Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Resilience of Fiji people

If you don't laugh, you would just cry. Sorry if this offends at this difficult time.
from w
I've been watching Channel Nine news here in Oz and they ran a story from Sigatoka as the Fijian Hotel - Shangri La I think it's called - staff have been down to one of the evacuation sites feeding people as no food has yet arrived from government agencies. pic from Fiji Times) The guy remarked on the resilience of the Fiji people in the face of this awesome flood that has disrupted lives and caused so much damage. The Fiji Times ran a story also about this - hey, great publicity for the soft heartedness of the guys at that resort! And then I saw the Fiji Times editorial had picked up on the theme of resilience. It is so true.

I wonder if tourists should still be going to Fiji - an ad was on the TV here yesterday. Should there be special travel warnings. I know that friends here are going in ten days time. I guess the infrastructure is very bad, the towns are in disarray, but at the resorts the staff are still plugging on and of course the reefs and snorkelling are as usual. (See Meg Campbell's blog site. The picture is of Nadi town under flood.

Basic decency is alive
Thursday, January 15, 2009

THE strength and resilience of our people has shone brightly despite the doom and gloom which continues to grip so many individuals, families and communities. Death and destruction has failed to break the will of the thousands of farmers who have lost everything in the floods.

Viria farmer Rajen Kumar - a week before his dalo crop was to be harvested - watched helplessly as the floodwaters poured over and around his fields, destroying a year of work. Nature's fury cost Kumar and his family $10,000 at the very least. Yet Kumar had this to say: "What can I say? I feel really bad but life must go on." And then he returned to his field to start over again in an effort to provide for his family.

Dairy farmers in Tailevu and Naitasiri have been unable to send milk to collection centres yet they must continue to care of their livestock day and night.They will receive no revenue for at least two weeks while floodwaters recede. Government rehabilitation assistance will be slow and the farmers will be forced to fend for themselves for some time. Yet they continue to work in the face of adversity without complaint.

These are the faces of Fiji, the people who get on with their daily lives wanting nothing more than a fair chance to sell their produce and make a decent living.

We have seen a Wainibuka policeman open his home to stranded travellers and provide them with shelter and food. He also allowed travellers to use his telephones to contact relatives and put their minds at ease. Nobody has funded his actions. Constable Peni Sovanatabua was not ordered by his superiors to help those in need.

This Good Samaritan was spurred to action by basic decency and the open, generous heart for which the people of this nation are known.

Strangers have pulled tourists through flooded towns, allowing them to make it in time to the few flights available out of Nadi International Airport. The sick have been carried to hospital on horseback or by friends and relatives. People of all races, religions and beliefs have banded together to offer food, water, clothes, shelter and money towards relief efforts.

In doing so they have shown that despite our differences, the nation will come together when the need arises. Basic decency, respect for human life and kindness towards the afflicted continue to be the cornerstone of our existence.

Charity in this country is not yet dead. There is still hope for a strong, united Fiji if we continue in this vein.


meg said...

wendy your drawing is wonderful! that is almost exactly what they looked like on the beach (only they were singing bula malaya!).

I still haven't been to town. But I can see it will be very hard for people with crops ruined and employment vanishing. It's good some great stories are coming out of it because they should. Our people here have gone all out to try and give guests a comfortable and fun experience during this weather (though as I keep saying we have been very lucky)...

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula Meg,
Okay, I got the idea from your story and photo! Hope you don't mind! I'm double-minded about advising friends about going or not going to Fiji in a week's time. The resorts want customers, but there is so much work to do in Nadi etc. etc. One day at a time for you guys.
We have a family wedding in three weeks time way up the Sigatoka Valley Road so how do 15 people go from Labasa to Navosa on the broken roads?

meg said...

I agree. But it is sunny today, so hopefully things can start to be mended. Those roads will be terrible, luckily the new Sigatoka bridge didn't go the way of the old one...

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

It's well into February now but the news from Fiji (to SBS radio Australia) tells us that no-one can get up the Sigatoka Valley Road as there is too much damage and broken bridges. Peceli was laughing about it. Well, our Labasa mob and Suva gang did go up - about fifty of them for Pinky's wedding, and got down again two days later. Of course it meant trucks, horses, walking, etc. etc. The babasiga folks haven't ridden horses before I think!