Monday, November 30, 2009

A visitor from Navua

from w
Litia is staying with us in Geelong for a couple of days and she gave me some photos to post on the babasiga blog - not that she's from Labasa though but a Nadroga girl working in dental health area in Navua. She spent time this week with her old school colleague Kara and now Litia is in Geelong today and went to Donation in Kind depot and also found an ancient car to drive! One of the photos is of our tauvu friend from Gau with her gorgeous grandson.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New bridge at Vatuadova

from w
At last the new bridge is finished down at the bottom of our Vatuadova village. It has been an excellent project employing some of our relatives. Vatuadova is about 25 minutes drive west of Labasa and is in canefarming territory. In the 60s there were only two houses on this place when we lived there as a cane-farm was developed and we developed Nukutatava.Gradually the family grew until now there are several neat wooden houses and a church. All the families there are our relatives and the numerous neighbours are from Indian background.

The main purpose of the new bridge is to faciliate traffic, not to our village, but because it is on the main route from Labasa to both Nabouwalu and Savusavu. Also all the cane trucks and buses from west of Wailevu village use this road. There once was a train-line route to bring cane to Labasa mill but now there's only road access west of Wailevu.

from the Fiji Times
$1.2m to change 50 year bridge
Monday, November 30, 2009

ENSURING the public travelled on safe roads, government replaced a bridge that has stood for almost 50 years outside Labasa town. The Vatudova bridge built in 1960 cost government $1.2million, including the new road diverting towards the bridge.

In opening the two-lane bridge which is about eight kilometres outside Labasa town last Friday, Mr Timoci Natuva, who is in charge of the Transport and Public Works portfolio, told villagers the bridge provided easier access with its two lanes. "Interestingly, cane farmers will no longer wait on a one-to-one basis to cross the bridge as this two-lane bridge will help them continue the journey to the mill.

"The Look North policy will now be a reality and the infrastructure provided will mean significant changes to your way of life, of business and of growth in all sectors," Mr Natuva said. He challenged the people of the northern division to capitalise on the investments given by Government and make use of the infrastructure provided. This, Mr Natuva said, would ensure that lives of families and individuals were upgraded.

Villagers and people living near the bridge welcomed the upgrade, saying it will ease transportation problems.

Vanuvou villager Setareki Dugulele said since the village was established, transport and road problems had always plagued them.
The article in the Fiji Sun is similar but I'm not sure Mr Natuvu means by the words he says though!
from the Fiji Sun today:
New Vatudova Bridge brings residents hope
11/30/2009 Much relief and excitement was seen in the eyes of the people of Labasa as the Vatudova Bridge was officially opened by the Minister of Public Utilities, Transport and Works, Colonel Timoci Natuva. The old one lane bridge built in 1960s, now has twos lane and a single walk way stream. Work on the construction of this bridge was designed and built by the Department of Works which begun in October, 2008. The Government spent $1.2 million to build the bridge.

Rinieta Ratawa, 52, a resident of Vatudova Village said she was happy and now her fear of crossing the old bridge had been taken away. “I used to feel very scared crossing across the old bridge but now we are safe,” said Mrs Ratawa.

She added that during floods, the bridge used to be covered with water making it impossible for vehicles and people to cross.

Mrs Ratawa said the people of Vatudova are very happy and would like to thank the Government for coming to their rescue.

Mr Natuva said in his speech that the new Vatudova would bring in many benefits.

“Some of the benefits the new Vatudova Bridge promises to bring are the easy access of goods and services from the roll on roll off vessels from Nabouwalu to Labasa,” said Mr Natuva

He added that the expected reduction in waiting time for traffic, allowing for easier transportation of cane from Seaqaqa and parts of Wailevu sectors which costs 32 per cent of the total sugarcane production for the Labasa mill.

“A bridge symbolises connectivity and thus the essence we must espouse on, is to ensure that we rebuild lost relationships,” said Mr Natuva.

He said that the ministry this year and in next four years until 2014 will be upgrading the infrastructure on Vanua Levu to a standard that the people could enjoy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Air Pacific and Christmas Island

from w
I was very much surprised to read that Air Pacific will resume flights to Christmas Island. Well, the Christmas Island in the news is a depot for asylum seekers, west off Australia so it is a sorry place. However then I discovered another Christmas Island, this time in Kiribati and the island is called Kiritimati and it too has a very sorry tale to tell. Google to here Christmas Island Bomb Tests Bomb to find Jane Resture's information about the terrible atomic bomb tests in this place.

Air Pacific looks at new markets
11/26/2009 from Fiji Sun
Air Pacific revealed plans to recommence flights to Christmas Island next year as they prepare for the aviation war with the arrival of Continental Airlines, V Australia and Jetstar into Fiji. etc. etc. “We have a number of routes under consideration and expect to recommence services to Christmas Island and beyond to Honolulu in the new year following repairs to the runway on Christmas Island. etc etc.

When I was searching through Christmas songs to plan for a family program for December 20th I came across a quaint song and with a change of only about six words I subverted the niceness of it.

Christmas Island
By: Lyle Moraine (1946) (USA_
Let's get away from sleigh bells, let's get away from snow,
Let's make a break some Christmas dear, I know the place to go.
How'd ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ja like to spend the Holiday away across the sea?
How'd ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ja like to hang your stockin' on a great big coconut tree?

How'd ja like to stay up late like the detainees do,
Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe?
If you ever spend Christmas on Christmas Island,
You will never stray, for ev'ry day you will ask
can your Christmas dreams come true?

142 turned back from Christmas Island

In case you are not aware of the Christmas Island off Australia here's one story about it by Piers Akerman From: The Daily Telegraph
November 25, 2009 9:09AM The latest boat load of asylum seekers arrive for processing at Christmas Island today. Pic: Allison Millcock Source: The Daily Telegraph

AS A further 52 asylum seekers were brought ashore on Christmas Island yesterday, a fleet of fishing boats carrying 142 Sri Lankans bound for Australia was intercepted.
Sri Lanka's navy last night said it seized the four fishing trawlers off the island nation's southern coast and handed them over to local police.

Join Piers Akerman's blog here.

"The passengers had paid large sums of money to people smugglers to take them abroad," navy spokesman Athula Senarath said.

In recent months there has been an increase in the number of Sri Lankans trying to enter Australia, many claiming political asylum - most famously the 72 who ended up aboard Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking.

At Christmas Island yesterday, however, the 52 new arrivals - brought to land under the watchful eye of an Australian Federal Police contingent - were Afghans. They were transferred from an Australian Customs vessel standing off the island and conveyed by barge to the public wharf in Flying Fish Cove, where interpreters were waiting with buses to take them to the island's detention centres.

Sources said the latest group comprised 39 adult males, one adult female and 10 minors, plus two crew.

Extra security precautions have been in place since Saturday night's violent riot at the island's principal immigration detention centre - where the men will be housed while their identity and security checks are carried out.

The women will be put in temporary accommodation of prefabricated huts behind barbed wire in the grounds of the recreation centre and at an adjacent construction camp. The male arrivals will put further stress on the already overcrowded camp, which was built to hold 400, expanded to cope with 800 and has recently held more than 1000.
On Monday, nearly 70 people who were processed on Christmas Island were informed they were to be granted permanent visas and taken to Australia.

* A FEDERAL Parliamentary committee has called for the high-security facility at the Villawood Immigration and Detention Centre to be demolished and replaced.

So whether Air Pacific flies to Christmas Island One, or Christmas Island Two, there are sad stories attached to both places, stories about colonialism, power and powerlessness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


One of Fiji's letter writers emailed me these observatons about life in Lautoka. I haven't seen ladybirds lately at all, in fact small creatures are few and far between these days and I wonder why they are absent.

Contributed by Allen Lockington, Lautoka
Life goes on....

I was traipsing around Lautoka on Monday in one of the more secluded spots on Tagimoucia Road I spotted Lady Birds.

I was surprised because I thought they had died out. I remember in my primary school days at Marist Suva Street there were Lady Birds everywhere. They seem to have disappeared like the butterfly that would seen everywhere. Many of our little insects can no longer be seen in urban areas because of what we call development. Their habitats have been destroyed.

And there are the pandanus trees that line Drasa Avenue adjacent to the Botanical gardens. As I walked pass I got a whiff of a sweet smell and saw the trees bearing yellow and orange fruit and birds were everywhere eating them. Pandanus usually grows on the coastal areas but there are many growing in the heart of Lautoka. Our coastal areas are making way for development also but it’s good that this costal plant is able to grow in-land.

As for mangoes they are not as plentiful as last year. But like the Lady Bird, life goes on in Fiji however humble and tough things may be. And my sighting of those Lady Birds, it tells me that there is still hope and life.

Okay, okay, I've changed my mind

from w
For the sake of those who do log in to babasiga despite the eyes peering over their shoulders, I will continue to post! The busy bee journos from Labasa (Fiji Times and Fiji Sun) give us stories of Ravenish and his watermelons in the Labasa market, kindergarten kids graduating at the Cawaira settlement near Labasa, a footpath in Naseakula village, and donors from Korea extending the Labasa hospital. Nice positive stories spinning good times - (because other stories cannot be told). Here is one of the stories. Ah, those people up North are pragmatists!
Villagers celebrate construction of footpath

Women of Nasekula Village, Labasa were busy preparing a feast yesterday. The feast was in appreciation for the work the community was undertaking - the construction of a footpath throughout the village. Community members and people of Nasekula are working together to build footpath of 400 meters long.

Former Police Inspector Leone Nuimataiwalu and leader of the footpath project said it was very important to have a footpath in the village for many reasons. “During wet season it is very difficult to walk in the village because the ground becomes very muddy and footprints are left behind,” said Mr Nuimataiwalu. He said children found it difficult to walk to school during rainy season as their uniform got stained with mud. The footpath will lead right up along the track to Nasekula District School.

Retired Head teacher Josateki Rokotovitovi and a member of the community said they felt it was very important to have a footpath as Nasekula is a chiefly village and most gatherings took place there. “The building of the footpath will uplift the standard of the village,” said Mr Rokotovitovi. He added that about $10,000 was provided by the Government after various application forms were filled in and $4,000 was contributed by the villagers for building a footpath. Work began last month and hopefully will end by end of this month.


from Peceli,
This morning I woke up as usual about 5.30 a.m. for our devotional and outside the sun was rising so I took these two photographs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Problem with reading blogs in Fiji

from w
Looks like we need to take a break from posting. I was surprised when the stats counter indicated that fewer Fiji readers were accessing babasiga. Well, now I've been told why. From Fiji it seems that anyone wanting to read blogs gets a message that they will be monitored if they want to read a blog and have to go through another site first. Monitored? Most blogs are innocuous and well-meaning.

And just one more for the road: go to the tribewanted website for Jimbo's farewell interview from Vorovoro Island. Now that is one honest but good story - the eco-tourism venture near Labasa.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not the Fiji news

from w
Though this is not the Fiji news, it is relevant to Fiji because it's about a world problem of crossing borders, of people who are either refugees or opportunists.
While a karaoke singer lunges out with a song, the Tamil asylum seekers are placed in an Indonesian (but Australia funded) detention centre.

I am sailing, I am sailing home again cross the sea
I am sailing stomy waters to be near you to be free

I am flying, I am flying like a bird cross the sky
I am flying I am flying to be near you to be free

On the other hand, there are others waiting, waiting, waiting to move on from a detention centre, or others fill out fifty pages of forms and are patient in their preparation to move to places like Australia.
What about me? It isn't fair? Moving pictures
I've had enough and I want my share!
Can't you see? I wanna live!
But you just take more than you give.

Are they jumping the queue? Yes.

From the Australian newspaper today:
Detainees' plea: what about us?
• Stephen Fitzpatrick, Tanjung Pinang, and Matthew Franklin
• From: The Australian
• November 19, 2009 12:00AM
INDONESIA and Australian officials worked through the day yesterday transferring the 56 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers still on board the Oceanic Viking to the Tanjung Pinang detention centre. The Sri Lankans, along with 22 who disembarked on Friday, will be segregated from the more than 80 other detainees at the Australian-built centre.

Amongst these other inmates, however, there is growing anger at the special deal done to get the Tamils off the Oceanic Viking, including resettlement in Australia within a month for those who qualify as refugees. "We feel jealous because of what's going on," said one, a young Afghan man who asked to be identified only by the pseudonym "Zulfiqar" for fear of violent reprisals from the Australian-trained guards at the centre.

"We've been here seven months, and some of the boys have only now been registered (with the UNHCR), and half of the people have not been interviewed, but in less than one week (the Oceanic Viking Sri Lankans) have been interviewed and registration is going on. So everyone is feeling jealous."

The bitter criticism came even as Kevin Rudd denied the group would receive preferential treatment in the centre, insisting that after their claims for refugee status had been assessed by the UN the "normal procedures" would apply. Last night the Rudd government said five women and five children among the 56 would stay in an "adjacent" building "separate" to the detention centre. However their quarters remain inside the centre compound. Mr Rudd said the government had rejected a request by the asylum-seekers to have their claims for refugee status processed in Australia.

But Coalition justice spokeswoman Susan Ley asked whether an offer of housing assistance to those asylum-seekers granted resettlement in Australia meant they would be given preference over Australians already on public housing waiting lists.
And former Howard government immigration minister Philip Ruddock said Mr Rudd had caved in under duress from the asylum-seekers by agreeing to fast-track the resettlement of the 78.

In the detention centre, Zulfiqar asked why those already there could not receive the same treatment as the new arrivals. "Some of the Afghans have been accepted by the UNHCR for more than a month but they are still inside of detention -- what will happen to them?" he asked. "I want to request to the Australian government that please if you have a policy that you accept these refugees, so what about us? We are also refugees who want to go to Australia -- the only difference is that they were arrested a little nearer to Australia, and we were arrested a little bit farther from Australia."

Zulfiqar revealed that he was detained in Sumatra seven months ago after travelling from Kabul via Malaysia, having escaped death at the hands of the Taliban. He said the Taliban had insisted that, because of his good English, he work as a jihadi for them translating for US or other foreign organisations."If I go back to Afghanistan I will be killed," he said. "They said if you don't want to (work as a translator) we're going to kill you."

He said he escaped by convincing his Taliban captors they should let him take his mother to safety before beginning work with them -- and managed to flee Kabul with the help of a people-smuggler, who took $US6000 ($6440) to get him to Indonesia. Zulfiqar said the Afghans at the Tanjung Pinang centre, as well as 10 Sri Lankans who have also been there for several months, were confined to their dormitory rooms as the new arrivals were processed. CCTV cameras were used to monitor all activity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And I thought Fiji drivers weren't so good

Hit the road, Jack and don't you come back no more,
no more, no more, no more)
Hit the road, Jack and don't you come back no more
What you say?
from w
I heard this story on the radio this morning and it's a warning to us folks who are getting a little older.... Now Yass is in the middle of NSW in Australia and Avalon is just out of Geelong where we live. Here's the story from the Herald Sun. Apparently he was on his mobile phone to his wife at one stage and she asked where he was - were there any landmarks, and he replied that he thought he saw the Westgate Bridge! You see it's possible that once you get onto a freeway you could go for hundreds of k without even one red light to slow you down!

NSW man makes wrong turn... to Geelong
Anne Wright November 17, 2009 8:45PM
ERIC, 80, said he loves to drive. And drive, and drive. Even if it is in the wrong direction, through a different state. He was missing for nine hours after he left his friend's house in Yass at 7.15am attempting to drive home to Pambula on the NSW south-East coast. But the man, named only as 'Eric', took a wrong turn and kept driving unconcerned about his unfamiliar surroundings.

He travelled nearly 600km before stopping at the Avalon BP service station on the Princess Hwy to ask for help from two police officers. Constable Tom Windlow and Leading Senior Constable Clayton Smith, from the Traffic Drug and Alcohol section, had stopped at the service station about 3.45pm after an operation in Corio.

'I was stretching my legs, waiting for Tom to come back to the car when this little old man came up to me saying he was lost," Sen-Constable Smith said. He handed me his mobile and asked if I could speak to his wife."

Eric's wife told the officers her husband, who police said suffers slight dementia, had been missing for nearly nine hours.

"Believe me, we never expected for her to say he had driven from Yass," Sen-Constable Smith said.

Eric was then taken to Sunshine police station where he was reunited with family friends who had driven down from Mt Eliza.

Sen-Constable Smith and Constable Windlow said the accidental adventurer had been very grateful for their help and told them many stories as they waited for his friends to arrive."When we asked him why he hadn't stopped earlier he replied, "I just like to drive," Sen-Constable Smith said.

Eric and his wife were reunited late yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lomaivuna showing the way

from w
I know that Lomaivuna is a long way from babasiga land and the soil there is rich and wonderfully suited to intensive farming, but here is an example about growing cassava that could be copied in Macuata. This story was in both the Fiji Times and Fiji Daily Post - pic here from Fiji Times.
The following story has been reposted from the Fiji Daily Post - from a government handout without editing it seems.

Cassava farming in Lomaivuna

Lomaivuna, better known for ginger production, is also well known as a producer of root crops and vegetables in the Central Division. Needless to say farmers in Lomaivuna are so dedicated to farming that every farmer has a success story to tell. While travelling along the circular road that link all farms in Lomaivuna, one can see big blocks of dalo, cassava, ginger, pineapples and many other crops planted on the sloping hills and flatlands utilising every piece of available land.

Among the root crops, cassava is one of the most common crops supplied by the farmers in the area to the exporters and the local markets. A multi- racial farming community, Lomaivuna is well represented by highly dedicated Fijian, Indian and even Chinese farmers.

One of the farmers who have come to call Lomaivuna home is Hublasi Lal (53) who hails from Qarawalu in Taveuni. In 1966, when only eight years old, he accompanied his parents and siblings to settle in Lomaivuna.

According to Lal, at that time, the late President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara had recruited around 200 farmers from Taveuni to work in the banana plantation in Lomaivuna.

“The first batches of farmers were called in 1964 and then 1966 another set of farmers were recruited,” Mr Lala recalled. “The farmers were provided with 10 acre blocks each and a house to earn their living and work in the banana plantation”, he added.

He recounted that unfortunately in the late 60s, several hurricanes struck Fiji and badly damaged the banana plantations. As a result the New Zealand-based company which was operating had to close down due to bankruptcy. He said some farmers were lucky to get the opportunity to stay in Lomaivuna and continue with their farming work. “I had a strong farming background and since my father was an expert farmer we started with root crops and vegetable farming,” said Mr Lal.

While helping his father on the farm, Mr Lal also managed to complete his education. Instead of looking for white collar jobs, he chose to have a farm. “I was passionate about farming from the very beginning and my determination and hard work has made me an established farmer today,” said Mr Lal. As days passed by, Lal gained a lot of experience in growing and managing his crop farm and began raising the level of his farm production.

Married with four children, he realised that only through working hard on the farm he can earn enough money to get his two daughters married and the younger daughter through school. His son has already got a job.

Mr Lal owns ten acres of Native leased land which is due to expire in coming five years. His brothers are also among the top farmers in Lomaivuna involved in large scale root crop farming.

Besides being a hard working farmer, Mr Lal has been an advisory counsellor for the area for more than 18 years. He also used to do part time driving to transport the farmers produce from Lomaivuna to Nausori and Suva markets. He is also a social worker and a trustee of the Lomaivuna High School. Over the years he had been encouraging students to get a proper education.

Mr Lal believes in cash crop farming and he grows cassava, dalo, ginger, pineapple and vegetables. On his farm, half acre of land is cultivated with ginger, one and half with pineapples and three acres are covered with cassava plantation. “There is a big potential for growing cassava in Lomaivuna and with the availability of the market it is a good opportunity for people to pursue as a good source of income,” he added. “I have grown two varieties of cassava, the pink cassava and the Nadelei variety which fetches good demand both locally and overseas,” said Mr Lal. Mr Lal added that they have formed farmers youth group under which group members share their farming experience and knowledge.

He has grown cassava in different stages of production and extreme care is taken at every stage of growth.

While he prefers to do farm alone, sometimes he hires labourers when there is a lot of work at the farm.

“One thing good about growing cassava is that it is a year round crop and cassava can withstand dry as well as rainy weather conditions,” said Mr Lal. Lal added that he has been in this business for a very long time and his experience says that land preparation is the kingpin in getting good produce out of the farm. Mr Lal said that farms are mostly on the hills so he is bullocks rather than machines for land preparation.

“I normally hire labourers to prepare mounds mixed with poultry manure at good spacing. Poultry manure is applied to nourish the soil,” he added. “As soon as the land is prepared planting materials are sown, plant care starts at that very stage.”

When the plants are a month old, Paraquat is sprayed to control the weeds. He went on to say that at the seventh month N.P.K is applied and almost a year later, the plants are ready for the market. In between the growing stage, he ensures that the farm sanitation is maintained to ensure that the crop is pest, disease and weed free. The plants are helped on their growth by the perfect climatic conditions in Lomaivuna.

Mr Lal hires labourers to harvest the crop and as soon as the first crops are harvested another set is planted to ensure a continuous supply. He makes his own planting materials and sometimes gives the surplus to neighbours. “We are very fortunate that we don’t have to look for market as the demand and price for cassava is quite good. I sell my crops to Balthan exports and sometimes the surplus goes to the Nausori and Suva market,” he said. “Farm gate price for cassava keeps on fluctuating and currently the price is $0.40 per kilogram but some times it goes to as high as $0.80 per kilogram as well”. Mr Lal said normally a bag of cassava is sold to the middlemen in the markets at $20 per 50kg bag. He added that while the rising price of agro inputs is a common issue, it is incumbent on the farmers to make the necessary adjustments to cope with the price fluctuations.

Apart from cassava farming his pineapples are also ready to be supplied to the market especially at this time with the approaching festive season when the demand is usually high. Mr Lal said it is good that a lot of infrastructural development is currently happening in Lomaivuna and very soon people will be blessed with the electricity service.

Agriculture Extension officers frequently visit the farmers and assist them under the Departments capital programmes.

Mr Lal has also been assisted under the Rural and Outer Island project of the Ministry with agro inputs in a bid to increase his farm production. He is also frequently liaising with the Agriculture office for technical and advisory services and he advised others to work in collaboration with the Department. Mr Lal encouraged the farmers to work hard, sacrifice time, be loyal and determined to go to the top by always raising their level of farming.

Monika Mala - Ministry of Primary Industries

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Singing that song about Vorovoro

from w
We have two lovely young visitors this evening - Labasa brother and sister from the Caniogo family, so there are two guitars, plenty of yaqona flowing, and curry and rice cooked. Bula si'a Junior and Lucy. They were on to phone to Mum in Suva while I took the photos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Golly-gosh, qoliqoli again

from w
I am surprised to read that the qoliqoli (fishing grounds) is on the agenda once again so I wonder what the outcome will be this time. It caused a great to-do last time.
from Fijivillage:
Government approves the review of the Qoliqoli Compensation Policy
Publish date/time: 13/11/2009 [17:11]

Cabinet has approved the review of the Fishing Ground or Qoliqoli Compensation Policy. The decision has been made by cabinet after a submission by Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. Commodore Bainimarama said prior to and after the Deed of Cession in 1874, the iTaukei have continually raised their concerns with the British government about the ownership of reefs and foreshores.

He said due to the increasing interest in foreshore development in the 1970's, a Qoliqoli Compensation Policy was established in 1974.

Commodore Bainimarama said the 1974 Qoliqoli Compensation Policy is outdated and it also does not adequately address emerging issues namely the misinterpretation of the customary fishing rights, the absence of marine resource inventory to determine the value of compensation, rights of compensation, restriction of compensation to foreshore development, lack of consultations between chiefs and members of the yavusa, processing of fishing licenses and foreshore applications, and environmental issues.

The Prime Minister said there is discontent among Qoliqoli rights owners on the use of their fishing rights without fair and just compensation. He said likewise, investors are showing their frustrations in the delay in processing of applications for foreshore development and continual interference from Qoliqoli rights owner’s once formal approval had been obtained from relevant authorities.
And also: there was talk at the Macuata Provincial Council meeting this week about what to charge fishermen - they have to differentiatea between subsistence fishermen, recreational fishermen and commercial boats because the latter really can empty the sea of edible fish. From Fiji Sun today:
Provincial meet rules on fishing licences
Established and potential fishermen have been urged to pay fishing licences and permits in order to fish in Macuata waters. This is a new strategy adopted by the Macuata Provincial Council for its people to engage in proper business transactions. The Council will be conducting an awareness campaign at the grassroots level of all districts to allow people to understand their decision.

Concerns were raised from the floor at the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Naduri.The meeting heard that villagers questioned the motives behind the obligation of the fishing grounds and the reason why they had to pay for fishing licences.

Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere said the province recently adopted a new chapter in their history in terms of development, not only for the vanua and its resources but for the people. "As of today and the modern times, you have to have a licence before you indulge in a business transaction."

"So in as far as paying licences and permits to fish in our waters, it is a step up into dealing with a commercial transaction," said Ratu Aisea. Ratu Aisea said this would empower ordinary villagers to engage in business making skills including securing loans. "The concerns of the people are taken by the provincial council and we are going to take the awareness down to grassroots level - that we must adopt the new idea or new move."

This move he said is to pay the permits being required of the various Government Acts in the usage of their marine resources. This is the current status quo of the Qoliqoli Cokovata and I believe the Government of the day is cautious of the issue," said Ratu Aisea. By December, Ratu Aisea said all permits should be issued to those fishermen who wish to use the sea resources of Macuata. This permit or license from the Government is $20 for those registered under the Vola ni Kawa Bula.

Ratu Aisea confirmed those not registered under the Vola ni Kawa Bula or the Fijian registry but living in the vanua is the discretion of the turaga ni vanua of the district. "The vasu, those with maternal ties, who have been supporting the vanua have been treated the same as those in registered under the VKB," Ratu Aisea. A bose ni vanua on Monday decided that all commercial licences applicants pay $1,000, a decrease from past years.

Ratu Aisea said this was decided after members considered the country's current economic and financial status. This applied to all 12 qoliqolis or fishing grounds in Macuata, the largest being the Qoliqoli Cokovata.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Peace Corp in Labasa

from w
Fiji Sun must have a committed journalist in the babasiga region as they run many stories - large and small - about Labasa and nearby. Presidents come and go but the Peace Corp guys are committed for a whole two years it seems and here is one with knowledge to share about aquaculture. Way to go!

Peace Corp volunteer loves Labasa
Monte Shalett, a Peace Corps volunteer, believes that Labasa is a friendly place.
Mr Shalette, 26, works as an assistant officer at the Fisheries Department in Labasa. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. He arrived in Fiji last May and worked in Tailevu for seven months.

“During my stay in Tailevu, I learned so many things about Fijian culture,” said Mr Shalett. “I learned how to speak the Fijian language, how to drink kava and also traditional dances,” added Mr Shalett. He was transferred to Labasa in January this year. “I have spent almost a year in Labasa. I cannot imagine being found in such a place like this,” he added. “I love lovo foods, the Fijian traditional way of Fijian cooking. That is what I look forward to while visiting Fijian families,” said Mr Shalett. “The Indian curries are tasty and I love them, especially pumpkin curry,” said Mr Shalett.

As a Peace Corps Assistant Officer at Labasa he visits rural communities and encourages people to find new sustainable ways through aquaculture.

“I visit rural communities, raise awareness for marine protective areas,” said Mr Shalett. He joined the Peace Corps after he completed his master’s degree in Marine Affairs at the University of Miami. “Many people ask me why I chose to work as a volunteer when I could have worked in marine departments in the United States,” said Mr Shalett.

“A lot of people do not get the opportunity to learn about different cultures and lifestyles like what I am doing now,” said Mr Shalett. Mr Shalett works with other peace corps volunteers in various organisations such as HOPE (Helping Out Polluted Environment). Mr Shalett will work in Labasa for two years before he returns home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

from w,
Fiji should not have to import $42 million rice, as there's enough suitable land and labour surely for the Islanders to grow enough rice for their own needs. But who wants to be a farmer these days? Many of the children aspire to white collar jobs. Perhaps the education system and curriculum pushes them to think that occupations to do with the land are not the best. This is not just about rice farming but sugar cane as well. cane-cutters having breakfast

farmer with box of okraSigatoka market.I have been asking friends in Fiji just where are the successful intensive farming projects. It seems that intensive vegetable and fruit production pays very well so who has the contracts to supply large institutions in their food requirements? Chinese entrepreneurs perhaps? If so, what a lost opportunity this is for farmers who do not see the potential in their land. In the story below the visiting President talks about decentralization and the FIT campus in Labasa but does that have a significant agricultural science component? Surely there ought to be pride in occupations to do with growing crops and courses for youth and young adults available in the various localities throughout Fiji. Not near Suva!

From Fiji Times last Tuesday:
President hears plea by farmers
Theresa Ralogaivau
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ELDERLY rice farmers, weighed down by manual farming, pleaded with the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, to help mechanise the industry. The farmers of the Muanidevo Irrigation Scheme said their farms were turning to ruins with their children pursuing white-collar jobs in towns and cities, leaving the old behind to tend to the rice farms.

Rice Farmers Cooperative president Raj Kumar said with the children gone, labour shortages had hit them. "Many of the farmers are elderly and cannot keep up with the hard work," he said. "Even if we were as strong as before, the amount of work involved in rice farming needs more than just one pair of hands. We are trying our best to improve production and help reduce the amount of imports but we are helpless without the necessary machines."

Fiji imports 42,000 tonnes of rice at $40m.

Mr Kumar later told the Fiji Times unless the industry was mechanised many farmers would abandon rice farming as advancing age would limit work capabilities further. Farmers need combined harvesters that can harvest the paddy, thresh (separating paddy from husk) and winnow (clean). They also need swamp dozers to prepare rice fields for planting but the prices of both are beyond their means. A swamp dozer costs $0.3million while combine harvesters cost $50,000.

Ratu Epeli said there was no escaping the reality that children would grow up and pursue further education and the State was addressing this by decentralising tertiary education outlets such as the Fiji Institute of Technology, which opened in Labasa in 2002.pic from Navua

Mangling English

from w
Fiji Radio runs a story today about the need for more doctors, but I think somebody needs a few more English teachers. What kind of mangled English is in this piece?
Did the Dean really say these things? Or did the journalist get it tangled up? Or the person who put this into print?
Fiji lacks specialists
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Fiji lacks specialist doctors to take care of the demand for medical services. The dean of the Fiji School of Medicine, Professor Ian Rouse says although they produce 50 new doctors every year, it(')s still not enough to meet the demand.

“But the problem is in the specialization (as) we don’t have enough anntertes, specsters, ostratestetersm specialist penetration. (???) We are training a number of those (.) FSM has close to 60 specialist being train)ed) in Fiji and the region-but that’s where I think we (have)got (a)shortage (so) we (have) got to have this address(ed) over the next 5 years.”

FSM hopes that by 2014, they will be able to produce more doctors through expanded training programs and bigger class intakes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembrance Day

from Peceli
Remembrance Day, the 11th of 11th month and I remember my older brother Laisenia who died in the Solomon Islands.(reposted from another remembrance occasion) I was thinking of my older brother Laisiasa Masidugu who died in the battlefield in the Solomon in 1944. I only discovered by using the internet that my brother Laisaisa is listed in the Rabaul War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.
Rabaul War Cemetery Roll of Honour includes:
MASIDUGU, Private, LAISIASA, 1336. 1st Bn. Fiji Infantry 13. A. Regt. Fiji Military Forces. 29th March 1944. Age 22. V.
I was about seven when the District Officer and a Fijian came to our house to tell my father that Laisiasa had died. The story was that there was a valley and three young soldiers kept on fighting while the others in his platoon of the First Battalian were told to retreat. Later on someone came to our house to give us his belt and water bottle. There were bullet holes in the belt. A few years ago I saw an honour scroll in my cousin’s house in Naseakula and it was a tribute to Laisiasa and I have it now. He was eighteen though, not twenty-two.

Timoci Naitini remembers in a ceremony at Labasa this from Fiji Times.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ratu Epeli visits Macuata

from Peceli,
I am happy to read that Ratu Epeli, the new President, is spending a week in Macuata which is a very practical thing to do, to get away from Suva's damp to the clean air of babasiga land. Macuata is the central area of development in Vanua Levu. Also there is a large Fiji Indian population connected with the sugar industry and Labasa town. Some time ago Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi visited Naduri and joined in the taralala with the Macuata people there. There is a good relationship between Macuata and Kubuna and the chiefly island of Bau. I read the story in yesterday's Fiji Sun.

President pays first visit to Macuata
Just days after being sworn into office, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau arrived in Labasa yesterday on his first official tour as President. The week-long tour begins this morning where the President is expected to travel with senior government officials to Dreketi, Batiri and Seaqaqa visiting agriculture and irrigation sites. Since the arrival of Ratu Epeli, police has beefed security with at least 50 officers working on the ground. Ratu Epeli was quickly whisked away to his hotel by his personnel soon after a brief meeting with senior government officials at the Waiqele airport.

Regional Police Commander Senior Superintendent Luke Qionibaravi said the paramount role of the police is to look after his security. SSP Qionibaravi police security will be accompanying the President during his week-long visit. "We are providing the best security until Saturday for the President to see that he is being taken care of."

Divisional Planning Officer Northern Ratu Eliki Tikoidraubuta said the President's first official visit will be restricted to Macuata. Ratu Eliki said the province is privileged to have the President visiting.

The President will also be chief guest at the Remembrance Day celebrations on Wednesday in Labasa.

He will also open the Macuata Provincial Council meeting on Thursday in Naduri.

According to his schedule, Ratu Epeli will pay school visits on Friday and the Labasa Town Council.
from w
reposted from Fiji Village; And I wonder when he checked out the market did he really want to check out the public facilities? also, IMO these twenty minute dashes to inspect rice fields etc. may be good PR but unless they are followed up by the Agriculture departments aren't going to change anything. Actually, what is the role of a President, to open buildings, meetings, have a general overall look at the society, meet the people, be there when things get tangled up? Certainly it is good to see Ratu Epeli moving amidst the people and not sitting in his official office waiting to sign decrees!
President tours the North
Publish date/time: 11/11/2009 [11:51]
As the President tours the North this week, he has assured the farmers in Dreketi and Seaqaqa that the government knows the potential of rice farming. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau urged the farmers to work together with Agriculture officials in order to realize the pot of gold in the area.

Ratu Epeli visited the Dreketi Rice Irrigation, the Natural Seafood Company, the Taiwanese Timber Company which has been exporting timber from Vanua Levu to overseas buyers for some years now.

He told the farmers that it is the aim of the government to boost economic development in rural areas and enhance infrastructural development as priority. He told them not to lose hope but have faith and one day their problem will be taken care of.

Meanwhile, on his tour to the North visited a number of places in Labasa yesterday but people were shocked when Ratu Epeli made a surprise visit to the Labasa market. The President met the market vendors and exchanged some stories with them. Ratu Epeli also went to the extent of checking out the state of some public facilities in Labasa town.

The President will officially open the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Naduri village tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A visitor from Nadroga

from w
We are delighted to have a lovely visitor with us for a few days - Litia Nainoka, a young woman from Nadroga who works in the area of dental health in Navua. So, despite the weather being a little cool we have been going to the beach and getting around a bit, mainly joining in local church programs and meeting people. So there is lots of talanoa - serious talk and joking as well. Here are a few pictures from Litia's camera - one with the girls from Wyndam Vale where she met an old school colleague.

Medical care in Fiji

from w
The Fiji Times ran an article today about health care in Fiji and the upgrading. The story does not say much about pro-active health and community health awareness which I think is really important. Ninety per cent of health care is up to the individual, to make good lifestyle choices about food, exercise, etc. and only 10 per cent is about accessing the medical clinics and hospitals. Already there is some work done in Fiji in publicity and visiting villages with dental care etc. but this is where free treatment and awareness campaigns are really important. A couple of things I noticed about health care in Fiji is that some people go to the doctor for a small problem which ought to be dealt with by common sense, and at the other extreme some people tough it out and do not go early enough and then there is a tragedy. I'm not sure that very expensive equipment and specialists are the way to go in Fiji in using up the millions of dollars allocated, when there is so much more needed in the prevention side of medical care, such as in that 90 per cent of knowing how to care for yourself and cutting out the fats, sugars, smoking, alcohol and long sessions of kava!

I won't get into the argument about paying for medical care. I was fortunate in Fiji to get good care in the 60s and 70s for the birth of three children. (Ba Methodist Hospital and Labasa hospital). One hospital stay cost only 40 cents for two days in hospital! In Australia these days it costs about $4000 to give birth in a hospital! Thank goodness for the Medicare system though, and even those who pay insurance they still have to pay the 'gap'.

When paying will help
Saturday, November 07, 2009

THE planned upgrading of medical facilities nationwide will be welcome news to all who use the national health service. More than $9million is expected to be used by the Health Ministry on the purchase of equipment and the streamlining of services. The move will coincide with 22 Health Ministry officials graduating with Masters' degrees and rejoining the service in different specialist fields. All this is encouraging for doctors and nurses who have been forced to work with substandard equipment in decrepit facilities for years.

Last week, this newspaper highlighted the shortage of obstetricians in health facilities around the country. Even the ministry's head of obstetrics, Dr James Fong, agrees that there is a desperate need for doctors and nurses in this extremely specialised field. There was a stage when Fiji's midwives and obstetricians were the best in the region. Nurses from across the Pacific attended courses at the local nursing school and returned home to make pregnancy safe for mothers and their babies.

Over the years, however, the conditions in our medical centres, nursing stations and hospitals have deteriorated quite rapidly.

An increasing population has put tremendous pressure on operations in all these facilities. Better roads to remote areas mean it is easier for rural dwellers to have access to treatment.

But the Health Ministry has remained reluctant to charge for the services it provides. Unless a national health insurance scheme it established, it will be impossible for any government to provide quality medical care for the citizens of this country.

Foreign aid allows the purchase of equipment, maintenance of infrastructure and training of doctors and nurses.

In order to sustain optimum levels of service and maintain buildings and equipment it is, unfortunately, necessary to charge patients for the use of facilities and medicine.

We do not expect the health service to make a profit but it must cover costs. The time has come to review charges at health facilities. It's time to place realistic costs on and charge for services provided. Only when this is done will the Health Ministry be able to provide the best possible service to patients.

It is unrealistic of patients and their relatives to demand optimum service from the national health service when they pay nothing for medicine or the bare minimum for in-patient treatment.

The Health Ministry must take a tough stand on the issue if services are to improve. With adequate money, the central government will be able to provide more doctors, nurses and medical centres for everyone. But one thing is certain – it won't happen for free.

China and the South Pacific

from w
I read this article this morning and will re-post it without comment as I'm not as expert in such matters, but it does provide food for thought. It is from a Sydney newspaper.
China: the new big buddy on our block November 6, 2009 .

Expulsion of Australian and New Zealand diplomats from Fiji might need to be seen against the backdrop of increasing Chinese influence in the Pacific, writes Craig Skehan.

With unabashed Beijing-style censorship, the military regime of the Fiji coup leader Frank Bainimarama ensured the local press reported no criticism of this week's expulsion of senior Australian and New Zealand diplomats.

"They made sure none of the attacks got in the papers," a Fijian journalist said of the totalitarian rulers whom China helps prop up.

Getting even less attention was a committee of inquiry that is indicative of serious flaws in China's expansion in the Pacific.

The committee, appointed by the Papua New Guinea Parliament, is investigating rioting sparked in May by safety breaches and the mistreatment of locals by Chinese overseers at a $1.2 billion mine, including alleged attempts to pay overtime with tinned fish rather than cash.

That tensions at the Ramu Nickel and Cobalt Project led to attacks on Chinese shops in Port Moresby, and other centres, underscores deep-seated ethnic sensitivities. Several rioters were shot dead and future bloodshed may be inevitable if grievances fester.

The visiting Chinese Executive Vice-Premier, Li Keqiang, said the Ramu project symbolises "mutual trust". But who trusts who in a region that has extended cargo-cult hands to whatever power dips its oar in the Pacific's warm waters, in the couple of decades since colonial masters moved on?

In the 1980s we fretted about expanding Soviet influence. Along came the Taiwanese with their chequebook diplomacy. Taipei and Beijing one-upmanship - built on pursuit of diplomatic recognition - has diminished as cross-strait relations have improved, however marginally.

But in our backyard, the growing emergence of a new totalitarian super-bogey has us worried. Chinese insidiousness and corruption of the very political ethos we hold dear - and which we helped cultivate in our region - seems to threaten attachment to democratic principles and the respect for human rights that underpins them.

More than 3000 Chinese enterprises are registered in Pacific island nations - often to the chagrin of the locals with whom they compete. They open trade stores and take-away food outlets, and dump cheap Chinese imports on suffocating local manufacturing.

In the Solomon Islands, where in 2006 a mob burnt down Honiara's once quaint weatherboard Chinatown, anti-Chinese feeling was fanned even by new Chinese arrivals collecting empty soft-drink bottles.

In Fiji ethnic Indian and indigenous prostitutes face competition from Chinese women brought in for Asian fishing crews. And there have even been grisly murders among Chinese settlers over control of a lucrative market in shark fins.

Around the region, islanders can be seen sloshing tumblers of whisky with Chinese and other entrepreneurs to seal deals. Up for grabs are rainforest logs and seafood, oil, gas and minerals. So are government construction contracts - many financed by foreign aid.

Much of the large-scale Chinese migration to the region in recent years has been from the seaside province of Fujian. Estimates across the 14 independent Pacific island states put the total Chinese population as high as 200,000. In the 10 years to 2005, island trade with China increased tenfold, by one calculation. China arguably outranks Japan and Taiwan in terms of involvement and influence across the islands.

Among the arrivals are criminals who produce and smuggle drugs and run rackets, including gambling.

In Nuku'alofa, in 2006, eight people died in rioting and many Chinese businesses were destroyed. Up to 70 per cent of the Tongan capital's trade stores were owned by newly arrived Chinese.

Once Britain and France, then Australia and New Zealand, regarded the islands region as their turf. Australia and New Zealand still take on responsibilities that China does not, such as policing the Solomons when that country nearly collapsed in 2003.

China intervenes when its nationals are at risk.

Australian aid has not kept pace with needs, however, leaving gaps for China and others to fill. This is exploited by island political elites who object to Canberra's lecturing against corrupt and inept governance.

On some assessments, China is the South Pacific's third-largest aid donor - behind Australia and Japan - and often it flows from direct dealings with island leaders. That can benefit those who do the negotiating.

In Fiji, in 2006, before Bainimarama ousted the elected government of Laisenia Qarase, the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, announced $600 million in soft loans for development projects across the Pacific islands. Bainimarama's coup did not cut Fiji out.

A 2007 report to the US Congress noted the growing influence of China in the islands, against the backdrop of Washington's policy of stopping adversaries gaining a strategic advantage in the region.

China has focused on so-called soft political and economic power in this region but a Singapore University political scientist, Paul Buchanan, argues that the introduction of hard, or military, power is not beyond Beijing. In the Samoa Observer, recently, Buchanan warned the US must not ignore China's strategic challenge to sea lanes of communication, resources and diplomatic leverage because Australia and New Zealand could not counter the Chinese push.

China's modernisation of deep-water ports and airports in places such as Fiji - as well as development of military-to-military ties, not least with Fiji - coincides with Australia largely suspending its links. As China builds maritime and air capabilities, it is keen on intelligence gathering in the region - including eavesdropping on the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Australia has overreacted to some perceived threats. But it has under-reacted just as often. It confronted ethnic bloodletting in the Solomons but stood by as Australian companies tore out some of the last great stands of rainforest. HIV-AIDS was taking a terrible toll in PNG before Canberra was prodded from complacency.

The Chinese vice-premier also discussed military co-operation with PNG while visiting Port Moresby this week, sources say.

The Australian high commission's Suva network was good enough for officials to learn a fortnight ago that James Batley was for the diplomatic high jump.

For months whispers from Fiji's military establishment revealed Bainimarama's army of yes men had been ordered to collect evidence of meddling to justify Batley's expulsion.

In the end, the declared reason for moving against the Australian and New Zealand high commissioners was that Sri Lankan judges were being denied transit on their way to Fiji to replace judges sacked by Bainimarama in April.

Bainimarama's promise to re-establish the form of democracy in place before his 2006 coup - ethnic Indians were denied full parliamentary representation according to their numbers - rings hollow, with elections pushed out to at least 2014. There is a view that Bainimarama is trying to avoid prosecution for treason or in relation to the deadly beating in 2000 of four soldiers who purportedly conspired in his overthrow as military chief.

Don't expect the new big buddy on the block to argue for a return to Fijian democracy.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Naseakula District School bazaar

from w
Peceli's old school was fairly new when he was there. Seems like the Labasa schools are into fund-raising at present - last week St Mary's and this week Naseakula. (I think the word 'developments' ought to be 'development'. Doesn't need an 's'! I really think the Fiji media are scratching for stories as they can't publish stuff about Fiji that we read on the overseas papers and TV - e.g. about one highly intellectual Labasa born gentleman! Of course the overseas media hype it all up a bit with old picture grabs that are years old!

Nasekula School raises funds for developments
A Labasa school is working hard to instill into their students the importance of learning vernacular. Yesterday, the Nasekula District School organised a fundraising drive in its mission to promote the vernacular curriculum, build a sheltered corridor and cement the school driveway.

Head teacher Letila Mataitoga said that this is the first time that the school bazaar is held at the chiefly village of Nasekula. “There are five stalls and each stall has been told to raise $2000,” said Mrs. Mataitoga.

“It will be a three-day event and the students will provide entertainment.

“The items will be performed every evening and during the day games will be held.”

Nasekula Village is the home of the Tui Labasa Adi Salanieta Tuilomaloma. Also it is where the late local media legend Ratu Stan Ritova, former parliamentarian Ratu Josefa Dimuri, former national rugby sevens star Jope Tuikabe and former national rugby loose forward Emosi Tatawaqa hails from.

The Nasekula District School bazaar is sponsored by the Labasa Tikina Holdings who had donated $10,000.

“We are doing this to ensure quality education for the all the children, this would be achieved through the joint efforts of all stakeholders,” Mrs Mataitoga explained. “The vision is that children should acquire a firm foundation of basic competencies that will help them cope with the demands and challenges of living in a multicultural Fiji.”

The school which was established in 1940 has a mission to provide, promote and facilitate excellence in the curriculum and in the teaching and learning all the subjects offered at our school.

President Epeli

from Peceli
Today Fiji has a new President by electing Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to become the fourth President of Fiji. He is from Kubuna, the Vunivalu clan. Words that he used today were 'Make me an instrument of Thy peace, Lord' are appropriate for this time. May God help him in this new position.

SUVA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's newly appointed President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was sworn in on Thursday at Government House, Suva by the Chief Justice Anthony Gates.
Nailatikau, former speaker of the House of Representatives, will serve for three years in Fiji's highest office of the land.
He was also a former commander of the Fiji Military Forces where he spent 20 years and former diplomat of 17 years.
On July 30, 2009, he became acting President after the retirement of Ratu Josefa Iloilo aged 88 and his appointment was decided by the interim Cabinet.
After the swearing in, Nailatikau spoke on the need for unity, love and hope.
Nailatikau has been an active advocate on HIV/AIDS after his appointment as UNAIDS Special Representative for the Pacific.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tribewanted still going strong

from w,
Ben Keene writes about responsible tourism in the tribewanted site where a small eco-tourism venture continues on Mali Island, near Labasa. I like his ideas but there are too many questions Ben!

Responsible and fairly traded tourism at Tribewanted
Community → Ben Keene's blog
By bengazi, Vorovoro, Fiji
Posted 5 days ago

Fair trade is an attempt to slow down economic activity to match the pace of culture; it is commerce with a conscience. For those of us who travel, it doesn’t take long to realize that the resilience of culture will wear thin and eventually break when it is made to conform to the speed of commerce.

We must ask, in the words of Barack Obama “not only is this profitable, but is it right?”

At Tribewanted we aim to maintain economic growth for ourselves and the local community without sacrificing the fundamental rights, dignity, and health of the land and people involved. We realize that there is and seek to understand the intimate link between culture and the environment and we take every opportunity to reach our decisions based on relevant environmental, financial, and social issues, the three elements of social enterprise.

Our decision making process in regards to fair trade and responsible tourism is based not only on developed and undeveloped but also on the reality that discrimination and exploitation exists throughout all levels of society and that commerce when practiced with a conscience can be a powerful tool in the fight to protect the environment and preserve and empower all cultures.

In the evolving spaces of responsible tourism and social networking, the answers are very rarely straight forward. Making decisions based on these principles can take time. To help us facilitate a more holistic decision making process we have implemented a few internal guidelines for everybody involved with our project.

Is it good for the environment both local and global?

•What effect will the proposal have on the Tribewanted’s carbon footprint?
•Will the proposal encourage greater levels of energy efficiency in the local community?
•Will the proposal encourage the use of renewable energy in the local community?
•Does the proposal maximise opportunities for effecient use of resources?
•Does the proposal favor the use of renewable local resources including recycled materials?
•Does the proposal have a plan for minimizing waste and waste disposal?
•Does the proposal include a plan for minimizing water use and encouraging water efficiency?
Is it good for the people?

•Does the decision address the needs of all members of the local/Tribewanted community?
•What effect will this decision have on the development of a healthy, equitable, and involved local/Tribewanted community?
•What effect will the decision have on the safety of the Tribewanted village?
•What effect will this decision have on the cultural heritage of local community?
•Will the proposal help improve the educational resources of the local/Tribewnated community?
Is it economically sustainable?

•How much ongoing maintenance will the proposal require and does it minimize those costs?
•Does the proposal show an eventual return on investment?
•Can the proposal be structured to provide other opportunities for generating revenue?
•Will the proposal enhance the value of the Tribewanted experience and/or Tribewanted’s assets including the natural beauty of the local environment?
•Will the proposal encourage additional investment in the region?
•Do all involved parties fully understand the proposal and it’s implications?
•Based on feedback from all parties, can the proposal be improved upon in any way?
Since the start of the project in September 2006 we have had successes and failures. Everyday, lessons are learned that help us come closer to realizing our goals. Maintaining a positive triple bottom line in Fiji has been and will continue to be a delicate balancing act and though we occasionally experience set backs, over the long run significant progress has been made.

The future of Tribewanted: Vorovoro is bright and our efforts to promote responsible tourism and actively engage in developing a sustainable eco-community on Vorovoro are met with widespread enthusiasm from the local community. Here is a short list of some of our achievements many of which would have been impossible were it not for the close relationship that we have worked hard to establish with the local people.

•Regular village meetings and workshops are organised to discuss ideas and proposals.
•Community groups work closely with us in developing conservation and management plans. We work to empower local communities to manage their own resources.
•Wherever possible, food and supplies for the camp are purchased from local sources.
•Tribemembers are encouraged to build relationships with community members through involvement in local schools, purchasing goods from local shops and spending time in villages.
•Tribewanted works to develop alternative livelihoods in the communities in which we work, to reduce the fishing pressure on fragile marine ecosystems and to try to improve the economic status of poor and isolated communities. Recent examples of these initiatives have included a vegetable co-op with the youth group from Nakawaga, an arts, crafts, and souvenir business to support local women.
•Tribewanted, with support from our team and tribe members, has provided over $10,000 for school scholarships over the past 2 1/2 years. These scholarships allow children whose families cannot afford school fees to receive education from the primary up to the university level.
•Island team members carry out beach clean-ups in partnership with local communities.
•Fresh water use is minimized, and water is conserved wherever possible.
•All waste is sorted and disposed of responsibly.
•Island team members and the kitchen staff use only biodegradable cleaning products.
•Tribe members are encouraged to offset carbon emissions from their flights to Fiji
•In the Tribewanted village, all electricity is produced using sustainable technologies.
•A strong commitment to to teaching sustainability through our regular workshops, seminars, and forum discussions, The Mali District School Green Club, and H.O.P.E. Labasa
•Working with local villagers and students from the University of the South Pacific, and in cooperation with the WCS and WWF, Tribewanted monitors the impacts of fishing activities on marine systems and species. By training villagers to record the size, number, species, and weight of catches regularly brought into villages by local fishermen. This data is then used to track changes in species populations and marine health, and to develop appropriate conservation strategies.

In order to help accelerate our progress we have also committed to the following objectives:
•Off-setting carbon emissions on flights for the Tribewanted team to and within Fiji as well as emissions resulting from the development and running of the Vorovoro community by purchasing carbon offsets. We also commit to encourage all tribe members to do the same.
•To work in partnership with Tui Mali and local fishing villages, considering the impact of each and every one of the tribe’s actions on these communities.
•To support local community projects both financially and with volunteers under the guidance of development experts.
•To generate local employment.
•To consider with each decision the tribe makes, the impact on the terrestrial and marine environments.
•To promote and raise awareness for sustainable and earth friendly living and travel as a real option for both tourists and communities around the world.
•Continue to support our local, family-run, taxi and hotel partners.
•Continue to help our members’ to respect and apreciate this environmentally and culturally sensitive region of Fiji through cultural classes, a comprehensive orientation, and informal discussions both on and off the island.
•Encourage our business partners to adopt more comprehensive environmental policies.
Everyday we all make decisions that impact our environment and those around us. To often these decisions discount or ignore their environmental repercussions.

Implementing a fair trade policy has helped us to be more responsible not only in our activities here in Fiji but also in our own lives off the island as we become more aware of the environmental implications of our actions. We hope that reading this will inspire you to take responsibility for your own actions as well. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Christmas Island

from w
I've been browsing the net for songs and pictures that can be used for a Carols around the World evening service I've been asked to plan. I found one song that gave me a start. Of course the author wasn't thinking of the Christmas Island that we know today, but I changed two or three words to make it relevant. In case you don't know, Christmas Island is part of Australia but it's become one huge detention centre (going to be doubled in size they say) for people seeking asylum who've been picked up from their leaky boats.

Christmas Island
By: Lyle Moraine (1946)
Let's get away from sleigh bells, let's get away from snow,
Let's make a break some Christmas dear, I know the place to go.
How'd ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ja like to spend the Holiday away across the sea?
How'd ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ja like to hang your stockin' on a great big coconut tree?

How'd ja like to stay up late like the detainees do,
Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe?
If you ever spend Christmas on Christmas Island,
You will never stray, for ev'ry day you will ask
can your Christmas dreams come true?