Children

Acting upon the voiced needs of Nakavika

Acting upon the voiced needs of Nakavika

Returning to Nakavika gave me a chance to see what developed without support from the outside, especially since a big income-generating business left the area. The students had the same lack of confidence in their English skills. The youth group was still in the planning stage of the same Internet center. Vita's daughter wasn't in school for nursing, as was the plan when I left, and was instead living in Suva with a family friend, working to earn money for her entire family.

These weren't just my silent observations but points many people pulled me aside to make.

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Instant withdrawal from the kids: Day 63

Instant withdrawal from the kids: Day 63

One side of the sky was navy blue and brilliant with stars and a succulent moon; the other side hinted at the curvature of the globe with shades of pink. The dew making my feet squeak in my flip-flops mirrored the moisture on my eyelids. There wasn't a wavering thought in our minds about returning to the village, so this morning absolutely marked an end. Knocking on a few doors at dawn, we came across the home where little Weiss was sleeping. It would have been impossible to take our final carrier ride without saying goodbye to our dear friend and favored student of 2.5 months. We hugged him and asked him to tell the other kids we say goodbye and will miss them. He nodded his heavy head, instantly taking the form of an older, mature being with wise eyes that see the realities of a world he can't change.

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And a flying fox in a palm tree: Day 25

And a flying fox in a palm tree: Day 25

Our rosy-nose expectations of the twelve days of Christmas made the final week leading up to the big day a little anticlimactic. How do we prepare for the event? What's going to happen? The rest of the villagers were jolly as ranchers but had no advice for us on how to infuse ourselves in the mix...aside from purchasing four sugar sweets and three Fijian hens for every child in town. We learned quickly that the children didn't know of Santa, nor did they receive presents for the occasion.

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Wai wai everywhere: Day 16

Wai wai everywhere: Day 16

The aftermath of Cyclone Mick kept the skies gray and misty for the following three days. Nearby villages sent word of their damages; Nakavika was one of the luckier communities, thanks to their relocation. For decades, Nakavika sat in a nook of a river bend, level with the mighty Luva, until the mid 1950s when a massive storm flooded the entire inhabited plain. The new location had me feeling quite safe - surrounded by the cover of mountains, sitting above the ravines, and relatively out of the bush. Normally Nakavika was a sunny, colorful paradise (forget the swarms of flies), but this week, it presented its difficulties by the bucket load.

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