How Many Pigs Do You Have?
10 September 2016 | 17 16.42'S:177 6.99'E, Waya Island, Yasawa Group, Fiji
How Many Pigs Do You Have?
While visiting a small Fijian village on Waya Island, in the Yasawa Group, we were asked "How many pigs do you have?" When we answered that we didn't have any pigs at all, our new friend was quite confused. How could we not have any pigs when pigs are so important? We had to tell him that we didn't have any chickens either. Wow, are we low on the totem pole!
At seventeen, "Tuni" was proud that he already had a pig, and that it was pregnant so he would soon have many more pigs. Of course, he had chickens too - four of them.
And so, we visit into a culture that is so different than ours. Our lifestyle is as foreign to them as theirs is to us!
We arrived at this small village after sailing from the mainland of Fiji, near the town of Lautoka. It was a short sail of only 35 miles. As we entered the bay where the village was located, we got the boat comfortably anchored and then prepared to head to shore for sevusevu - the ceremony where we present kava and ask for permission to anchor in their bay, hike their trails, etc. As we approached shore in our dinghy, people in the water and on shore started waving us towards the best path through the coral. Before we even landed, one guy had our dinghy and took care of it the entire time we were on shore.
We were taken to the chief's house, a blanket was spread on the palm mat floor, and we were invited to sit down. Women kneel with their knees to the side, men sit crosslegged with their sulu covering their knees. I put the kava in front of the chief on the blanket as custom dictates. I then waited to see if he picked up the kava, accepting us and granting us protection. He did pick it up, went through a short welcome speech in Fijian, and then we enjoyed a few minutes of small talk.
The chief didn't speak english so his wife translated for us. She also thanked us for showing respect by dressing appropriately and wearing sulu's. I guess some people show up in shorts and tank tops, which is VERY bad form when visiting a rural village. We were invited to join them for church on Sunday morning, and we also arranged for a guide to take us to the top of a massive rocky peak on the island. They said the hike should take 35 minutes each way. However, we have already caught on that time isn't really important, or necessarily accurate. By looking at the distance and the elevation gain required, a chairlift would take more than 35 minutes! "Tuni" is the name of the teenager who is going to take us up the mountain. He is lean as looks fit. That's good because he may have to carry us up the last bit if the rock is as steep as it looks!
Tuni also gave us a tour of the village. Dee was mobbed by kids who wanted to practice their english. "What is your name? what is your name?" was called out by each of them as we passed by. We have lots of lollipops to bring to shore tomorrow, so after church we are going to see how these kids handle sugar overload.
This brings us to the pigs, which were an important part of the village tour. Strategically located downwind of the village, the pigs had their very own beach. Some were in pens, and some were free, but all of them knew who their owners were and which pen was theirs. There were A LOT of pigs. Apparently everybody has at least one pig. The big wigs in the village had several pigs, kind of making them "pig wigsÉ" Forgive me, I'm working on my village humor.
After telling Tuni that we had no pigs and no chickens I explained that we lived in the city in a condo building. Now, I had to explain what a condo building was. He did understand city since he had lived in Lautoka when he went to junior high. But, even city people have pigs! Oh well, on Monday when we go for the mountain hike with him we will take another stab at convincing him that he doesn't have to feel sorry for us for our lack of pigs!
Picture: Supposedly, the rock spire in the right is where we are hiking on Monday.