My new home for a time...
Did I write "I think I will find something to do here" in my last blog entry? I did, and actually a lot faster than I had expected. I left the resort I stayed in after five days. It was a really beautiful location and I met a lot of nice people there, but in the end I got a little bored, so I decided to move. I went to Sigatoka, a very small town next to a river. The resort I went to was completely empty, so the staff (which was incredibly nice) gave me a bungalow for myself although i just paid for the dorm (12 euros). So I had my OWN bathroom and kitchen and there was no one else in my bedroom! You really start getting happy about small things while traveling low budget. Like clean laundry. Or one night without snoring Australians in your bedroom ?.
The staff was quite bored because nobody was there, so I chatted with them and it didn't last long until they invited me for kava to their village. So, that was my first "original" kava. In the villages here there are no closed doors. You will always be welcome and they don't really make a difference between "yours" and "mine". The kava ceremony was fun, although everybody was very young, so you could call it a modern version. Usually when you are invited to a village you are supposed to bring a sevu-sevu, a small gift, mostly a little bag of kava or a kava root. You give it to the chief of the village, but in my case we didn't. Before you get the coconut bowl filled with kava, you clap your hand and say "bula!", then you drink it and clap three times after. I didn't really understand what you are supposed to say after drinking ?. Kava makes you sleepy and relaxed and after one hour I was really ready for bed... I had very interesting dreams that night.
Next day I went to the Sigatoka sand dunes national park because I really felt like using my legs. It is a beautiful and special place, unique in the pacific. Thousands of years ago people here used to burry their dead here, which is why bones and parts of pottery are still found frequently.
When I told one of the Rangers my turtle volunteer story, I was immediately offered to volunteer in the park for a time. As this was exactly what I had hoped for, of course I said yes. One of them even invited me to live with him and his family in his village. The people here are really poor compared to the standards of Germany. They live under very decent conditions, and I what I have seen is still the more developed part of Fiji. Up in the highlands it has to be way worse. Nevertheless people here are incredibly giving and hospitable. I was welcomed like a family member and I'm really looked after. Actually, everybody seems to be related to everybody in "my" village. I have given up remembering who is whose cousin, brother in law or third aunt once removed.?
Work in the national park is absolutely relaxed. It's a Fiji style kind of of volunteering, as I spend most of the day hanging out with the Rangers, drawing, eating or accompanying student groups on the walk through the park. I even built my first tipi.. Don't ask for the purpose, it was fun ?.
Oh yes, we had REALLY good food on world Rangers day...
I'm sorry if I keep repeating myself, but I keep being overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people. I've been in Sigatoka only for a short time, but I already have a new big brother and a little sister who happily cries out "vavalangi" (which means white girl in Fijian) whenever I enter the house and doesn't give up until I carry her around or play with her.