October 13, 2014
Posting by Barb:
After 2 days sailing we finally could see Fulaga. It was early in the morning and before long we were going through the narrow reef passage. We just barely floated over some coral and realized after that we had gone a little off the recommended track. There were two other boats anchored near the shore where the trail led to the village. These boats were there for their last night after spending considerable time in Fulaga. We were able to say hello and goodbye to them and we were encouraged with all the good things they had to say about the island and the people. It was about a 30 minute walk to the village where we did the Sevu Sevu with with Daniel the chief.
It was a little more elaborate and sincere although we still didn’t participate in the ceremonial drinking of the Kava. After the ceremony Suki introduced himself and informed us he would be our ‘host’ family. The ‘host’ family concept was something new that the people of Fulaga had set up so that cruisers could bond with a family in the village and thus making it easier to experience the village culture and feel more ‘at home’. There are many different opinions shared by cruisers as to whether this was a positive or negative thing (there is an obligation to always go to the family when visiting the village and it minimizes the freedom one may want).But to us there is no dispute. We are the visitors to their home. Each time we anchor we are fully aware that once we step off our boat we are the guests and this is ‘their’ home and we respect their philosophies and we acclimatize ourselves to their way of doing things.
Suki and Ba were fabulous hosts and they made us feel at home and very welcome. Although they had no knowledge of our arrival they invited us to share a meal of sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk (we probably ate their supper but there was no way of saying ‘no’ to their invitation). It was a simple offering served with such joy, pride and full of expectation of their forthcoming sharing of cultures, food and gifts. We asked them what we could give in return for their hospitality. They only thing they asked for was ‘water’ as it had not rained there for the last 3 months. The next morning they pulled up next to ‘Landfall’ in the communal power boat with their large water jugs to be filled and then left gifts of Papaya and Water Melons.
That afternoon we visited them at home and dropped off baked muffins and a box of tea bags. And so it began, the giving and receiving for our 3 weeks in Fulaga and what will follow is our highlights of our time there (October 13– November – 4).