Now let me start off by explaining the title of this post. The village I am staying in, Lomawai, uses a different dialect than most other places in Fiji, almost every Fijian dialect disregards the letter H, they just don’t use it, expect for Lomawai. Normal the letter H is used in replace of the letter S for example, the town in Fiji called Sigatoka is called Higatoka in the Lomawai Dialect. So that is why it is Hweet & Hour instead of Sweet & Sour but, why Elephant you may ask? No it is not because Fijians eat elephant, there are no elephants in Fiji to eat and if anybody ever ate an elephant I would personally shoot them! It is because one of the girls I am staying with, Pauline or more commonly known as Pax, went on a short holiday during the week. One night during dinner Danica and I ask our Lewa what she thought Pax would be having for dinner that night her reply was Sweet and Sour but, because we had just learnt that in the Lomawai dialect they use H instead of S we said, you mean Hweet & Hour! And one thing led to another and we ended up laughing so much because we decided Pax was eating Hweet & Hour Elephant for dinner! Not really that good of a story but if you would have been there you would have been laughing just as hard as we were!
You can often hear the sound of laughter coming from our house. My host family are all so lovely and nice, honestly some of the most generous and kind hearted people I have ever met! Firstly there is my placement partner, my fellow white person, Danica Young. I don’t know how else to describe her other than weirdly hilarious! She is often the cause of laughter by just being herself! Then there is our Lewa, our host mum, her real name is Ana but we call her Lewa, which means mum. She is absolutely amazing, and her hair is so fluffy, you will often catch Danica trying to pat it! Lewa is basically my mum away from home, she helps us, supports us, she is just awesome! Then we have our Varvar, our host dad, his real name is Peni, but we call him Varvar, which of course means dad. We don’t see him much because he is often off working at their farm but he is home for dinner and nightly prayer. Then we have the children of the house hold, Kalesi or Kah, Paline or Pax and Asalei or Asa. Kah and Pax aren’t really children they are 20 years old and are nieces or some kind of relation to Varvar & Lewa but not really their children. Kah is currently studying to be a primary school teacher and will actually be leaving Lomawai to go to Lautoka to study tomorrow. I will miss her, she has been like the big sister I never had. Pax is a bit more shy then Kah but still really nice. We haven’t seen much of her because she was away alot of this week on her little holiday but I am sure we will get to know her in the next 3 months. Last but not least we have little Asa, he is 8 and goes to Wai District school, which is where Danica and I volunteer during the week. Asa he very shy! Only in the past day or so has he actually started to warm up to us. In fact all the kids are like that!
The kids at school are all fantastic! They follow us around and laugh at us but won’t talk to us!? They are so shy!!! Some of the girls have warmed up to us on the last few days but at the start they were so shy! Actually on Wednesday afternoon we took class 7 & 8 for an art lesson, we had them do some paper weaving and they loved it, even the boys!! But we didn’t get time to finish it so we told them we would have to finish it off on the next day. The next day Danica and I were in the Library doing whatever it is we were doing when Ms Taylor and a few girls come in and asked us if we could help some of the girls with their art work. Apparently the girls had been standing outside the library for 5 minutes arguing over who would go in and ask us to help them! I thought that was both funny and a little insulting, we aren’t scary are we?! I know they are just shy and they don’t want to embarrass themselves with poor English but I really hope they start talking to us soon. I mean they talk to us but it is normally just to say “Yes, Madame.”
I have so many different names here it is sometimes hard to keep up. The kids at school call us Madame, which makes me feel kind of old, but sometimes they call us Miss which I prefer. Than at home or around the village I get called Kaitlin, Kaitlinie, Kate, Caty or Jane. So I always have to listen out to see what name I will be called. But the most common name I am called is Madame, walking through the village or on the way to school you will often hear kids shout, “Madame!”
To get to the school we have to cross a bridge which goes over a river, I think they call it Lomawai River (very original). The walk to school is actually really beautiful; all dirt roads of course but surrounded but lovely green trees and plants and of course the wildlife! There are animals EVERYWHERE in the village! Walking home from school on Friday we saw a mongoose cross the road the road in front of us and 2 kids riding home from school on a horse! There are also chickens and dogs running wild all over the place. And we get a lovely wakeup call at about 5:30 or 6am from our friendly neighbourhood roosters. We also get a wakeup call at 4am from the priest telling us it is time for Morning Prayer and that is sometimes followed by the choir singing. Even though we have all of these wakeup calls I don’t get up till about 6 or 6:15 and then we leave for school at 7:30 if we are walking or the bus picks us up at 7:50 and drops us off right at the school.
The school isn’t every big, only 4 classrooms, a library/computer room a staff room and the head masters office are attached to the main building with 2 other classrooms which are not attached to the main building. There are also toilets just down a little bit from the school, aswell as a hostel where some of the students are boarders there. All the teachers except for the Kindy teacher live on the school grounds. Mr & Ms Taylor are married and live in a blue house on the school grounds with their son Harry who is in Kindy and their 2 year old twin daughters. Ms Taylor teaches classes 5&6 and Mr Taylor teaches classes 7&8. Then there is Ms Rhoandi who teaches class 1&2 and lives at the school with her husband and daughter, Sakuloo, who is in year 1. And the last teacher is the head teacher, I don’t know his name we just call him head master, and he teaches classes 3&4. Danica and I don’t really teach we are more just assistants to the school, we are currently trying to make the school more colourful. Danica brought over so many donations and they will help the school so much! The looks on the kids faces was priceless when they saw all the stuff we had brought over for them, I am sure they can’t wait to use it all!
Another funny story, when Danica and I were taking the art class on the Thursday, after they had asked for help, the girls asked if they could have some sunshine or shine shine. We had no idea what they meant, turns out they wanted some glitter they had seen in the art cupboard. It was very funny when we finally worked out what they meant. And man do they love glitter! They put so much on their weaving the whole page was covered in glitter! We have hung all over the classes artworks up in the library, hopefully I can post a picture of them soon!
I have so many pictures I want to post! And I probably will post them tomorrow, so you can see where I am staying and what all of the people look like. You will be able to tell who Danica and I are, we look like ghosts compared to the Fijians! And you cannot match their smiles no matter hard you try, they also have the biggest smiles on their faces! I don’t actually think I have met an unhappy Fijian! They are all so happy! And I don’t think I have really been sad the whole time I have been here. The saddest time was when we had to say goodbye to the other volunteers on Monday! I miss my 2 roomies the most, Blaise and Alison! The only other time I have been upset was my first night at my placement, I actually started crying during dinner! But I think I covered it up fairly well and when I woke up the next morning I was fine. It was more or less a bit of a shock, the sudden realisation that this would be my home for the next 3 months! But now I have settled in I love it!
I am going to try and post a post everyday just to say what I did that day so I don’t have to have these mammoth ones anymore! We are going to go and give our Sevusevu soon and my laptop battery is dying so I will try and post again tomorrow about tomorrow! Tomorrow we have to go to church. Yesterday we helped decorate the church altar, we changed all the dressings from red to green. They change them at the start of every month, I don’t know why they didn’t change it last weekend because last Sunday was the first Sunday of the month but anyway.
It is Fathers day in Fiji tomorrow so Danica and I brought our Varvar a bula shirt (similar to a Hawaiian shirt) and we got matching ones to wear tomorrow at lunch time! I promise to post a photo of that!
I better go now!
Sorry for making you read so much again! I’ll try to cut it down next time!
Xoxo<< Perfect amount (For Kate)