Fire and Brimstone
13 July 2017
It was Sunday yesterday so I was duly dragged on the the one hour trek through the jungle to attend church. Second time in two weeks. That brings my average up to once every fifteen years........including weddings.
So, there we were, sat in the pews along with maybe a hundred villagers and kids. As the sermon is in Fijian we haven't a clue what's going on but I have to say I felt a lot of sympathy for the audience. There they sit, having been in the fields all week, including Saturday, the men chopping down trees, harvesting coconuts, tilling the soil the women battering the bark off a special tree branch senseless to make "tapa", a kind of parchment that they then paint to export and sell in Suva. Most Tapa are about 2 foot and 3 foot, some a good sized living room rug and one that half a dozen women were working on was probably 60 or 70 foot by 20 to be packed up and sent to the USA for an ex-pat Fijian wedding.
Anyway, there they sit a bit knackered after their six day week while up front, the vicar is doing a fair imitation of that nasty little chap from the late 1930's, him with the Charlie Chaplin moustache you sometimes see on the History channel, giving the villagers some serious talking to, fists flying and fingers pointing. What they'd done I've no idea but it did seem a bit unfair to me. They work all week and get one day off. He works one day and gets six off and on his one day he gets mad. Might have been a bad curry.
During our visit to the village on Friday one of the guys, on seeing the fairly unique, commemorative edition Fiji Olympic win Rugby Sevens $7 note yelled excitedly to his pals that, "look, look......its my brother. He's the captain" So, we presented him with one we had been keeping as a Christmas present and gave it to Beely. He was delighted and we were duly invited to another sumptuous lunch of leaves in coconut, leaves with fish, (it's amazing what you can do with leaves) noodles and chicken and taro cooked in the fire pit lomo outside the back door finished off with lemon cake. The others were invited to another house which was holding a traditional wake for a recently deceased old lady. I think we had more fun.
Afterwards, having eaten them out of house and home they offered us a lift back to the boats in one of their Pangas, 20 feet, flat bottomed open fishing boats with a 40hp Yamaha on the back. We gave them a Time Bandit tour, a can of Coke and a few lengths of some old rope my brother gave me years ago. Two course lunch for a Coke? Made us feel quite mean and perhaps they were thinking, "It's true, what we heard about the Scots"