Hello from Fiji! Nate and I have been here for a week and a half, and we love it! We’ve have been SO busy! I don’t know what I was expecting for the number of hours worked, but it’s a lot more for sure. That’s Ok though, because the work is fun, and the people are so wonderful.
There are several things about the Fijian culture which we absolutely love. First, I will tell you about church. Church starts at 8:00 am here. It sounds early, I know, but everyone in Fiji wakes up at 4 to do their farming, so it’s not that bad. Anyway, the first week Nate and I wanted to be sure to be on time, so we left our house at about 7:40 and got to church around 7:55. Not a single person was there – not one. We walked all around the grounds (there are several rooms outside, not just one big building like in America) and didn’t see a soul. Finally, around 8:07 or so, the bishop and his wife walked through the gate. We talked to them for about 10 minutes before other people started to show up. We started the meetings (Relief Society first) around 8:30, and then finished at 8:50. Sunday School goes from about 9:05 – 9:30, and then we wait 20 minutes for Sacrament meeting to start. Sacrament meeting is our favorite. The bishop announced 9 speakers, a rest hymn, and then 1 more speaker. Guess how long that took. 25 minutes. No joke. Let’s just say the Fijians are very efficient…. at last in church 😉
Another great thing is how mellow everyone is… including the dogs. They never find any reason to bark. One night, through a string interesting and unavoidable events, we ended up in a back alley, at a sketchy house, buying kava (google it) through a barbed wire fence. There was a watch dog. It picked it’s head up as it saw us coming, looked for about 3 seconds, maybe thought about barking (after all, it was a guard dog!) and then layed back down. We imagined it saying, “Eh…whatever”.
No really though – you’ve heard of Mormon Standard time? Here, it isn’t only the Mormons. t’s so nice though, because we show up on time always, and then get to sit and talk to the locals for a few hours before enough people get there to start. We’ve made so many friends that way. And everyone laughs and tells us “when you schedule for 10, people come at 12”. Yes, we’re learning :-).
For our parents: neither of us has gotten sick, although Cami went to Lau Toka (a town about 1.5 hours away for a meeting with the Ministry of Health on No Tobacco Day) and her partner threw up 3 times throughout the day (once on the bus). There is absolutely no political unrest, and the police are among the nicest people here – we love them!
More later on how to be the most popular American in a Fijian Village, and how to save Fijian children’s lives…also, PICTURES! (when I remember the connecting cord thingy).
Love, Nate and Cami