Hurricane

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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Mick chicken: Day 14

Mick chicken: Day 14

Garrett and I, both equipped with our arsenal of cameras, sat atop propane tanks and cracker bins documenting the horizontal palm fronds. While everyone else was enclosed in woven bamboo walls, we found relative shelter under the awning of the billiard area, with a concrete floor and an opening behind us facing the belly of the beast. And with every hearty gust, my pigtail braids split over my shoulders and flopped in front of me, flanking my face. My all black gear coated with a thick layer of mist, I avoided touching my clothes in order to keep the rain from penetrating to my goose-bumped skin.

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Bracing for the cyclone: Day 13

Bracing for the cyclone: Day 13

Various news publications reported Cyclone Mick as a battering, vicious storm, causing a lot of devastation to Viti Levu in December of 2009. BBC showed disheartening video footage of the aftermath. Al-Jazeera accentuated the death count. The Telegraph wove together an anthropomorphic description of Mick using beastly adjectives galore. All of these articles were factual, but, for the highlanders, they certainly didn't incapsulate the energy and emotion of the experience. Oddly enough, the village of Nakavika seemed to find the Category 2 storm amusing.

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