Friday, August 31, 2007

Thanks you and farewell at Naduri

from Peceli
The last day of the Conference at Naduri was a day of thanksgiving with the sharing of many gifts of craftwork and produce and also some dances. It was a successful conclusion with the vanua and the lotu working together. The stories in the Fiji newspapers barely tell the story at all - though I have used one of their pictures!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dinner Time Conference Week

from Peceli
These are mainly about meal time, some at Vatuadova where we had dinner with the builders, some at the Conference at Naduri.

From Wendy
Oh, too much food. I've got a viral infection and the sight of food - well, doesn't help. Anyway today I'm a bit better and cooked some prawns with bok choy and ginger in coconut cream. Peceli, you are having fun with that digital camera Joy gave me!

Conference scenes

from Peceli
I took some photos in Wailevu village as well as Naduri. The village Bakery in the picture can bake more then 300 buns or scones and bread. I also took some photos in St Mary hostel and where 170 guests from the Bau Division are staying and the people from Namuka are 300 men and women. Ratu Seniloli and Ratu Apenisa led the Vanua of Bau. The Namuka people are related as Tauvu to the Bau People so the relationship between them is comfortable. The Turaga na Tuinamuka is here in the Vakatunuloa to welcome all the visitors.Bishop Api and Father Petueli are the leaders from the Hostel.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Naduri Conference continued

from Peceli
Today is the third day of the Bose ko Viti. The weather is typical Babasiga in its fullness. The food is in abundance with kawai, dalo, yams, fish and turtles caught from the sea ahd shared out to every kitchen to be cooked and served to the Bose Ko Viti members. Naduri village looks good, full of people and so is Labasa Town which is overcrowded with people all over Fiji.

Regarding the photos in the previous post - the meke wesi dancers are the people from Sauniduna the interior of Wailevu close to Seaqaqa. They are Catholic Church members and we joined together as the vanua of Wailevu to give glory to God through their meke wesi. One of the photos is of Tui Wailevu during the traditional ceremony.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Naduri village - opening day of Conference

from Peceli
Greetings from the sunny Macuata!!! This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoy and be glad in it. There was a warm welcome of the traditional ceremony to the Members of the Bose ko Viti led by the President Rev Laisiasa Ratabacaca and the 50 Divisions of the Methodist Church in Fiji. It was very good. The President' house was especially built close to the vale ni kana as I regarded it as in 5 star hotel style to cater the President and the Valenivolavola and the overseas members such as Rev Nemani Caqkacaka from Sydney and New Zealand members and me from Victoria. Naduri village is looking good. I took some photos at Wailevu village before I went to Naduri in the afternoon.The old relic of Bolatagane which Zakaria from Naseakula helped to build in the 1940s is still there and I stayed the night close to it

Kiwi Island girl winner of shotput at Osaka

from w
Congratulations girl! Wonderful achievement for Valerie Vili, married to Bertrand Vili, New Caledonian discus thrower. We've been watching the events on TV tonight from the World Athletic titles at Osaka and were very happy to see this girl from New Zealand do so well. From a childhood of teasing because of her height and weight, she took up field events in athletics and has never looked back.

bits and pieces from the web about Valerie Vili.

2007 World Championships

In 2007, Vili went to the Osaka World Championships as a favourite to take a medal, as one of only two women to throw over 20 m before the championships. In qualifying, Vili led with a throw of 19.45 m. Vili held second place throughout the final, behind Nadzeya Ostapchuk, but responded well in the last round with a mammoth throw and Commonwealth record of 20.54 m, to take the gold.This made Vili only the second athlete ever to take IAAF World Titles at youth, junior and senior level (after Australia's Jana Pittman).

Vili’s steady rise - From reluctant beginnings, to World champion

Osaka, Japan - The first thing that Valerie Vili did after it was confirmed that her last attempt in the shot had moved her from second to first, snatching the title from defending champion, Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, was to dance, arms aloft across the track to a television camera, and mouth, “I love you mum and dad.” It was a message that had to travel somewhat further than Vili’s homeland of New Zealand. As she explained at the press conference, “This was dedicated to my late mum and dad, my dad died recently, and my mum died just before the Sydney Olympics.”

Reluctant beginnings
Vili, 22 was a reluctant shot putter. As she puts it plainly, “I was the biggest kid in the school, back home in Auckland, and got thrown into it when I was 13. The teachers said to do it, and I did it. When I started breaking schools records, I got into it. And when my mum died when I was 15, it helped me cope with it, and got me through it.”

“It feels absolutely marvelous (to win),” she said. “Before the sixth attempt, my coach (former Commonwealth javelin silver medallist, Kirsten Hellier) told me, ‘You’ve got one more throw to prove yourself, where you come from, who you are. Do it for your father’. I didn’t know what it felt like to win a World title and now I know. The celebrations I had here in the stadium were just amazing. I just can’t wait to see my coach, my husband and the people who supported me”.

Career Highlights
2001 Gold Medal World Youth Championships Debrecen

2002 Gold Medal World Junior Championships Kingston
Silver Medal Commonwealth Games Manchester
6th World Cup Madrid

2003 5th World Championships Paris

2004 8th Olympic Games Athens

2005 Bronze Medal World Championships Helsinki
2nd World Athletics Final Monaco

2006 Gold Medal Commonwealth Games Melbourne
2nd World Athletics Final Stuttgart

Prepared by Murray Taylor for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. © IAAF 2006.

A funny thing happened on the way.... We were watching the men's hammer throw and as happens sometimes, the thrower misjudges and the hammer hits the wire cage instead of flying out. This time, the hammer went right through breaking the wire! So I guess the hammer can't proceed until it's fixed! My youngest son has spent several years in jav, discus, hammer, and shotput, so we especially watch out for field events.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hospitality and sea turtles

from w
I read in tribewanted that sea turtles have been caught as part of the hospitality for the visitors to Labasa for the Methodist Conference. The eco-friendly tribewanted members are dismayed by the sight of the turtles waiting and dying. There is an awkwardness about hospitality and conservation. As conference guests will be hosted in Mali there is a need for generosity, for giving of the best of the land and sea. On the other hand many people, especially Greenies like me, would rather eat vegetables. I phoned Naukisi at Vatuadova this morning (where Peceli is staying) and was surprised that the answer came from Nakauwaqa in Mali as the phone number had trasferred across to the island. Naukisi was busy this morning preparing her village house for guests. I did not ask her about the turtles then as I had not read the tribewanted story at that stage. Her husband is an expert in catching turtles - for ceremonial use, not for the market.

I have eaten turtle meat, but would not these days. Just as I won't eat meat at Fiji festivals and rites of passage.

From tribewanted chief’s blog link

Moral Dilemma: Sea Turtles suffering before traditional ceremony
With the upcoming methodist conference in Mali this week, several (7 on last count) large green sea turtles have been caught by the villages with Tui Mali’s permission to celebrate the event.

We visited Nakawaga on Wednesday to present a lovo to Mali for the event, to wish them well. The caught turtles are left unfed and without water lying on their backs for the days leading up to when they will be killed. The sight of these old creatures slowly dying upset many tribe members and showed the contrast between the local and global cultures.

Traditionally a BI is built – a pen – on the edge of the sea where the turtles live in and out of the water until they are needed. We asked Ulai why a BI has not been built in Nakawaga, and he said its probably just lack of time and resources. We asked if we approached Tui Mali if the tribe could build a BI for the turtles until the village need them. We really just want to talk with Tui Mali and the Mali people about the situation and if a BI is something we can help with then we will.

travel diary - Suva and Labasa

from peceli

Friday night.
I was on the official party with Rev Tuikilakila to welcome the Bishop of Papua New Gena who will be the guest for the Macuata Bose ko Viti. He was accorded a traditional ceremony then a lunch at the Holiday Inn with the official party.
He emphasised that they are the fruit of the work of the older missionaries who gave their lives in the mission field.

I have a a bit of flu but am not too bad but I just will stay home at night while Piqi and Wendy Junior and Jordan go to the singing competition in Toorak.

The flight today fron Nausori to Labasa was fairly rough and foggy and reminded me of how it is sometimes at Melbourne Airport. Anyway we had an experienced pilot and he was able to land the plane in Waiqili airport nicely so I said to him Vinaka luvena. I still cough a bit but it's okay. My lunch today is Uto and Baigani vakalolo so it’s okay with me.

Miss Hibiscus, Miss Congeniality, Miss Athlete of the Year

from w
Congratulations to Ann Naisara. What a lovely girl she seems to be. The story is from Fiji Times and the picture from Fijilive.

Athlete of the year is now queen of capital cityMonday, August 27, 2007

AFTER a long hard day of touring and making public appearances, Ann Patricia Naisara plans on catch up on her university studies. All that hard work paid off for Ann Patricia, 18, who was crowned as the Miss Hibiscus 2007 at Albert Park on Saturday night in the Vodafone-sponsored carnival. The first-year law student of the University of the South Pacific said even though she took leave from her classes, she continued her studies.

"This (beauty pageant) is not really my thing. Swimming is more my turf and this past week has been like a version of the Miss Congeniality for me," she said.

Her mum, Kesa Naisara said she was proud of her daughter because she managed to balance the contest and her studies. "She coped really well because she is good at time management and even though she took leave from her classes, she kept in touch with her course and continued to read her notes and did her assignments," said Mrs Naisara.

"I am taking law at USP to get background on international relations because that is what I am interested in," she said.

During her crowning on Saturday, Ann Patricia was in tears, saying she was overwhelmed and was waiting the reality to kick in. "I still don't know what to say or what to do; I can honestly say that I had not expected this win," she said. Ms Naisara said she was first approached to take part in the Hibiscus festival during the FASANOC Sports Awards when she won the Athlete of the Year Award. "Sanjay Punja of Flour Mills of Fiji asked me and my mum advised me to agree and so here I am," she said.

Now she wants to be ready for her role as an ambassador for the nation's capital city.

Friday, August 24, 2007

John Hunt's archaic translation of the Bible

from w
The Fijian Bible is very precious to so many people that this sample of John Hunt's early translation will cause a lot of interest, but is it the best?

Andrew Thornley, Tauga Vulaono and Ilaitia Tuwere are impeccable scholars so the publishing of this very early translation of Matthew and Mark gospels by Rev John Hunt will make interesting reading. I wonder if the archaic language, a vavalagi’s grasp of Fijian, phrasing, are indeed as good as later versions. However Dr Geraghty says it is very good. One thing, it will make readers examine the meaning of the texts and perhaps find new inspiration.

From Fiji Times Debate on New Testament
Friday, August 24, 2007

Methodist Bookshop representative Manono Junior and Dr Paul Geraghty at the launching of the book Na Kosipali I Maciu Kei Marika at the Churchward Chapel in Flagstaff
DEBATE and criticism is expected from members of the Methodist Church in Fiji after the republication of the New Testament, which was originally done by John Hunt 160 years ago is released, says Pacific Church Historian Doctor Andrew Thornley.
Speaking at the first Fijian translation of The Gospels According to Matthew and Mark at the Churchward Chapel yesterday, he said the late Mr Hunt was also criticised when he translated the Fijian version of the New Testament during his time. "I am not a Fijian scholar and welcome the debate that will emerge. My job as a historian is to make this happen. The text of the Bible is exactly in the original and it is done by the Fijian experts who understand what is being done," Dr Thornley said.

"The first Bible produced came in loose pages and they were told to go and bind it themselves." He said when Mr Hunt died, missionary James Culvert (sic)took the New Testament back to England.

"Mr Culvert revived Mr Hunt's testament very extensively and that was published by the Bible Society and that New Testament has become the New Testament that you read today in your Bible," Dr Thornley said.

"So effectively, the first translation by Mr Hunt, I would put it was lost to the Fijian people, I happen to think it is very important that this original New Testament which is quite different from Mr Culvert's revision would be made available to the Fijian people and this is the project that I am working on at the moment."

He said it would take five years and he hoped they would complete the full testimony that would be ready for the centennial of Mr Hunt's birth in 2012.
Dr Thornley said they published The Gospel of Matthew and Mark from the original New Testament in the words of Mr Hunt. "I am assisted in this project by Tago Vulaono and Paul Geraghty who has made this available," he said.

"Well, I was talking with the Fijian ministers with the first Lord's Prayer translated by Mr Hunt and the last phrase for example to take it out of context which is ena sega ni oti not sega ni mudu and he was quite surprised by that. Also the use of the term veitalia to describe the will of God, these are some of the words, that Mr Hunt used, they are no longer in the New Testament," he said.
He said most of the people that did not like Mr Hunt's translation including Mr Culvert (sic) did not include his idiomatic use for more informal use of the Fiji language and they make the language more formal and more literal and the New Testament developed and Mr Hunt could not do anything about this because he died.
bits and pieces from a net search

John Hunt's translation of the New Testament into Fijian, Ai Vola ni Veiyalayalati Vou ni noda turaga kei na nodai vakabula ko Jisu Kraisiti (1853);
The whole Bible was published as Ai Vola Tabu, a ya e tu kina na Veiyalayalati Makawa, kei na Veiyalayalati Vou (1858-1864).

In November 1855 Calvert left for England with David Hazlewood's manuscript Fijian translation of the Old Testament. The British and Foreign Bible Society granted £900 toward its publication and Calvert helped to produce 5000 copies of the first complete edition of the Fijian Bible and 10,000 copies of the New Testament.
The first edition of Frederick Langham’s revision of the New Testament was published in 1899, followed by the complete Bible in 1902. Langham was commissioned by the Wesleyan authorities to revise the Fijian Bible, which existed in many other versions, at that time. After his retirement from the mission-field he was able to give his full attention to this work, in which he was assisted by his wife and adopted daughter, A. L. Lindsay.

This Bible is written in the Bau or Bauan dialect of the Fijian language. In the early 19th century, parts of the Scripture were translated into other dialects. However, later translations were done only into the Bau, a dialect spoken by a large portion of the population, which is similar to the standard Fijian.
So, whose version are the Fiji people reading today? Okay, I mean in the Fijian language, not Fiji Hindi or English.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eco-tourism near Naduri

from w
Steve Easterbrook commented on a post I made some time ago about a "plan for eco-tourism spot near Naduri". It's called Palmlea. He wrote: Having been anchored off Palmlea resort for the last week, and coming ashore to sample this great resort's restaurant and ambiance...we give it two thumbs up! Excellent food, wonderful people, great view and grounds, and well worth a stop by land or water.
Steve and Carol, S/V Red Sky.

This is in Macuata, west of Labasa and quite near where the Methodist Conference will be held at Naduri next week. Palmlea's website is here.

From Labasa to Suva via the Sofi

from Peceli

We arrived in Suva Monday morning and the weather was fine. As we approached Suva Passage about 6 45 am it looked good from a distance but more than 500 noisy passengers were ready to queue down to the first floor of the Sofi like a mob of sheep.

Then after breakfast in Namadi I was able to attend the Ministerial Session at Centenary Church. It was good to see our friends, ministers and members of the Conference.

The Meeting today (Wednesday) included the Soro (apology) from the vanua of Nakorotubu Ra. They presented this to the President of the Methodist church and the Conference members. There were about 100 people, old and young, that came to the Soro for the community’s past sins. It was amazing to see people overcrowding and more than expected to come and support to the work of the Solevu.

From the grandkids;
We caught the Labasa bus in town and it was hopeless. When we reached Vatuadova
every body called out goodbye. We came by the Labasa Bus to Savusavu and the bus was no good. It was very jumpy like a kangaroo and very noisy and was going very slow in the hills of Seaqaqa. The Sofi was overcrowded and full of people. We slept in the Saloon with Grandpa.

from Wendy
The Sofi name is short for Spirit of Fiji Islands and it goes a couple of times a week to Savusavu from Suva and back, and also goes to Koro Island and Taveuni Island. The roll on roll off ferry is owned and run by Consort Shipping in Suva. Phone Contacts Suva 3313266 Savusavu 885 0279. The ferry leaves from Narain Wharf in Walu Bay in Suva.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Should medical care be free?

from w
Should medical care be free?

I haven't seen the Moore documentary 'Sicko' yet, but the subject matter is relevant to people in any country, so I ask the question - should medical care be free?

Public health is costly as it's much more than paying doctors and nurses who are the salt of the earth. On TV last night someone said that Australia spends $60 billion a year to pay for the health industry. Wow! But of course the technology in Australia is 'cutting edge'*, and extremely sophisticated. Because of the Medicare insurance scheme (not the Private Medicare) most bills are paid by the government for doctor's visits and even hospital stays because who can afford $400 a day in a hospital? An ordinary visit to a GP may be $38 but with bulk billing by some medical centres, the consultation is free. Pensioners also only pay about $4 for tablets instead of maybe $20. However if you live in an area without a public hospital as we did for six years, because there was only a Bush Nursing Hospital, we had to have private insurance cover of about $350 a year.

So what happens in Fiji? With the large public hospitals located at Suva (Colonial War Memorial) Lautoka and Labasa, patients pay very low fees. However Suva now has the Suva Private Hospital in Amy Street Toorak, with fees closer to those set in Australia, so only wealthy people or those with insurance can go there. A long, long time ago, I think I paid about $20 at Ba Methodist Hospital each time deliver a baby, and later at Labasa hospital 40 cents to deliver our third son. Now that was a gift!

These days if you go to a private doctor e.g. in Labasa when I had a kind of bronchial infection, I found an excellent doctor. The bill may have been about $5 or $10. Not sure as a young relative paid it. In Suva I went to a medical centre in Dominion Place and the charge was about $10. However, tourists may get asked for much more - e.g. an Australian woman was told $50 was the charge to see a private doctor in Nadi! The recommendation from a travel website is $20.

The cost of medical care in Fiji comes from public taxes but there are many donations and aid from overseas. Free or almost free medical care is necessary to encourage people to use hospital facilities for birth and sickness. Otherwise people will stay at home, take the pain and suffering, and go to the bush medicine experts (which is fine for minor ailments of course - certain leaves for boils, grated roots for coughs etc.)

An important aspect that I see for Fiji is to develop a very active community health program with hundreds of First Aid workshops and classes in diet, the dangers of smoking, the need for physical exercise, etc.

I was interested to read that dieticians are working with the caterers to plan the three meals a day at the Methodist Conference in Naduri. Way to go.

Wouldn't it be terrific if all youth groups throughout Fiji all had First Aid courses, and every choir member at the current Choir Competition in Suva be given a free pin prick to check diabetes and a quick blood pressure test! Pro-active health is as important as nursing sick people when they have developed a problem that should not have happened in the first place.

A website about Fiji's hospitals is here.

* cutting edge. My Mum wasn't happy one year that when her Hospital Auxiliary raised a few thousand dollars - and she always worked very hard for the country hospital - it was spent on a saw to cut bones. She was at that time ready to have a knee reconstruction!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Methodist Church and compassion

from w
The Fiji journalists seem to be obsessed with the terms 'fill coffers' through fundraising with a Choir Competition, and the spat between the Interim Minister of Health and the Methodist Church over a perceived debt concerning Ba Hospital.

Well, let's start at the very beginning, hey - or even with Hannah Dudley who adopted orphans in Suva, and who was feisty enough to refuse the direction of men on church committees and when they wanted her to take her orphans to Nausori, she upped and took off on a boat with them, heading for Bengal.

You see, compassion was an emphasis in the early days of the Methodist Church mission to the Indian community in Fiji - the care of orphans, the setting up of dispensaries, and then a hospital at Ba. (Education is another topic of course).

Another argumentative missionary from Australia was Rev Richard Piper who was based in Lautoka. When Dilkusha was established near Nausori, he wanted it moved to the healthier, drier Lautoka but lost that argument. He already had a farm school for boys and the Australian Methodist Church which funded Fiji's church in those days, bought a hotel with the gift from a bachelor, Mr Jasper Williams. (Many years into the future to become Jasper Williams High School).

The CSR gave some medical care for their staff and workers in those early days, but did nothing for 'free' Indian migrants, nor did the government of the day. In Ba with thousands of people, there was no hospital. The Methodist Church staff in various places had set up small dispensaries such as at Nausori and Navua. In 1913 Cyril Bavin wrote 'The Church in Australia has been asked for years to provide a hospital, and all that they have has been two dispensaries and one nurse!' The compassionate policy that began with Hannah Dudley gradually evolved slowly.

Rev Piper in 1919 stated a case for a Mission hospital for Indian women because the Government did nothing for them. In the same year J.F. Long began work at Rarawai, Ba. His wife was Dr Olive Long (nee Rivette) and she started to relieve Indian women of their ailments. So in 1924 a decision was made to build a hospital in Ba but not to exceed the cost of 2000 pounds. Local Indians raised 500 pounds. Local Fijians helped by carting river sand needed for the conrete and the CSR gave an engine and trucks for transport. So on 5 June 1926 Ba Hospital was opened.(More of this story can be found in Harold Wood's book Overseas Missions of the Australian Methodist Church Vol 111 Fiji-Indian and Rotuma.

Over the years, fees have been kept fairly low and the hospital at Namosau has been a wonderful gift to the Ba community. Our first two children were born there in the late 60s and I feel gratitude to people like Dr John Horton and Sister Satya Bali.

As funding from Australia diminished, there were financial problems, so as far as I know, the hospital was handed over to the Fiji government. So what's with this debt of nearly half a million dollars? The hospital has been a gift to the community out of compassion, but now with a well established Ministry of Health, it is time for it to become part of general health care in Fiji and a spirit of co-operation is required between church, community, and state.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Funeral at Vatuadova

from Peceli
Here are some of the photos taken yesterday at my sister Suliana's funeral. A very sad day.