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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

My second week as chief on Vorovoro, for Tribewanted

FIJI | Saturday, 13 September 2008 | Views [1556]

Myself and Ben Keene up to mischief...

Myself and Ben Keene up to mischief...

This week started off with another visit to the doctors for me, which was a bit of a waste of a day on Vorovoro  personally, but better news with the ear canal looking better. It's so hard to keep from swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful waters here... hopefully my efforts will pay off and I can get back out there next week, yeay!! In my absence on Monday the tribe cracked on with the usual 'karmic duties' to keep the place running smoothly and a gang helped team Fiji on the hill by the water tanks with the huge shower project. Monday night saw the usual grog session which became a blur sat at the top of the mat... I have taken to making the mat 'space' a little smaller than it seemed to have been in my previous months as part of the tribe. I prefer to be closer to the Tanoa and the tribe, and so I will continue to do that where I can, I hate missing out on the banter around the bowl! ;)

On Tuesday we didn't have a four peaks challenge in the morning due to only having one official member of the TW team on the island, who had to stay in the village for obvious reasons. Instead the tribe helped collect shells along the beach for the mosaic design that will decorate the showers and helped move some of the finer sand from the island up to the showers to make cement for the main posts in the construction. After another hot morning's work, we all got scrubbed up for the usual Tuesday visit of Tui Mali and our Sevusevu. Tui Mali was in good form today and we all had fun chatting around the mat. I Kerekere'd Tui Mali to write some words in the (Tribewanted) passport of Hassan, who was leaving the following day. This doesn't usually happen, but Hassan was such a great character and friend after his two month stay, I thought it would be a nice gesture... Tui Mali took pleasure in doing that and wrote some lovely words for Hassan. After the sevusevu Tui Mali also spoke to the tribe in English about the project and how he has found his two years stepping into the unknown with Ben, which was unusual, he doesn't normally address the tribe as a whole like that at sevusevu. He'd earlier been up to see the progress of the showers, and I sensed that he felt quite excited about the project and perhaps the permanency of the construction on this latest project is more than just a coincidence having just received an extension to the lease of Vorovoro from Tui Mali! Once again Tuesday turned into a mammoth grog session and I slept very well!

Wednesday saw five people leave, inculding some big characters. The remaining tribe helped with arranging the flooring slabs for the showers and collecting shells and glass from the beach. I lead a small group on the four peaks walk this morning, although it wasn't an official Tribewanted event. It was a good walk and I enjoyed showing the tribe the island views. The afternoon developed into something completely different... A highly respected village elder had passed away in a neighbouring village of ours (on Mali island) and we were required to give something to the village to help them with the Lovo. In a huge gesture of his generosity, Tevita presented Tui Mali with a Tabua (whales tooth) and some new mats, on behalf of Vorovoro! This was quite something, as a Tabua is the most important gift one village gives to another through their chief. After the presentation, Tui Mali and most of team Fiji left Vorovoro to go to the first part of the funeral, where all of the gifts are presented to the bereaved family.

On Thursday the island was quiet as the actual burial took place and team Fiji were there for the whole day, drinking yet more grog, until they returned and continued the session on the beach. I couldn't face grog tonight and sods law came into play as according to the few that sat and drank with them, Tui Mali was in amazing form, telling lots of stories all night... typical, the first grog session I miss in two months! :( Geoff carried on working on the showers in the heat today, determined to see it finished before he leaves next week. The gang that went on the reef trip were treated to lots of shark viewings today, so they were all buzzing when they came back.

Friday was another busy day with lots of the big slabs being carried up from the beach for the showers flooring, and the rocks being pounded and broken up to fit them all in. A couple of the girls went to help Tevita transplant some tomato seedlings into the gardens and we managed to squeeze a singing lesson into the morning with Save! After an early lunch five of us went off to the Mali District School. The children sang some different songs for us today, which I've not heard before on my previous visits, and we did some meke with them, which was great fun. The afternoon was spent playing with them all in serious afternoon heat! The rugby was brutal today, they all seemed to have personal vendettas with each other today... even I got clattered by a lad half my size, heheh! It was a fun visit as always. When we got back to Vorovoro team Fiji were ready to leave and the tribe sat in the grand bure for a short grog session with Marau who was 46 years old today... no one knew until he mentioned it late in the day! He'd spent the day working hard as always. We enjoyed some good banter with him before he left to go home to a proper party with his family... The evening was quiet with most people sloping off to bed quite early, tired after another hot and busy day. Myself and Brett stayed up with Api and Tale, sat on a mat, under the shetler of the kitchen roof from the rain, drinking grog until near midnight.

Today (Saturday) I'm picking up a few things in town and enjoying some chinese food before heading back to Vorovoro for some relaxing time...

On Monday we should be receiving the cut reeds for the Bure roofs, and we should be able to finish off the showers (all apart from the mosaic work), it should be a good week!!

Vinaka Vaka Levu
Tui Paula

Pics from Vorovoro

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