This morning a few volunteers and I woke up really early and watched the sunrise from a mangrove near our village. Last night at dinner I told my host parents that I was going to wake up early to watch the sunrise and my Ta (dad) laughed so hard and then said, “You? Wake up early? Ha ha ha!” … I guess you can say that my host family is really starting to get to know me pretty well. I am convinced I’m living with the most amazing family in Fiji. Tomorrow my Na (mom) and I are planning to make roti, a fluffy tortilla, together; I’m super excited about it! Roti is the best, we eat it with pumpkin in a curry sauce. Woo hoo to all the vegetarian meals!
Today was Sunday and instead of going to church I hung out with a niece and nephew and my sister in law. Religion is a pretty major part in Fijian culture, I attended a prayer group on Wednesday and pretended to sing along with everyone. I plan on going to church once in a while, maybe I’ll go next week.
We had another feast on this sunshine Sunday and this feast was a special one. My host brother in law is leaving for Syria tomorrow to serve in the Fijian army. I asked what exactly he’ll be doing there and he said “Peace Keeping.” I don’t know much about the Fiji army but my Ta (who is a retired soldier) told me that Fiji is part of the United Nations and that’s why they take part in the peace keeping. (Don’t quote me on this).
This week we learned more of the language and I am starting to talk in Fijian more. Every time I speak Fijian in front of kids they giggle, some literally fall to the floor laughing. And my na told me that my English accent sounds funny, but my whole host family is helping me learn and they speak slowly to me. So I’m super happy about that and use flash cards to study with other volunteers.
We also had sessions on diversity, religion, and LGBTQ in Fiji. The conversations at these sessions were amazinggggg. We had various little activities to do with small groups and we also had discussions. My favorite part was a panel of 4-6 current volunteers who answered any questions we had. It was so great hearing their stories and how they were so honest with us. There were tears, there were laughs, and there was so much encouragement from them. The volunteers had different perspectives depending on where they are placed but one thing that really stuck out to me is how welcoming villages can be to a complete stranger from a completely different culture. After hearing from current volunteers, I am even more excited about starting this journey and going to my site. But for now, I’m going to embrace every moment here in Narocake.
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