Back from a media tour to a few remote villages, Janine Karavaki is awestruck by the spirit and might of the villagers.
If you get a chance to travel to different places in Fiji you will find that the clocks are not ticking in synch. In tourist resorts they will gently instill the “Fiji time” in you. Fittingly, souvenir shops sell you clocks with mixed-up numbers to honour the relaxed-time philosophy. If you go to lively Suva instead, at rush-hour time you’ll need to squeeze yourself through crowds of busy people on the footpaths. And if you get in a taxi you’ll wonder if the driver is trying to beat the clock or mistaking his run-down taxi for a posh racing car.
But leave the town behind and you will find those Fijian communities that haven’t caught up with the modern times yet. They still live quite like their forefathers did, living off what land and sea offer them, without modern life’s convenience and luxuries that we’ve got used to in the cities. On a Central Division Media Tour organised by the Ministry of Information, I came across villages that haven’t had electricity in over 20 years. It’s a world where cell phones have no reception and where the only means of transport is your own feet… or maybe a horse.
Some kids have to walk for three hours … To read more, buy Mai Life’s July issue.