the company of a new couple, Jean and Jack Sunderlage who have just come to this mission and have been assigned to Taveuni. They weren't about to get swept out to sea after just a short 5 weeks into their 18 months.

As we headed back along the main road, we happened to pass the home of this family, Br & Sis Lai. We were so excited to see them! On our first trip to Taveuni, over a year ago, he was our taxi driver so we spent a lot of time with him. Last December they came to Suva to be sealed in the Temple and we had done something for them that must have meant a lot to them because when they saw us they told us they had a gift for us that they had been hoping to give us but they hadn't seen us for so long. Then they went into their home and come out with this beautiful tapa cloth. Br. Lai told us that he made the cloth by hand and his uncle painted the picture on it. What a treasure it is for us! Both their friendship and this sweet gift!

We kept on exploring and soon ran across the home of Pres. Aumule (sp?)of the Qeleni Branch. When we told him we had planned to go take a boat outing to see the area of the island that is said to have 200 waterfalls running down the mountainsides into the sea, he told us he would be happy to take us in his boat! He instantly dropped everything he had going and the guys all pushed the boat into the water.
All Aboard!

How could you not want to spend ALL DAY in this setting?!

Paul was more than happy to help drive the boat while Pres. kept the gas tank full.

There were waterfalls EVERY WHERE! No one lives on this side of the island. The only way to access it is by the sea.

The falls come from fresh water springs that are abundant on this side of the island.

We even disembarked a short distance from the shore in one place so we could enjoy a picnic lunch and then hike up to another waterfall that was about a 30 minute hike inland.

It was not exactly a "white, sandy beach". These rocks were really tricky to wade over and reach the shore.

Not much of a problem for the locals. Everyone walks barefooted around here...on the road, on the beach, through the bush, around town and even at Church... shoes are soooo over rated!

As we hiked up to the inland waterfall, we passed a dalo farm. This vegetable is grown everywhere and is the main staple of the Fijian diet. The main vegetable is the root of this plant but the leaves are also cooked and eaten. Dalo tastes a lot like potatoes only they don't serve it with butter or sour cream so it is pretty bland.

When we got to the impressive waterfalls, there were a few other people that were swimming and hanging out. Such an interesting world we live in: we met 2 British people who live in California and 2 Germans who live in Hong Kong! And they got to meet 4 Americans who live in Fiji!