Tuesday, October 07, 2008

David returns to Labasa

from w
I was interested to read in the Tribewanted website that a young (?) man, David Randall, has spent some time on Vorovoro as part of his 'coming home' experience. He was a little kid in Labasa when his dad was a doctor at Labasa hospital. Peceli says he remembers the Randall name but I don't think the doctor was around when I gave birth to our third son at Labasa hospital in mid 1972. My Fijian doctor was absent at the time and I had a very bossy nurse to deliver a boy who was 9 and a half pounds!

Here is Randall's story from Tribewanted.

The local boy returns home
Community → David Randall's blog
Tags:Chiefs Fiji By Kai Viti, ,
Posted 5 days ago
Bula Sia Tribe,

I’ve been on the island for just over 2 weeks now. I was only intending to stay for a week and then explore a bit more of Vanua Levu for the rest of my month in Fiji. I came here to check out my birth place, Labasa, and to discover as much as I could about Fijian culture and life. I left Labasa at the age of 2 and so I have no memories Fiji. I decided to spend a few days in Labasa finding out about the place. I went to the hospital to look around and met with so many lovely people. I was shown my record of birth and many of the nurses told me to say thank you to my dad for his work in the hospital. He was a doctor there in the late 60’s early 70’s. I also visited Vaturekuka, the government complex where we lived. That was beautiful and again I met some really lovely people. I had my first grog session with an Indian family I met there.

It was only when I was in Labasa that I decided to come to Vorovoro. I knew very little about the place and the Tribewanted project but I had signed up to the web tribe a few months before. I was attracted to the fact that it was an eco project and it was so close to Labasa. I only signed up for a week though as I had no idea what to expect. It took around 24 hours for me to put myself up for chief. I felt that this was going to be the best place for me to learn about Fijian culture. Save teaches the meke (traditional Fijian dance), the language and some songs that we can sing around the tanoa. Tribewanted are bringing back many of the traditional ways that have been lost in many villages. Why leave when all the things I want from my trip are here on Vorovoro. Also I wanted to be the first Labasan chief of Tribewanted. So it felt right to extend my stay in Fiji and be chief for a month.

The first 2 weeks were great, learning the meke, some language and having plenty of grog sessions. I also painted one of the compost toilets using stencils in the style of the traditional Fijian tapa. Then last Tuesday we had the chief’s hand over and I was installed as chief of Vorovoro. The day starting with a send off for Ben Keene as he was leaving the island for a few months to continue promoting the project. We then went on the ‘4 peaks challenge’, the first time I had the chance to do it in my 2 weeks here. I loved it, the nature here is gorgeous and I must have taken around 300 photos. When we got back we sat with Save and got the low down on what to do for the chiefs hand over and those presenting their Sevu Sevu got their instructions.

I was a bit nervous during the hand over but I really enjoyed it as well. It was only when Tui Mali left and I then had to sit at the front and was served yagona first that it really sank in that I was now the chief of this island. Team Fiji all shook my hand and welcomed me as the new chief and we had a really good grog session in which Paul, the out going chief, seemed to really enjoy as it was the first time in a month he could move around. It does feel quite strange that as chief you have to stay in one place. I’ll have to learn to make the most out of my wingmen. I know that this month will be a big learning curve for me as I have never done anything like this before, but I am looking forward to the challenge.


Julie Oakley said...

Small world. The Randalls were friends of my parents - his mother Anne was a very funny flamboyant personality.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Julie,
Were you in primary school those years? We were living at Nukutatava or Vatuadova 1971-4 but before that I remember going to Labasa for the Adi Babasiga Festival and there was a whirly-whirly. We were living at Dilkusha (over the river from Nausori) at that time.

Julie Oakley said...

I was 11-14 then and was sent away to English boarding school. My sister had a year at the primary school where all the sugar families lived and then my brother went to the the catholic primary school in the first year that it started. I can't remember all the names of the places but David's writing reminded me that we lived at Vaturekuka at the top of the hill opposite the prison