That Time I Made Fijian Children Cry

D’Tui and her village friends wasted no time paddling out in the water on a handmade raft. They giggled and squealed and splashed water on each other. The village goat brayed pleadingly, wanting them to come back and play. He circled the bush he was tied to in frustration.

Village Children On Raft Continue reading

Advertisements

Hilary Goes To Fiji- The Movie

I am a much better writer than director or editor. But in an effort to become multifaceted, I’m working on adding video content to Nomad Grad. Let’s call this progress. =)

Fiji Water

I’ve got adventures, spiritual experiences, and a very important visit to the village of the Firewalkers still yet to share with you. But first, I bring you a video that captures the spirit of this adventure. Let’s call it a teaser trailer. Or the musical number right before intermission. Or that thing I did just for funsies. Maybe you’ll love it and possibly call it Oscar worthy. Or maybe you’ll give it a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes… Continue reading

The Time I Flashed Fijian Chiefs

“If you need to get up and pass by the tanoa, you must pass on the left side. Make sure you crawl, kneel, or bow down as you pass the bowl. It’s a sign of respect to the service going on around you. Also, make sure you touch the bowl and say, Tulo, Tulo (pronounced chi-loh), as you go by. That means excuse me in Fijian. And it’s very important you respect the tanoa and its contents. They are thought to be mystical and powerful. You don’t want to abuse it.” Caroline smiled at me with her eyes and then tapped my notebook with her finger. “Write that down.”

I scribbled away in my tiny spiral notebook and gave a nod of thanks to the relative of Ro Mereani. She and the other women surrounding me laughed as I did this. This had become our bit. We’d sit at the back of the kava party (the customary place for women) and I’d ask elementary questions about the traditions I was witnessing and they would happily indulge me. They found my naiveté amusing and I guess I couldn’t blame them. My presence was very unusual for such a deeply ingrained tradition. Continue reading

Aftermath of Death and Unexpected Gifts

I scanned the room, taking in the scene around me. Ro Mereani’s brothers and were gathered on the floor sitting on dakua mats. The elders had already broken out the tanoa (literal translation meaning ‘big wooden bowl’) to serve kava. Ro Mereani was fast at work with the nurse and housekeeper preparing the body for transport.

Sala, the nanny, had given me one her sulus to wear while I was out in the living room. “We must wear them around the elders. It’s a sign of respect,” she said with a sweet smile. She helped me wrap it and took her place next to D’Tui. I stood against the bedroom door frame, rubbing the material between my fingers. Continue reading

Heading Home Somewhere Over a Rainbow

I mulled over my peanut buttered bagel. This trip had been so enlightening, inspiring, and nurturing; I had never met such a spectacular group of women. Everyday was such a great experience, even eating breakfast seemed like an adventure. It was hard to believe we were sharing our last meal in paradise.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

Continue reading