A day in the village
23 October 2008 | Somo somo Bay, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
We picked our way about 11 miles south from Blue Lagoon yesterday to Somosomo, a large open bay with a fairly large village. Local custom requires visiting yachts to promptly visit and get permission from the local chief to anchor and visit the village; this is the "sevu sevu" ceremony we've mentioned. When we landed at the beach we were met by Meri and Vini (left and right in photo), two teenage girls who helped us drag the dingy up and took us to see the assistant Chief, as the boss was out of town. We were escorted into a "bure" or hut. We all sat cross legged on the floor, feet under us, and Susan laid our gift of kava root in front of the Chief. He said a few words, then picked it up and clapped. This is the signal that our gift is acceptable. A few more words in Fijian, and ritual hand clapping, and we were free to go. In some cases there is kava brewing, and then you are in for an hour or so of toasts.
Susan went back in this morning in response to Vini's invitation to join them for tea and roti, a local pan bread. While touring after tea, and taking photos, she was asked if she had "medicine." A toddler had wandered into a cooking fire, and had badly burned feet. I said I would return with what we had, as Vini and Meri wanted to see the boat. Steve wondered at my taking our only tube of Silvadene, but he hadn't seen the kid's feet. The parents weren't uncaring; they had carried him to the nurse at the village some distance to the south, who had given them neomycin. But then the local women had "burned some leaves" and applied them, as I found out when trying to clean up his feet. Alcohol swabs, sobbing child, Silvadene, "moist skin" burn bandages, gauze and tape-then strict injunctions to not let it get dirty and not burn any more leaves. I also urged a visit to the doctor in Lautoka, but a boat ride is probably pretty expensive for them. Practicing without a license-just one more cruising adventure.
We went back in this afternoon to give them the prints of the photos Susan had taken and some supplies for the pre-school teacher; the photos were a big deal in the village. They draw an immediate crowd, and we always feel bad that we don't have photos of everyone. Vini, our hostess, had a great time distributing the photos.
Back in early tomorrow morning to pick up paw paw (papaya) before we weigh anchor for the next bay/village/adventure.