Monday, May 07, 2007


Our Fijian Adventurous Holiday.

At Jonathans mountain top Home, with all his family.

Immediately we had been shown to the comfortable chairs the Kava ceremony to welcome us started. Mama and Josephine (her real name is Nakawai, but she asked if she could have a nice new name too just like Jonathan) started mixing the Kava, normally Jonathan would have done so but he needed to stay with us to assist with conversation as they all could speak English but didn’t very much usually, by the end of our stay they were all chatting away easily, but not that first night, shyness I suppose. Erle with the brothers and sister around the family kava bowl.
The Kava bowl came out and speeches were said that sounded very like prayers, all in Fijian so maybe they might have been prayers of some kind, then Erle was handed the first small coconut shell dipper full of the greyish liquid, to be drunk down in one swallow if possible, then you clap three times and say venarca, (thankyou) he managed it then it was my turn, sadly it took me several swallows to get it down, then my tongue and lips started going numb and felt quite funny, Jonathan got the next dipper full then every other person over 20 enjoyed their drink, then it was round two, back to Erle and me again! I was allowed to say that was enough, but Erle had a couple more rounds to enjoy. The room noticeablely became very happy and with much loud laughter and lots of clapping, this Kava is definitely alcoholic and tasted better the second time around! Jonathan passes the coconut cup of Kava to Erle.
It was getting quite late in the evening by now, so Mama hurried us along a little to the dining room where the table was groaning with many huge platters of food. Erle and I and Jonathan only sat down to this repast of taro cooked in two different ways, small chicken pieces, steamed fish heads, fried fish, rice and cassava; a type of sweet potato, also bread and some fruit, fruit juice tea and coffee. We were encouraged to eat as much as we wished, so we did, I occasionally wondered why there was so much for only us, assuming that everyone else had eaten long before we got there, but no, after we had eaten our fill everybody else then came in hungrily for their share, made us feel a wee bit guilty that we had been hungry and eaten quite a lot! I also felt very humbled by the warmth of the welcome. Still Mama found plenty for all; she said God would supply enough for all her guests as he always had in the past. These people are very religious. They didn’t say grace before the meal, but maybe that was part of the Kava ceremony.
After dinner I sort of expected singing and dancing, but instead everyone sat or lay on the floor a watched raptly the colour TV, much the same way we did when TV was new, but there was still plenty of time for talking and laughing and Kava! While seated in the comfy chairs we could request anyone to come and sit beside us for a short chat, but they didn’t stay long, to allow everyone the chance of a special chat with us the extra special guests. What a great evening we felt so important, also so exhausted from lack of sleep the previous night and the long hard drive to get there, so soon had to make our way to bed with a kerosene lamp to guide us. We slept very soundly.
We were awakened quite early by several roosters, we were tempted to strangle them, but managed to get back to sleep before we attempted this.
When we got up we found Jonathan had been up for hours and had walked a long way to get us fresh water and pawpaws and bananas for breakfast and also special medicinal leaves to wrap around Erle’s bad leg, Josephine and Mama had also been up for hours baking the Lolo buns for our breakfast.
Josephine in the kitchen cooking Lolo buns. And the cooked browned Lolo buns, below.

Lolo buns are bread dough made with yeast shaped into buns and placed in a large saucepan to rise then coconut milk is poured over to cover the dough then the pan placed over the little fire place, these turn out snow white and sticky, but Josephine showed me how she makes browned Lolo buns. She does all the things I have described but she also builds a small fire on a metal tray, when it is going nicely she places this tray on the saucepan as a lid; thereby turning the pan into an oven with heat top and bottom! Didn’t take long before the buns were beautifully browned and raised just like bought buns except these tasted of coconut and were light and delicious. Half of a large pawpaw, bananas and the buns made a substantial breakfast.
Whenever we travel overseas we take a jar of Jarrah coffee Vienna blend, it is coffee and cinnamon with some sugar and powdered cream, just requiring boiling water to make, expensive to drink all the time so we keep this special treat for when we travel, and call it our special coffee.
After breakfast I told Mama that I had something to add to breakfast, special coffee! I brought out the jar and gave everyone a mug of it, it was funny watching the faces as they tried something new, but all loved the flavour, it was a big hit, so I brought it out for every meal after that. I will have to buy a jar and send it over to the family, as it is unobtainable in Fiji; I tried many places.

After breakfast I took a photo of Jonathan and his wife Josephine and his two small children, Mollae is only 3 months old, Edwardo is nearly 4 years old.
Jonathan, Josephine, Edwardo and Mollae the new baby.
Next Jonathan wrapped Erle’s sore leg in the ordinary looking leaves and bandaged the leg tightly, it felt warm immediately, the healing had started.

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