Monday, June 30, 2008

photos of Cuvu and Kaba Island

from Peceli,
Here are some photos taken in the past few days; including our picnic at Kaba Island, a worship service, school children, and a meke performance.

Thinking about our Anglican friends

from w
It looks like the split is becoming very evident in the Anglican church after the recent Jerusalem meeting - the 'narrow path guys' and the liberals.
We had a herfuffle in the Uniting Church in Australia a few years back - and Resolution 84 was a compromise, though some groups, such as a Fijian group, left the Uniting church as regarded it as too liberal. Usually the Anglican world community is like an umbrella over a whole variety of people with different views, but recently the hard-liners have put their well-shod feet down!

I wonder where the Anglican church folk in Fiji fit in? Liberal or conservative?

Are the Anglicans quaking and shaking after the Jerusalem meet?
What are 300 Anglican clergy doing in Jerusalem? By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
Some 300 bishops - a third of the Anglican bishops in the world - arrived in Jerusalem this week to attend the Global Anglican Future Conference, organized by the traditionalist wing of the church, which is opposed to ordaining homosexual bishops. GAFCON is being staged as a rival to next month's Lambeth Conference in London, the Anglican Communion's main event held every 10 years. GAFCON has drawn some 1,000 participants: bishops, clergymen, and activists from Anglican congregations in 28 countries, led by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.

The rift in the Anglican Communion occured in 2003, when its American wing, the Episcopal Church, ordained the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. That move also caused ripples among traditionalist Anglican bishops, many of them in Africa, who have long claimed that their liberal colleagues were evading the commitment to adopt a Christian lifestyle in accordance with the Old and the New Testament. The decision to hold a rival conference was reached at a gathering last December in Kenya.

Even though the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, did not lend his support to Robinson's ordination, and even refused to meet Robinson during a visit to London, he angered the traditionalists when he invited the Episcopal Church leaders who had ordained him to the Lambeth Conference.

According to one of the organizers, the purpose of GAFCON is "to emphasize our connection to Jesus' life and the Bible, while we stand in prayer in the place where he walked."

And here's another explanation of the rift. From Rev John Davis, Melbourne.
The Anglican Church will split because the members approach important truths very differently…. The acceptable basis for fellowship is the 39 Articles of 1562, in their completeness.. Sad because Anglicanism has always embraced a broader understanding of being Church. Not surprising because the article is reflecting a similar sort of attitude to that of the Archbishop of Sydney in his declaring that neither he nor any of his bishops will be attending the Lambeth Conference… To the assertion that ‘historically, Anglicans have found their unity in commonly held beliefs… and expressed their unity in common prayer and worship, rather than in a particular single confessional response to a series of doctrinal propositions… Too much talk of truth and not enough of love….

The formularies of our Church are clear about where we need to look for guidance It is very hard to see how a boycott of the Lambeth Conference by some bishops from Australia and Africa can in any way assist in the working through of these difficulties. Lambeth happens only once every ten years. It is one of the four so-called ‘instruments of unity’ in the Anglican Communion. Another is the person and office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. A direct snub of two out of the four instruments is not a bad start towards complete breakdown; if that is the direction you want to go in.

I suspect however that ‘unity at any price’ is no longer acceptable to anyone. That is why it actually is a real possibility that there will be institutional division. Hard-liners at either end of the spectrum might bring this about. By not being prepared to talk or to pray or to worship together with all those who have found themselves in this Anglican tradition by choice or birth, they instead only find fellowship with that ever-decreasing number of those with whom they have complete agreement. That is sad for it leaves out either the Holy Spirit or, more broadly, God’s grace. It is to the grace-filled generosity expressed in Ephesians 1 that I would appeal. The thanksgiving and the joy are apparent. Grim disapproval is not.
Is there way forward? Perhaps it remains a matter of attempting once again, as ever, to discern what are ‘first order’ and therefore communion breaking matters of difference, and what are ‘second order’ questions, where we can agree to differ. That has been the Anglican way. If there is not consensus, it means that from time to time we lose the extremes, but the centre holds... Of course it is not tidy. It has never satisfied the rigorists. But it is a way to God that has been found to be inviting and sustaining and transforming for a wide range of people. It continues to be so.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reminded of the movie, The Mouse that Roared

from w
When I read this small item in today's news from Fiji I was reminded of a very funny film called 'The Mouse that Roared' about a tiny country who capitalised upon a dispute with a large country. Writing to Bill Gates....well, I think he has retired now anyway and it would be prudent to get into his good books with his generosity and philanthropic foundation. And the word 'Fiji' would be good advertising for free! Nice spelling error too.
Mircosoft on noticeMonday, June 30, 2008

Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has put Microsoft Corporation on notice over the use of the word ‘Fiji’ in a new operating system. In a letter to Microsoft owner Bill Gates, Sayed-Khaiyum says government asserts its absolute ownership over the use of the word ‘Fiji’ and reserves all its rights under all relevant laws to protect and defend the use of the word ‘Fiji.’

He says government unreservedly objects to the use of the word ‘Fiji’ and he has instructed Microsoft to immediately cease and desist with any use of the word ‘Fiji’ in relation to its products now or in the future.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds not withstanding government’s objection and without prejudice to any of its rights government is prepared to enter into talks with Microsoft Corporation on the issue.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bus trips in Vanua Levu

from w
I came across this post about riding the buses in Vanua Levu. Not a happy kind of trip but it's honest. On this Babasiga blog it's dishonest to just tell the very best stories.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tripped Out from Labasa

Healed from our sunburns, brown and thoroughly peeled, we are happy to report that we survived our latest side adventure: a trip to the northern-shore town of Labasa [Lambasa].

Labasa, with its 25,000 inhabitants, is the largest town on Vanua Levu and the 4th largest in Fiji. It is almost famously unremarkable and known only for its sugar mill and a complete lack of tourist appeal. That's why tourists almost never go there - except, of course, for the ones who like to venture out "off the beaten path" and endure probably the most arduous bus ride in the South Pacific. The only reason to visit Labasa is not the town, but the trip itself, since the two bus routes that take you there are famously picturesque and worth seeing. There is the "short" and paved route through the central part of the island, which is relatively comfortable and harmless, and then there's the "long" route that takes you along almost the whole eastern half of the island and upon completion of which you deserve a medal for bravery and patience, especially if you ventured to take this route for pleasure and not out of sheer necessity. But I'll get to that in a sec.

So, we took the short bus route to Labasa first. It took us along the Savusavu Bay and into the mountains of the interior where the bus would creep laboriously up the steep inclines and then roar down them dangerously. Sometimes, the surrounding hills were so steep that we saw waterfalls falling vertically off their sides without trees even obstructing the view.

As soon as we got through the mountains, a green plane opened up in front of us - the first flat land bigger than a football field we've seen in almost 3 months! The vegetation in the north of the island looked familiar, but strangely out of place in Fiji: we saw patches of pine forest, green meadows and fields of sugar cane. Completing the botanical confusion were the occasional massive bamboo bushes and coconut palm groves. Seeing the conifers reminded both of us of the northern climates we come from and, I must admit, made me personally long for a whiff of cold winter mountain air.

Labasa wasn't entirely bad - it was just another busy, loud and oven-hot Indian market town. The mid-day heat was lethal and air-conditioning scarce, so we sort of hopped around different shops looking for a hard-to-find item for Hans (a rotating can opener, more specifically) and then we went to check out the nearby sugar mill, which was closed for the season, unfortunately. In the evening, we went to see the only movie playing in the only theater in town. Alas, it was a Hindi movie, and though we swore before that we'll never see another Bollywood production again, our movie theater withdrawal was too strong and we couldn't resist.

The movie Baabul was, like probably all Bollywood movies, a simple and overly sappy love story that dragged on so slowly that it seemed to unfold in real time. (And the movie covered a few years!) Ryan was writhing in mental agony next to me, while I was getting a kick out of the cheerful dance sequences and the male protagonist's stylishly trimmed beard. There was a bit of a drama and social commentary in the last ten minutes, but by that point we were ready to escape into the streets!

Thus we exhausted pretty much all that Labasa offers in terms of activities, spent a night in the Riverview Hotel, from which we had no river view, and the next morning we were back on a bus to Savusavu - this time the one with the "long" route.

The first part of the trip lead through more sugar cane fields and was mercifully paved. Within 2 hours, though, the tar gave way to a bumpy and dusty back road and we started climbing ominously higher and higher into the thick bush again, getting swallowed by the overgrown jungle, from which we would emerge only on precariously steep climbs with sweeping views. On some of these inclines, it seemed that the bus was on its last legs - spewing clouds of black smoke and creeping up the hill so slowly that it seemed it would roll back any moment and hurl us down the mountain. But, miraculously, the extremely rugged Fijian bus never failed to get up on those hills or brake on the way down and we didn't get stuck by the road side 4 hours away from the nearest phone. (Only once did we have to coast down the hill in reverse to get a better running start up the hill.) And since the bus, like most Fijian buses, didn't have any glass in its windows, it was a breezy, safari-like ride, with clouds of dust and an occasional branch penetrating inside.

All along the way, we rode through villages so remote that the daily passing of the bus looked like an event in itself. Groups of locals were gathered at each bus stop, either sending off or welcoming people, or just sitting around, waiving at the passing travelers. And everywhere we stopped people would load countless pieces of luggage, rice bags filled with taro* and other crops through the windows and stuff them wherever they would fit them - on, under or between the seats. (Grabbing and loading other people's stuff is a part of the unwritten Fijian bus-travel etiquette and we were involved in the ritual a few times, as well. Just grab the stuff people hand to you through the window and give it to someone behind you who will stow it away.) Since Ryan and I sat in the back of the bus, we were eventually completely boxed in into our seats by loads of bags, rolled up mattresses and bunches of kava root.

*note: Taro and other crops are the only things freely available everywhere in Fiji, yet the locals always have a need to bring their own supply wherever they go, perhaps just in case the other town/village ran out...?

We rode forever - until the shadows grew longer, our spines felt impacted and every single pore on our bodies was covered with road dust. The views from the bus were sometimes quite beautiful, but overall, the ride was fun because it was so unbelievably out of the ordinary - and so Fijian.

And since Ryan and I were the only 2 people who stayed on the bus for the entire 8-hour trip, I really believe that we deserved some sort of a "Completed-the-most-arduous-bus-ride-in-the Pacific" medal.

We haven't done much after recovering from the trip. The sun and heat are back on and they don't allow doing much during the day. The sunset is too short to do much except for snorkeling to the one good coral reef nearby that we've already seen dozens of times. We've met some weather-beaten yachties at the yacht club and seen many movies on our DVD. After 3 months in Fiji, we're definitely missing the cold and can't wait to get to New Zealand.

I'll end with that. Be back soon with some delicious local recipes.
Posted by InfiniteView at 14:14

In Cuvu

from Peceli,
I am still in Cuvu and it has been a very good week. One day I went with some ministers to Lautoka to visit the Rotary village where Peter Drysdale has established houses for poor people. Our latest container from Geelong should arrive soon for them.

Another day I went with the Talatala Qase to the so mate in Nawaka after their chief had passed away. Yesterday we were visiting the country schools with Talatala Qase and it was very encouraging to see that the Computers are working and they appreciated the DIK gifts.

Today after the morning session will go to the Island of Kaba for a picnic and masumasu and it look like a very good day. There are no more photos for now as I haven't been able to get to an internet cafe in Sigatoka lately. I hope to get to Suva by Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How do you manage overweight luggage?

from w
It's always an irksome business trying to juggle overweight luggage when you fly over to Fiji by Qantas or Air Pacific (the same plane anyway). Twenty kilos is the proper limit, though you can usually manage a few more. If you are charged, it is now at least $18A a kilo so you don't want to pay that for a couple of tins of Milo. Because you want to take gifts and lots of stuff for relatives and the village, more than half the luggage isn't for yourself anyway. Those Tongan bags (blue, red and white striped) are a common sight at the check-in, as you stuff them full of op-shop clothes etc. to give away. Coming back from Fiji is different. Some of our relatives come back very light - as everything is given away - even come back shoeless! We usually bring back kava, mats, coconut oil, Fiji Times, and not much else!

A drawing in an Australian paper gives one solution; wear all your clothes on your back. Thanks Simon Letch for the funny picture.

For the story associated with Simon's picture go to this site.

In the village in Cuvu

from Peceli
Here is a photo of Jerry's house in the village where I am staying and also me on the beach. The weather is beautiful and life is very good here.
from Wendy,
Hey, when you take a photo check out where the sun is and don't point towards it!

Fix the roads for the sugar trucks please!

from w,
Relatives told me that they are ready to start cane-cutting in Labasa, but now I read that because the roads are so bad, farmers can't get their can to the Labasa mill.
Hey guys, fix those roads quickly instead of all these talk-fests in Suva. The ordinary people need the potholes fixed urgently!

from tonight's news:
Rain hampers supply at Labasa MillTuesday, June 24, 2008

The Labasa Mill did not begin crushing today as scheduled. This was due to a dismal cane supply as a result of the wet weather. National Farmers Union executive officer Rosan Lal says poor cane supply is largely due to the fact that it rained heavily yesterday afternoon further deteriorating road conditions.

Most of the cane harvested yesterday has not been transported to the mills.

“Yes we are still witnessing very poor road conditions especially in Seaqaqa areas where a majority of the farmers have not started harvesting their cane due to the fact that they know they won’t be able to take out the cane in that kind of road so they are still waiting for the government departments to address the situation and there’s a dire need for the authorities to go out and look at the road conditions themselves so that they can assess the situation. While we have been having meetings this has been to no avail and we are hoping that these people can come on board and see what has been happening on the grounds so that problems related to the start of the crush are avoided."

Lal adds the season does not promise much hope for farmers –if basic infrastructure like roads is not improved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is tribewanted still going strong?

from w, I don't know if this is really a recent post, or they gave up on blogs on their site a month or two ago. Anyway this is about Tevita, community manager on Vorovoro Island.

Tevita's challenge to Fiji

By Jale, Vorovoro, Fiji Posted 5 days ago
(as interviewed and scribed by Adam Pacey)

As the Community Manager, Tevita passionately describes himself as the bridge between Fiji and the world as they visit Vorovoro through the Tribe Wanted project. There is no doubt it is a role of tremendous responsibility but also one which Tevita finds exceptionally rewarding. With his finger directly on the pulse of everything that is happening on Vorovoro Tevita decided he wanted to provide a monthly blog to allow everyone to share in these rewards and hear how he sees and feels the project progressing. Welcome to the first of those blogs.

First and foremost, the most important message that Tevita wants to get across in this opening blog is how strong the community spirit is on the island. That is not the spirit of Team Fiji and the spirit of the visiting Tribe separately, but it is the spirit of Vorovoro as a unified and thriving Fijian village. As Community Manager Tevita is constantly alert to the mood on the island and throughout his community, and he is keen to stress how tremendously proud he is everyday seeing the village pull together as one to work on the ongoing projects and further the two way cultural enrichment that is happening here. It is important to him now to keep this momentum going so all the world can experience it. Just last week, for example, the Tribe and Team Fiji decided for the first time since the project began that they wanted to eat together as one at regular intervals. Sure enough a couple of days later and a delicious banquette was laid on for all in the Grand Bure. It was a great evening, enjoyed by all, but best of all he says it was not prompted by him or by the Tribe Wanted staff it was a community driven intiative that came about through a genuine feeling of togetherness and simply because it felt right. That is the Fijian way. Tevita sums it up perfectly by saying it is just like building a Bure – your foundations must be solid and the rest of the building will be solid and long lasting. On Vorovoro the community spirit is the foundations and he is very happy to report the foundations of Vorovoro are very solid.

Tevita looks upon Vorovoro like any other Fijian community and he constantly aims to ensure that in work, rest and play it operates and functions as such. This is working. It is really working both for the world and for Fiji. There is no greater testament to this than when other Fijian Chiefs visit Vorovoro and are both surprised and impressed by the truly traditional Fijian reception they receive and how accurately Fijian customs are being followed. Throughout Fiji, Tevita has observed the gradual fading and disappearance of the traditions and cultural richness which he and his team is now nurturing so successfully on Vorovoro. Perhaps only 10% of Fijian villages are still practicing these traditions he estimates and goes on to say that if there were a competition on Fijian culture and tradition across Fiji he is confident that Vorovoro would do very well! It is this he says that leads visitors to the island to constantly ask himself and Tui Mali “how did you achieve this?” or to call them ‘lucky’. Tevita’s response is simple … “what is happening here comes from the heart”. He explains that every member of the community on Vorovoro is passionate about what is happening here and is keen to learn and participate, and once that passion is in place then the rest is relatively easy. To learn a Meke, or Kava Ceremony etiquette, or the traditional Fijian greetings only takes moments he says, but their cultural importance is timeless. So the question is not really for him or for Tui Mali, or for Vorovoro but it is for the rest of Fiji … when will the rest of Fiji feel the same passion for their culture again. The people of the world are interested and are learning Fijian culture and traditions now … the people of Fiji should be proud and embrace their tradition and culture too. That is Tevita’s challenge to Fiji.

Everything is moving in the right direction and the coming month has plenty in store. New pathways and landscaping to protect the grass during the dry season, the finishing touches to the new Team Fiji bure, clearing up and raising the new gardens and Fruitopia, amongst many other things are all positive improvements and take us ever closer to being a fully self sustainable Fijian village. Culturally there will also be good progress and Tevita is particularly looking forward to developing and practicing new Meke’s and to the tribe getting to grips with the full Kava mat ceremony which it is planned will be performed for the first time at the Tribe Wanted 2nd Year anniversary.

Finally Tevita says he is very excited about the Fijian language lessons, that started today. As the method by which mankind communicates thoughts, ideas and feelings and, perhaps most appropriately, passes on culture and tradition he has no doubt this will be an important addition to the Tribe Wanted experience.

And this is something new! I've never seen the Mali women with hula hoops before!

A Qantas travel story

from w
This is more-or-less a true story told to me by a close relative, this time not about Air Pacific but about Qantas.

Come fly with me

'You'll just have to hold my hand. Stop me from panicking,' Kathy instructed as Hedley bought return tickets - Melbourne to Perth - for a week's holiday. Kathy's a nurse, Hedley's a potato farmer, and they've been a couple for two years. So far, holidays had been by car to Tamworth for the music.

'No worries,' he answered with a smile. 'It's only a four-hour flight.'

They had not booked on the cheaper no-frills plane, but in the one with the excellent track record. The trip to Perth went sweetly as Kathy sat in an aisle seat, not too far back. She breathed deeply and just grabbed Hedley's hand. The week in Perth was beautiful, using a rental car, with a trip to Busseltown, no cooking to do, lots of sightseeing.

On Sunday they arrived at the Perth airport by midday and had two hours to wait.

'Bad news, ' said an official-looking woman with a white stripe in her hair. 'The plane has engine trouble in Adelaide. Won't be coming. 'There are a hundred and twenty passengers booked. We'll get you out of here. Meanwhile have a two-hour bus tour of Perth this afternoon. You'll leave at midnight!'

More peering at the sights. Kathy just shrugged and looked, while Hedley put on his sunglasses and slept.

At midnight there was news. 'We've organised to get you all back to Melbourne,' said a different airport staff officer, a man with a hint of make-up on. 'With just a little detour.'

Kathy complained, 'I have to get back to work!' Hedley also had to get the spud crop dug up.

'There's twenty seats available in the morning, so we've put most of you on the detoured flight that goes via Cairns, ' said another staff officer, with plucked eyebrows.

'What! Cairns is at the top of Queensland!' shouted Kathy.

'Don't worry Madam. We're not charging you extra for the longer distance.'

'Hey, wait a minute. Cairns isn't even near Melbourne!' muttered Hedley, calculating.

Well, that's the way they went, flying over the Northern Territory, into Queensland and landed at Cairns. The clothes Kathy wore were too heavy as the place was muggy and hot by morning. They flew to Brisbane, stopped an hour, then to Sydney, waited two hours, then to Melbourne. It took 24 hours from Perth to Melbourne! Kathy was too exhausted to worry now about her claustrophobia.

Dirty and tired, but not hungry because of all the snacks at each stopover, they drove home to Geelong, dumped their cases in the lounge room. Hedley put on the kettle for a cuppa. Kathy lay on the sofa, shoes chucked away. She pressed the TV remote control.

A program was just starting. This is your life. Sixty years of our wonderful Australian airline Qantas. Happy birthday!

' And, I still call Australia home,' sang Hedley in a gritty kind of tenor.

When she threw the TV remote at him, he dodged. The teacups flew in the air and smashed on the polished parquetry floor next to the discarded airline tickets.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A dream job in Levuka

from w
I read an article in today's Fiji Times of an English girl with a dream job in Levuka - working at the library as a volunteer - a kind of GAP year experience though it's her second round at a volunteer year overseas.

Levuka is my favourite place. (Apart from Labasa ha ha!) Australian Volunteers Abroad, GAP year experiences, the Peace Corp are all opportunities for young men and women from the richer countries to widen their views by experiencing life in another culture.

But what about the kids from places like Fiji? Wouldn't it be great if there was a similar one-year peace corp experience for them? It doesn't happen though because helping the family, studying, looking for a job is a priority.

It's a privilege for young people from the richer countries to be able to travel easily and find a task that's appropriate for their passions. I went to Fiji as an art teacher when I was 23 and stayed and stayed for many years!

London lass likes to stay
Monday, June 23, 2008

MILES from home can be difficult but for Clare Deacon, the challenge is an exciting one. The 24-year-old is a volunteer worker from GAP Activity Project which arranges placements for volunteers from places such as the United Kingdom and Ireland to work in schools and institutions around the world. Clare is a volunteer staff at the Levuka library and museum. Originally from Orpington in England, she is the eldest of two children. Her mother Elaine is a legal secretary while her father Terry works as an information technology consultant. Growing up in the suburban town south of London, Clare and her brother had a happy and normal childhood. She initially wanted to be a veterinarian because she was always around animals.

"I had a good upbringing," Ms Deacon said. "I grew up around animals especially a lot of cats. Life was pretty normal for us. I attended primary school at Warren Road from Class One to Class Six and later at Priory Secondary. It was in a counsel estate which is something like Raiwaqa here. I had a good experience at school. My primary school was very middle class, very white but secondary was different. There were a lot of mixed races so it was an eye-opener for me."

When she was 18, she joined GAP where she spent four months as an English teacher in a small village in Peru. Living overseas was a challenge for her especially when she had to adapt to the culture and lifestyle in Peru. She said language was a barrier but with confidence she was able to learn. "I lived with a local family in San Salvador. I was a volunteer for English, art and sports. However, in 2006 I completed my university degree in International development at Norwich. I then worked in London for a charitable organisation called Greater London Enterprises. At the same time I was looking for a job overseas. I found out about Fiji through the GAP Activity Projects and I applied and was posted to work with the National Trust of Fiji in Suva."

She arrived in the country in January this year.She has been living with a local family and says she loves every minute of it, especially the new things she found out. Before she moved to Levuka, Clare spent a few weeks at the Sigatoka sand dunes before she was transferred to the library on Ovalau.

"I really like Fiji. It is a good and beautiful place. and the people are so good. I will be in Fiji until September when I have to go back but I want to extend my stay. I will wait and see if there are other projects. At the moment, I love working here in the library and love helping people...The library is a good way to help develop and broaden people's knowledge."

Adapting to the Fijian lifestyle was something she found challenging at first but Clare maintains that the experience has been worthwhile.She has learned to be a more confident and independent person. Her advice to people in general is to grab every opportunity that life presents. "If you are shy, you will never know what you can achieve with every opportunity."

While she may not have turned out to be a vet as she wanted, Clare has been a vegetarian since university. She said if she could not be a vet then being a vegetarian was the closest way to express her passion and care for animals.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where's my luggage?

from w
I didn't know whether to laugh or what when I phoned Peceli in Cuvu around midday today. He flew to Fiji yesterday - Melbourne - Sydney - Nadi. I said, 'All your luggage got there okay? The two bags?' I was only joking... but his reply floored me. 'No. They're still in Sydney! Twenty two of us didn't get our bags!' I wanted to laugh but couldn't because I was thinking of tourists with kids, people with connecting flights, etc. It's okay for Peceli as he's staying with friends and can borrow clothes, and I guess his bible and sermons were in his backpack anyway. That's all he needed for today! Peceli said that Air Pacific staff told them the luggage would come today or tomorrow. Well, that's life. Sega na leqa.

Then I did a google search on Air Pacific, lost baggage etc. and found numerous stories and many complaints. Hmmm. Not good enough. One story was funny though - not Air Pacific - a woman with twenty bags of luggage got all hers intact while others had their bags left behind. Maybe it's about too much overweight luggage. Surely with computers these days someone could double-check lists of passengers with lists of baggage and make it all work!

from Peceli,
I am so happy to be in Rukurukulevu especially being with the family of Mereula and Jerry. They stay close to the beach with beautiful surroundings. I had a big church Service that went well and had a good lunch - magiti, uvi, and dalo, fish with lolo, and duruka. The weather here is beautiful and I had to bath in cold water this morning.

(and on Monday morning) Last night the Air Pacific Staff delivered my lost suit cases at home in Rukurukulevu thank goodness. Vinaka Air Pacific.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What kind of bio-fuel for Fiji?

(added later - Saturday) The cartoon is from Fiji Times and in Saturday's paper the editorial examines the dangers of building an ethanol plant near Navuso. The gist of the article is that careful surveys need to be done on the environmental impact of a plant near important rivers and some villagers, such as poisoning the water before signing any huge contracts!

from w
Looks like China and Australia (if you believe the Fiji papers and media!) are keen to set up bio-fuel production. From cassava? From sugar bi-products? From something else again? Or are these spinning like a top handouts for the media to show the imterim guys are doing something serious? Or scams or wish-lists?
Fiji TV: today
One National News
New plan for bio-fuel production
19 Jun 2008 01:51:22

A Two Billion dollar deal on a Bio-Fuel project is expected to be finalized soon. The Department of Energy can now reveal that an Australian company is footing the bill, and if all goes well, it could generate employment opportunities for locals. Elpicon power systems limited is a Sydney based company; it's listed as a power engineering and contracting firm made up of professional engineers. This is the department of Energy's top choice to spearhead what will soon become the biggest Bio-Energy project in the Pacific.

Mohammed Ali the company's Managing Director, who is originally from Rewa, has been working behind the scenes for 6 years about this project.

Elpicon's inclusion in the project will soon be formalised by Cabinet, along with full details on how it will operate, but one thing the company is focusing on is un-cultivated land.

Vosarogo adds, once the project is fully operational, it will generate new employment opportunities for about 8 to 9 thousand people.

Other details currently being clarified include the ownership of the new company set to be established next year, which will administer the 2 billion dollar project.

The agreement for the project is expected to be ready next month.

And from today's Fiji Times:
State seeks ethanol production plant site
Thursday, June 19, 2008

LANDS and Mineral Resources Minister Netani Sukanaivalu has not finalised the location of the ethanol production plant although Cabinet has agreed to spend about $50million on it. Mr Sukanaivalu said the ethanol option was a long term plan for the benefit of Fiji.

The Department of Energy has potential sites in Naitasiri.

The interim Government is placing more emphasis on bio-fuel and renewable energy compared to previous governments.

Earlier a deal was signed between a Chinese company and the Vanua Developments Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the NLTB, to enter into a joint venture to produce ethanol from cassava.

While there is huge prospect for Fiji, the production of raw materials remains a concern.

At a recent workshop, principle agriculture officer Aliki Turagakula said Fiji must be able to supply enough cassava to ensure the project remains viable. Mr Turagakula said a minimum of 50,000 tonnes of ethanol per year equals 500,000 tonnes of cassava or 1500 tonnes daily. Mr Sukanaivalu, who is in Vanua Levu surveying potential sites for geo-thermal energy, said Fiji needs steam to be around 250 to 300 degrees celsius to make the geo-thermal project viable.

"Right now we're paying 40 to 50 cents per kilo watt but with geo-thermal we'll pay around 11-14 cents," Mr Sukanaivalu said.

And then again there may be new tricks up sleeves as Peceli has discovered an even better source of bio-fuel from a weedy kind of tree that grows wild in Fiji - in Davuilevu they used to make fences from it. Very rich in oil. Low technology even. Not telling yet though!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Queen's Birthday - relevant to us all or not?

from w
A funny editorial in the Fiji Daily Post looks at the relevance of Betty Windsor in today's world. I wonder how many homes in Fiji still have old, tattered, newspaper portraits of England's royalty? How relevant are they now?

Truly, an amazing tradition

WHEN the Queen and her family sat down to breakfast yesterday, do you think she spared a thought that half a world away in far flung islands of the South Pacific, normality had been suspended for Tomasi of Tavua, for Leba of Labasa, for Mohammad of Navua and Dirend of Davuilevu so that along with the rest of their fellow citizens in a coup-affected banana republic such as Fiji, their affections, and those of the nation could be transfixed for twenty-four hours on the idea that they were blessed by the day that she was born? As her corgies perhaps looked on, would Elizabeth the Second have rejoiced that a working day in a beleaguered corner of the 180th meridian of her Commonwealth continued to be set aside so that its citizens could celebrate the fact that she, a monarch born 82 years ago in England, could in 2008, still hold sway over their lives?

Would the regent of Buckingham, Windsor and Balmoral have smiled with pleasure that no matter how coup-depleted our economy had become, no matter how difficult life was for the poor and struggling among us, no matter how preoccupied we were with restoring a just democracy, we could still afford to set aside one day in our calendar year to contemplate
Her Majesty’s importance and relevance to our national life?

While the Queen is undoubtedly a person of significance in the history of the British Empire, the Commonwealth, and Fiji, and undoubtedly a person whose birthdays deserve public acclamation among her ethnic and aristocratic kith and kin, we are a long way from the days described by poet laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson: ‘Son, be welded, each and all into one imperial whole, One with Britain, heart and soul! One life, one flag, one fleet, one Throne!’ A new world has entered Fiji’s consciousness since Ratu Sukuna promised the Great Council of Chiefs five decades ago that ‘we Fijians are a race of people who by tradition have always been accustomed to pay respect to the Throne’ and that ‘our loyalty and respect to our (new) Queen will continue steadfast as before’.

The question of just what the Queen represents in this day and age in this part of the world is moot. Her own British people are now part of the European Union. The orientation of her governments are less and less centered on how those who were once part of the greatest empire on the planet are faring. For most in the indigenous Pacific, the Queen is now, at best, a symbol of an interesting chapter of our history and a curious reminder of how deep, past affections and traditions can extend into this post-colonial, post-modern present. Many are glad, no doubt, for having another day off work, for another public holiday, but the cause for it in this republican era of Fiji’s independence will seem a tad contrived until Her Majesty’s abiding influence and mutual concern for our national political good can again be demonstrated.

A consultation a year ago

from w
For anyone interested here is a website detailing the events of a Consultation in Fiji last year for the Hindi-speaking Methodist congregations - in Fiji and groups formed in the diaspora - including Australia and Canada. It is a comprehensive and detailed report written by an Aussie clergyman, Graeme Sutton who is the Uniting Church minister at Dandenong. The report. or if that doesn't open try:

Monday, June 16, 2008

What a player!

from Peceli
Woods’ birdie putt on No. 18 forces U.S. Open playoff
This morning I watched the USOpen and what a fine match with Tiger Woods getting in there on the 18th, so there will be a play-off tomorrow. I didn't go to my usual golf this morning because the car needed a new battery so I watched TV instead and learnt a few things about keeping calm and keeping in there!
(Next morning) After another 18 holes it equal again! Then in the playoff Tiger Woods does it. What a player!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

When Nayau is too far away

from w
Because Fiji families are scattered over different parts of the world these days, there is extra grief when a member of the family dies in Fiji. Our friend Selai who lives in Geelong lost her Dad over a week ago. He was 78, lived on Nayau Island in Lau and was riding his horse to another village to prepare for the Sunday worship, and he fell. After a few days he passed away but many of his children were just too far away to attend the funeral. So here in Geelong a few friends visited Selai as soon as we heard the news, and then last night, Selai cooked a special dinner for a few friends as part of the ritual of remembering. We had kava, prayer and a meal together. In Fiji there are special gatherings after 4 days, 10 days, 40 days, but now some customs are adapted somewhat. Here are a few photos of some of the guests last night and one of the tables of the food prepared by Selai.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Melbourne welcome to Rev Iliesa Naivalu

from Peceli
Last Sunday Rev Iliesa Naivalu was formally welcomed by the Melbourne Uniting Church into the responsibility of the pastoral care of the Melbourne Fijian congregation at Chadstone and the wider work of the Uniting Church. It was a grand occasion with many visitors and Fiji people. I took a few photos on the day of the Induction Service, the Dandenong Choir, and the front row showing Ratu Eferemi Naivalu, Tepola Naivalu, Lisa Meo and Rev Jovili Meo.

Click on pictures to enlarge if you like.

Happy birthday to our youngest son

picture pinched from a mother and child magazine I 'borrowed' at a cafe. Yes, there was lots of music at that time.

Labasa hospital was full that day, June 12th, with Fijian, Indian, Chinese woman and me and before the night was out a bonny boy was born, 9 pounds 6 ounces, the biggest lad in the hospital. At twenty cents a day, and I stayed in two days, it was not as expensive process as modern days. Two days later my sister-in-law Evia gave birth to another boy, so these little kids tumbled and toddled around the cane farm and down at Nukutatava beach together. They were nicknamed Bibi and Bebe at that time. Now my lad is half Peceli's age! Here's a picture of our three boys when they were about 5,8, and 7, sitting up a tree.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harry Yee from Labasa passes on

from Peceli,
I read in today's Fiji Times that Harry Yee, the elderly man from Labasa, 101, has passed on. His grand-daughter had told us last week (in a comment on our earlier blog posting about Harry Yee) that this had happened. I knew Harry as everyone did in Labasa over those years.

Centurion passes onSERAFINA SILAITOGA
Thursday, June 12, 2008

PIONEER businessman and oldest surviving Chinese businessman of Labasa Yee Foon Gau or commonly known as Harry Yee, who died a fortnight ago, was laid to rest last week. Mr Yee died a month away from his 102nd birthday. And even at the age of 101, Mr Yee, who arrived in Labasa in 1929, continued to do business from his Yuen Hing Store, which sits in the heart of Labasa Town.

Mr Yee arrived in Fiji in 1927 from Hoi Ping, China and worked in a vegetable farm in Tamavua before attending Saint Paul's Chinese School in Suva to learn English for about a year. During his young days, he worked for Kwong Tiy's in Suva, Labasa, Lekutu and Nagumu in the North where he was a bread delivery boy walking miles to Vuo Village outside Labasa Town where the government hospital sat. He also walked to the Vaturekuka prison and town area to deliver bread which he carried in baskets tucked under his arms.

Mr Yee, in a Sunday Times profile interview last year, mentioned how Labasa Town had no vehicles at all when he arrived and only four wooden buildings in the town area. He said in the interview that people those days only travelled by boat or on horseback to do their shopping from the four shops in town.

Mr Yee also mentioned how there was no telephones, no electricity, no market and no nightclubs. He labelled the town of the early days as an innocent town that did not care much about alcohol and night life but about the welfare of the people.

Mr Yee, who is survived by his four children, was the founder and president of the Labasa Chinese Community and started the work of the Chinese cemetery which led to its construction outside the town.

He was a member of the Fiji Red Cross Society and Old People's Home.

Business people, chiefs and community members of Labasa gathered at his funeral to farewell the last of the pioneer businessman of Labasa who saw the town's fortunes and wane through the years.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A truckload of mattresses

from w
Oh dear! A truck going to Labasa was intercepted in the Seaqaqa region carrying very sweet smelling mattresses. Here's a picture that tells it all - from the Fiji Times. Okay, okay, it's not funny. We do not want our youth wasted on this awful dope and we want the police to be vigilant and catch the stupid people who do not think of the consequences of marijuana and other drugs that may cause bi-polar and other disorders.

More on Pacific Islanders as labourers

from w
The ABC radio Pacific Beat ran a discussion last week on the topic and raised an interesting point which I have highlighted in the transcript below - that of the social implications - isolation of some workers from their families - and a solution to bring groups of people from one village/community and to develop a network or relationship between the farming community in Australia and a Pacific island village group. Already many Pacific Islanders who do legally or illegally work on farms do so to help build a church or community hall, etc. back home. That has been the reason for groups of people going to places like New Zealand even forty years ago.

Plans for Pacific Islanders to work in Australia
Updated Wed Jun 4, 2008 2:53pm AEST

Windows Media
More Pacific Stories:

Australian horticultural organisations are refinning (sp.!) their proposals for Pacific Islanders to come and work in Australia to plug seasonal labour shortages. The national lobby group Horticulture Australia, has submitted a proposal to the federal government for a trial program inviting Pacific Islanders to work in communities in 5 states and the Northern territory. Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has promised Pacific Island leaders he will make announcement on the future of a seasonal labour scheme at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Niue in August.

Presenter: Alice Plate
Speaker:Kris Newton, CEO of Horticulture Australia

PLATE: The pilot proposes a three year scheme that would employ at least two-and-a-half-thousand people across 11 horticultural regions around Australia, with workers staying between three and six months.

But a scheme in New Zealand has already been criticised for not providing enough social support for seasonal workers, who were often isolated from family, with some turning to gambling or alcohol.

But CEO of the Horticultural Australia Council, Kris Newton, said they have developed a scheme which aims to avoid the mistakes of the past.

NEWTON: One of the issues that we had with the New Zealand model is that it's based on labour hire, contract companies and what we're trying to do is to base ours on the regional model, the community-to-community model. So, for example, an individual village in Fiji or a particular island in Tonga, might have a direct relationship with an individual community here in Australia, that might be Robiinvale, or it might be Bundaberg or whatever, and that would be an ongoing relationship, so we would build understanding, we would build cultural and social support networks at the regional level. We're suggesting that there should be a Regional Steering Committee in each region that's taking on one of the pilots and they would have multilingual liaison from that particular cultural group, as part of the Steering Committee.

PLATE: And who would be on the Steering Committees and who would fund all that?

NEWTON: What we have chosen for our initial range pilots and that's by no means exhaustive or limited are areas where there are existing infrastructures that we think can be quickly and easily built on, which have representation from, for example, the local council, the local peak horticultural commodity groups within the region, perhaps the economic development groups, and so forth that already exist as the infrastructure. We can add quickly to those by, for example, liaison officers from the community that's coming to the receiving community in Australia.

PLATE: So everyone would burden the costs in that sense?

NEWTON: Exactly, and they would be responsible for against what we suggest should be a national set of selection criteria for employers, they would be responsible for selecting those employers to take part in the pilot who meet the selection criteria. So it's not open slather, it is controlled, but at the regional level.

PLATE: And what are you proposing these workers are paid?

NEWTON: Oh definitely, at a minimum whether their Australian counterparts are so there are awards. Sometimes individual states have awards, but as a fall back or a fault position, there is a national horticulture award 2000 and we're proposing that they should be paid and their conditions and so forth would be as a minimum against that award.

PLATE: Why did you choose to structure the pilot program like this? Why do you think it's going to be beneficial?

NEWTON: Eh, we think it will be beneficial to the growers, because they will have a group of people who over a period of time will become highly skilled, very work ready, when they return on their next visit. So Occupational, Health and Safety risks are reduced dramatically for the workers, as well as for the employers, skills are high, so produce maintains its quality. Next year's production is not compromised potentially by people who don't know, for example, the appropriate way to pick the fruit, or vegetable or nut and also because we think there are significant developmental benefits back in the sending country of the remittances that they take home with them, of the skills that they learn while they are here, and of the self-confidence of knowing that they have a highly valued skill in another country and that they are welcome back next year.

PLATE: So how likely do you think that it is that this pilot proposal will be accepted by the Federal Government and supported and if so, when would this all kick off?

NEWTON: We've put the proposal to government. I'm getting strong signals that this may get support from government. If we can be ready by the end of this year, certainly early next year, when all of our main harvest season starts.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pacific workers welcome but not from Fiji

from w
From today's Herald Sun, Melbourne:Islanders to work in the bushJune 09, 2008 12:00am

AUSTRALIA is preparing for thousands of guest workers from the Pacific as part of a radical plan to ease labour shortages in the bush.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's bold "Pacific solution" will see as many as 5000 islanders granted special visas to work on farms and in vineyards. Cabinet could endorse the migration scheme as early as next week, with the PM keen to unveil his plans to revitalise the region at a meeting with Pacific leaders in August. It will help sweep away the legacy of John Howard's foreign policy.

The former PM had a rocky relationship with many Pacific leaders during his time in power.

The Coalition says it now has an open mind on a guest worker scheme, amid concerns it could undermine the integrity of Australia's migration program - and strip local workers of jobs.

The plan, to be considered by Cabinet on June 19, involves workers from up to five nations - Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu. But Fiji will be black-listed, which could further inflame relations between Canberra and Suva.

Senior government figures have confirmed islanders will be granted visas of up to seven months to work in regional areas. The Government will guarantee they receive Australian-award wages and conditions.

Basic training will be provided in the hope the skills can be used when they return home.

The regional seasonal employment scheme has been successful in New Zealand, where Pacific islanders were restricted to working in horticulture and viticulture.

etc. etc.
Farmers along the Murray River are desperate for workers because Aussies don't want to work in the vines and fruit farms, so there are already plenty of Islanders doing this kind of work, sometimes for under-rate payment, and sometimes illegally. It's hard work but the money can be good. Someone yells a certain word that alerts the illegals to run like mad! But a scheme that is legal will be refreshing and gives hope to Islanders to make some money to give back to village projects and for their family development. But alas, Fiji is excluded this time, and we know why.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Macuata qoliqoli talk

from w
Fiji Times featured an article about a meet at Naduri concerning the qoliqoli areas and tabu on fishing.
Fishing for the future
KATHERINE HOWARD, WWF-Fiji Country Program
Sunday, June 08, 2008

More than 60 villagers from the four tikina of Sasa, Mali, Dreketi and Macuata converged on the chiefly village of Naduri, Macuata Province last week to plan a better future for natural resource management in their region.

A three-day workshop facilitated by the Macuata Provincial Office, WWF-Fiji Country Program (WWF) and partner organisations the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Wetlands International Oceania (WIO) was held in Naduri on May 27-29 for the traditional community leaders and managers of the Qoliqoli (fishing grounds) Cokovata.

Over 60 people, including Ratu Aisea Katonivere, paramount chief of Macuata Province, members of the Qoliqoli Cokovata management committee, fishers, farmers, fish wardens, women's group representatives, Turaga ni Koro (village headmen) from most of the 37 villages in the four tikina and other community members came together to discuss proposed changes to the existing network of tabu areas in Qoliqoli Cokovata.

The existing network of nine tabu sites was established by Macuata qoliqoli managers in 2004, with the assistance of WWF and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA) sites were chosen using the best traditional knowledge and information on fish breeding sites and habitats that was available at the time. Currently, only about 111.5km2 or 8% of Qoliqoli Cokovata is protected from fishing by customary tabu.

Since then, extensive scientific and socio-economic surveying has been carried out in the Qoliqoli Cokovata by WWF and its partner organisations, WCS and WIO. The results of these surveys were returned to the communities as analysis were completed, however, this workshop was the first time the results were presented to everyone at once, in a form appropriate for decision making.

Akisi Bolabola, Sustainable Livelihoods officer at WWF said, "this scientific and socio-economic information, combined with the traditional ecological knowledge of the qoliqoli managers, helped the workshop attendees to identify up to 16 proposed new tabu sites of various sizes.

"The new sites include important habitats such as mangroves, seagrass beds and turtle nesting beaches."

Mangroves and seagrass beds are important nursery areas for young fish; protecting these habitats is vital to ensuring food security for the people of Fiji. Mangroves and coral reefs also help provide protection against storm and tidal damage to coastal villages.

Ms Bolabola went on to describe the next steps of the reconfiguration process. "These proposed new sites will now be discussed by each of the 37 villages in the four tikina. Amongst other things, the potential impact of any new tabu sites on daily subsistence and income will be considered.

The community's views will be fed back to the Qoliqoli Cokovata management committee and Ratu Aisea to make final decisions about which sites to protect from fishing and other harvesting."

Tabu sites, also known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) or no-take zones, are places that are set aside from most, or all, fishing.

They are important because they provide space for fish and invertebrate populations to increase and spill over into the rest of the qoliqoli where they can be fished.

Evidence from the Pacific and around the world has shown that closing off some areas of ocean to fishing can dramatically increase the numbers of fish available for harvest in nearby fishing grounds. More fish and larger individual fish are generally found in MPAs than in fished areas; which also results in increased reproductive output from MPAs, because larger female fish produce many more eggs than smaller ones.

Ms Bolabola said, "While the selection of additional tabu sites is very exciting, this workshop was not just about marine protected areas. The attendees also discussed the connected nature of the land, the rivers and the sea; and how everything that happens on land or in the rivers affects their qoliqoli".

The community representatives discussed plans for protecting forests and replanting trees along cleared edges of rivers to reduce erosion and agricultural run off that can damage the fragile coral reef and seagrass ecosystems in the qoliqoli.

"I think the people of Macuata now have a really good idea of the concept of Ecosystem based management, and how the way land is managed in the upper catchment affects both the rivers and the qoliqoli."

Ratu Aisea said, "It's encouraging to see the holistic conservation approach that is now being taken in Macuata. We as resource owners are beginning to see the results of protecting certain parts of our qoliqoli, which has encouraged us towards nominating new important sites to improve our conservation efforts. The results will benefit all who depend on our fishing ground for food and livelihood."

Ratu Aisea unexpectedly presented a whale's tooth or tabua to the three-NGO team at the end of the workshop to thank them for their ongoing efforts to assist the traditional community managers of the qoliqoli to better manage their fisheries and other natural resources.

Ms Bolabola said, "this reconfiguration activity brought together traditional knowledge and scientific information to map out an effective network of protected areas that will safeguard food security for the people of Macuata, while protecting the internationally important Great Sea Reef ecosystem."

In 2005 the Fiji Government committed to establishing a network of MPAs in 30% of its inshore and offshore fishing areas.

The Qoliqoli Cokovata network of tabu sites is part of the growing network of locally managed marine areas in Fiji that are contributing to this goal. Many other local stakeholders including the rice, cane, timber, tourism and fish buying industries will be invited to an open community information session about the proposed changes to the current network of tabu sites, to be held in Labasa at a later date.

Anyone who is interested in attending this open community information session (date to be confirmed) to learn more about the tabu areas should contact WWF on 331 5533.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Balcony scene in Rome

Is this really a balcony scene or has the crowd behind been added?

Okay, they may have been on a balcony. Anyway I wonder what the pope said to Mere. Maybe, 'Bula vinaka Mere! One of my predecessors visited Fiji one time. I wonder if Fiji is still the way the world ought to be eh?'

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wanted - a director for Tribe Wanted

posted on from Ben Keene's blog:
Wanted: Vorovoro Project Director Year Three
Home → Ben Keene's blog
Tags:Team Fiji Photos

Have you got wings? A real challenge and a remarkable opportunity to live and lead Vorovoro By Bengazi, Devon, UK
Posted 06 May 2008
Responsible for the Tribewanted: Vorovoro project in Fiji

To lead the project on Vorovoro alongside the team, chiefs and tribe members
To manage budgets and accounts for Vorovoro
To manage marketing and sales for Vorovoro in Fiji

Availability in Fiji from mid August 2008 for 12 months
Demonstrate strong cross-cultural leadership experience, preferably in South Pacific involving eco-tourism and/or development work
Demonstrate clinical communication & organisation skills
Instinctive and non-stop social skills with people from all backgrounds & cultures
Comfortable with outdoor, basic lifestyle
Strong interest in sustainable living, culture, adventurous living and people from all backgrounds
Not concerned with a 9-5 work ethic – Vorovoro is 24/7

Full board on Vorovoro
Travel/ Insurance
Pro rata competitive director’s salary
A unique opportunity to lead the project throughout it’s third ‘adult’ year

Send whatever you think we need to see to choose you
Application deadline 30/5/08

By Airoy, Pennsylvania, USA
Posted May 12, 2008 4:01am Just a question? Have we considered posting this on sites such as

I’m sure there are other websites like this in other countries. Perhaps a good place to spend time finding these networks would be in the South Pacific Proper, in places like NZ, AUS, & FIJI.

Should kids have mobile phones at school?

from w
Here's another cartoon pinched from the Fiji Times. The Education Department has banned them in Fiji schools. Okay, but who collects them every morning and gives them back in the afternoon? There are two letters in today's paper discussion the topic of Fiji kids and their mobile phones. Of course this doesn't apply to children up in Navosa in the hills, but mainly to Suva children and the anxiety of parents wanting to know their whereabouts and keep in touch. Of course mobiles being used in classtime is inappropriate but hey guys, it's the year 2008, and technical aids such as vodophones are common. So what do you think?

I wonder if mobile phones are banned in Methodist churches in Fiji? A few fun ring tones would pep up a sermon eh? Jonny Baker told us of a gimmick they used in England - people rang in 'their sins' and a phone answered them 'Your sins are forgiven!' Another time they arranged for all the phones to go off at the same time in the middle of a worship service. It was like a pentecost experience!

World Environment Day

from w
The Fiji Times have a cartoon which is a bit too realistic and over-simplifies the situation of Fiji and a cleaner environment.

One of the stories today on our media (radio and TV) is that Kiribas people are seeking a new home as their islands become drenched with high tides. Tuvalu is the same of course.

So from the small details about cleaning up our environment to serious issues such as the sea rising, it's time to be serious about our world's natural resources. I won't talk about the little fishies in the reefs of Macuata - once we boasted about how responsible our people there were being in making a tabu on the reef, then, blow me down, they messed up when they caught all of those turtles to feed the talatalas at the conference at Naduri. Such are the contradictions of life.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Happy birthday son

from w
June 4th is a special day with the birth of our first child. Happy birthday luveku sia! And here are some photos to remind you of the early years. - Rakiraki, Dilkusha, Labasa. Just add another 35 years and you get a mature, generous, smart guy. But more pics might embarrass the chap!