19 09.248S 178 32.430E
Posting by Barb :
Barring any schedules we usually stay in a particular place until Denny and I both feel that it is time to go. Can’t quite explain what that feeling is but it always happens and we usually stay in a place until that happens. And so it was with Fulaga, beautiful as it was. Not being connected to the rest of the world, specifically to family and friends back home may have had something to do with the feeling that it was time to say good-bye.
So we spent a day putting together gifts. Becky spent a couple of hours making batches of Snickerdoodle cookies for Salote. Denny and I went through the boat and dug out anything that we hadn’t used for quite sometime but that could be useful to Suki and Ba. So we made a final trip to town. Salote cried when Becky said goodbye. We said goodbye to Ba’s parents who were always quietly around. They gave us a big hug and sniffed our cheeks. I later realized that was the Fijian way of saying good-bye. It was a sniff-kiss!!
We invited the whole family back to the boat but only Suki and Ba committed to coming. They showed up with gifts for us. A miniature Kava bowl and a miniature Lali Fijian drum of the wooden slit-gong type both made by Suki out of the infamous Vesi wood. Ba gave us a variety of beautiful woven purses, baskets and mats woven from the leaves of the voivoi plant.
It was our turn to pamper and cook a feast for them. For all the meals that Ba cooked for us not once did she sit and eat with us. As part of their culture Ba always ate after we had all been served and fed. So this time we enjoyed having Ba sit at the dinner table with us. We served Spaghetti!! To our delight Suki and Ba slurped and wolfed down the noodles. For dessert we had fudge brownies and Ba kept going for seconds. We made them take some Brownies to share with the rest of the family. I am pretty sure the cookies were eaten during the 20 minute walk back to town.
We said our final farewells and Ba became very emotional and started to cry. Soon all of us ladies were crying. We did spend some good times together, learned a lot from each other, shared quite a few meals and became friends. But somehow there is a kind of finality when saying good-bye to friends that do not have access to internet, do not have mobile phones and our mailing address is always changing.
We promised to visit their family in Suva and drop off some off their large Kava bowls and frozen fish caught by Suki the day before. We were then able to share all of Fulaga memories with the family. You can imagine their delight at seeing the pictures of family they have not seen in quite sometime. We just sat back and watched the joy in their faces as the slide show on our laptop was played over and over.