My home in Fiji

Never book anything in advance!

That’s the advice I got from a young Danish traveller I met in a hostel in Surfers Paradise, Australia at the beginning of my travelling career. Moving forward, here is how he justified his conviction: if you commit to being somewhere in advance, you lose your freedom of interpretation. Plane tickets or activities booked in advance make it impossible for you to seize an opportunity crossing your path which will often lead to the best experiences. I listened to his advice and it always seemed to pay off.

 

Foto

 

I experienced the most recent of such improvised experiences in Taveuni, Fiji, where I spent a couple of days travelling and diving in Rainbow Reef.

As I was paying at the cash register in the village shop, I started chatting with the security guard. His five-year-old son was hiding behind his father’s legs, curiously looking up at me. Jack was asking me ordinary questions – where I came from, where I was staying, and for how long. And then, he said:

“If you really want to get to know Fiji, you should live with the locals. Why don’t you come stay with us?”

“With you … who?” I didn’t quite understand what he was saying.

“With my family. There are a lot of us, and we’d be glad if you could join us.”

And I said:

“Sure, why not?”

 

Foto

 

He called his cousin who was selling vegetables at the market next door, told her something in a Fiji language I couldn’t understand, and motioned for me to go with her. We sat in a cab and drove along a white road until we reached three houses standing in the middle of a forest. I soon worked out that they belonged to an extended family living on the same estate. I got my own large room with a double bed – I really wasn’t expecting such luxury!

 

Foto

 

He called his cousin who was selling vegetables at the market next door, told her something in a Fiji language I couldn’t understand, and motioned for me to go with her. We sat in a cab and drove along a white road until we reached three houses standing in the middle of a forest. I soon worked out that they belonged to an extended family living on the same estate. I got my own large room with a double bed – I really wasn’t expecting such luxury!

 

Foto

 

Pri družini Seini sem preživela skoraj en teden. Čeprav sem bila zelo rada v njihovi družbi, sem imela kmalu dovolj posedanja v krogu okrog velike sklede kave. Naj povem, da to nima nič skupnega z našo kavo. To je korenina, iz katere pripravijo njihov tradicionalen napitek, ki spominja na blatno vodo in rahlo omrtviči jezik in možgane. Okrog kave se vrti tamkajšnje družabno življenje, pijejo jo čisto vsak dan.

 

Foto

 

My problem was that those “social events” were extremely boring by our standards. Once the coffee was ready, we all sat down in a circle around a big pot. The largest woman used a ladle to stir the coffee, pouring some of it into a coconut cup once every couple of minutes to offer it to her neighbour who slowly drank the coffee and handed the cup back to her. Then, we spent another couple of minutes watching as she stirred the coffee and poured it for the next person in the circle, and so on. The taste of their coffee is, to put it mildly, disgusting, which is why I only asked for half a cup every time it was my turn. The ritual went on until there was no more coffee left; since it was all happening in total silence, I actually felt embarrassed at times. At first, I found it interesting that we were looking at one another without speaking for several hours; then, I started taking long afternoon walks in order to avoid this “social gathering”.

My hosts don’t have much, and yet they shared everything they did have with me. To thank them, I gave them some books for their children and bought a bundle of coffee for the older family members. As I was saying goodbye, they kept repeating with tears in their eyes that this was now my home in Fiji and that I had to come back as soon as possible. I don’t know whether I’ll ever go back to Fiji at all, but if I do, I’ll definitely go to see them. I’ll just make sure to do so in the morning, when it’s not yet time for coffee.

 

Foto

 

 

Foto

 

Jasna Tuta
Jasna Tuta

Rodila sem se v Sesljanu pri Trstu. Pri morju. Ko sem bila še v otroškem vozičku, sem se z mamo sprehajala po Sesljanskem zalivu in z velikimi očmi požirala valove, ki jih je burja metala ob skale. Ko me je razganjala puberteta, sem našla zatočišče v tamkajšnjem jadralnem klubu. Tečaj jadranja na deski je bil idealen izgovor za druženje s postavnimi mladeniči. Kasneje se je oglasil materinski čut, takrat sem prevzela tečaje jadranja za otroke, pozimi pa sem zahajala v osnovno šolo. Po desetih letih vnetega pedagoškega dela je materinski čut popolnoma zamrl, oglasila pa se je želja po potovanju…

Zadnje v Čebelnjaku:
Morda vas zanima tudi: