Lyn Dallison and I arrived in Taveuni ready for a short stint of building. It turned into painting which suited me fine. In a small 2 bedroom teachers house 9 people hammered, skilsawed, painted and sweated profusely.
I battled a paint roller which fell off the handle when I turned it the wrong way. And the floor was covered in heavy dust and tramped in mud.
Lunch was a treat. Sandwiches made by Joey and delivered in a big plastic box. A lovely surprise every day.



After a quick trip to the dusty town of Somo Somo to buy more rollers for the steadfast guys, Lyn and I caught a boat to The Remote Resort. Serenaded ashore, fruit cocktails and a welcoming kava ceremony. (preferred the fruit cocktail )
This place was much quieter, less dusty, virtually noiseless and peopled by smiling staff who looked after our every need. A very fine village cultural visit, swam, snorkelled day and night and massages.
The night snorkel was a first for both of us. We saw a startled turtle. And when I tapped a squid with my torch it rewarded me with a faceful of black ink. I laughed underwater.


And still the blokes worked and sweated.
Having been gentled by a tad of luxury, we were whisked to the island of Kioa. Kioa is populated by Tuvaluans who settled on this Fijian island starting in 1947. The village boasts a population of about 1000, is situated in a lovely bay. Governed by the elected Island Council, the “chief” is The Chairman.
70 years ago the Council divided the village into 4 areas. For reasons lost in the mists, they are Papua New Guinea, Cuba, London and Ncombia.
We stayed in PNG with the extensive Fiafia family under the kind eye of Mrs Ruby. (sister of The Chairman ). We spent much of the day sitting at her table, being fed first as guests. It is a bit uncomfortable for us Palangi to know the rest of the family is waiting to eat when we are finished.
In deference to our great age Mrs Ruby insisted we rested a lot.
Lyn struggled with long periods of doing not much. I struggled with living so communally with the dogs, chooks and people.
We watched the kindy children rehearse their dancing and poems for the kindy celebration on another island the following day.
The next day everyone was up early to dress the littlies and their parents and grandparents. Matching clothes and head dresses. Very cute. Then into 5 longboats for the trip.
Lyn and I snuck away for a snorkel and a quiet Coke. Nice coral, many different fish.
We were part of the welcoming party for a bunch of eye doctors and students who were working at a nearby mission. Blended in seamlessly to the singing and dancing, no problem.
Saturday is rugby day! They played sevens, not surprisingly. Very well, very boisterously.
Getting back to Taveuni was an object lesson in not planning too much. Our plans were in permutation #5 before we finally left Kioa with much farewelling and tofa-ing.
On the ferry we talked to a midwife who was returning from Vanua Levu in more leisurely fashion than the night before. She had raced from Taveuni with a young mother in difficult labour across rough seas in a longboat to get her to an ambulance to Labasa. She said she thought the trip might have done the trick but the frightened young woman needed an immediate caesarean in Labasa. And then, there were Bruce and Brian waving on the wharf. Back to Margarita and the life we know.