How amazing is to get into a village of strangers, with so different culture and habits and give each other the happiness of just being together, watching each other and learning new things, from each other.
In the little Fijian village, where they have never seen white kids: we are IN after one hour. Tom talked, like it should be, with the chief. I made the food and shared with everybody (some ate pasta for the first time ever!). We were offered staying in very special house: “bure” but because of dengue mosquitoes we chosen our tent, of course to be put… in the middle of the village. It all ended up with a big party with the elderly of the village, in front of our tent and I got seriously stoned with the local kava (a sedativ drug made from the roots of the kava plant). Things like this only with you, Mr. Alboth!
We met this girl in bus to Levuka, the bus drive took few hours, we talked with her, played with her little girl. She showed us from the bus her village and said: come and visit me. And to us, you don’t have to say such a sentence twice! After spending nice and calm time in this little, old ex-capital of Fiji called Levuka, we bought maybe 10 breads in the bakery (we noticed that the girl from the bus was bringing the bread to her family) and started our long walk into Visoto village direction. We were hoping for some lift, but only between the first two villages on the way there was a car, which could take us. The rest of the way we spend on feet, with our crazy heavy backpacks (you never know if there will be the water or food, so you have everything with you) and different groups of friendly people. Everybody was trying to convince us to stay in their village but we had our aim.
When we arrived to Visoto and started to look for “our girl” it started to feel a bit heavy and problematic. She was truly surprised to see us (maybe it’s just such a phrase: come and visit me?) and obviously didn’t feel too comfortable. But the last thing we wanted to do was to make any troubles! She was on her way to the church, when we met her, so – even being very tired and hungry – we joined her. First plus points in the village and from the priest! Then, we went to talk with the chief of the village, explained him what are we doing and why. He was very happy that we chosen his village and gave us the green light to stay as long as we want. He wanted that we stay in the “bure”, a very special house, but we wished very much for our mosquitoes free tent. He agreed. And then “our girl” got totally relaxed (that was obviously the thing: she was afraid we won’t be accepted) and we were totally IN the village.
Cooking, talking, drinking coffee, eating the bread, drinking kava, just being together from the morning until the late night – was an awesome experience. It was very clear that everybody is happy and learning from each other: we from Visoto people (the language, cooking, traditions!) and they from us (how the tent or the cooker works, where is Europe, all that things). In some point I came into the house and there were Hanna and Mila with maybe 10 kids, singing different songs. – And once again, in Polish – Hanna was directing – Panieeee Janieeee, Panieee Janieee, rano wstan…. – And after a while in German. What a moments! Our girls can sing some songs in Fijian now, have to upload some video of it!
There were all the time questions: from both sides. How do you say this, how do you do that? In Visoto I felt so free to be just myself, to get the answers I hope for and to share all I had. I loved it. Being a part of such a community, with all it means: sharing your time but also sharing your tent (the kids, not only ours, were falling asleep in there), all the food and all the privacy. Forget about privacy! In those houses sometimes 20 people live together in one piece of space, and so did we. But it was extremely interesting to feel how easy is it to make people people happy just by giving them attention. Just by listening to their stories, their way of cutting and cooking the snake, their believies and their hopes. How to wave the mat, how to catch a prone? Now we know!
Not only we had wet eyes, when we were living Visoto. I have tons of notes, about the kava drinking ceremony, about the rules of the language. The girls have so many moments, while drawing some pictures together, while leaving all the paper and all the crayolas we had with us – for their new friends. Rich, rich time in the poor, poor Visoto.
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »
Pięknie jak zwykle :)
Though I haven’t met 3 out of you 4 yet… I got one picture of you as a family in my head that has crossed my mind several times when reading your posts and looking at your photos. It is the picture of my alltime favorite novel hero.. Momo. Your way of seeing the world and your way of listening to others really is “living time” rather than “spending time”. Keep on and thanks for sharing your stories :)