28 November 2019

2019-11-25 village from Lutu's door  Cr.jpg

My big thing this week is that I spent a night in the neighboring village.  First time.  There were two reasons:  (1) I try to spend a night every few months at some friend’s home when they will only let me speak Fijian (shock therapy for my language learning), and (2) we have a guest coming who’d like to spend a night in the village, and I needed to go check it out first.

So I went to the home of Lutu, the lady who works here and also hosts the village visit activity.  She is a beautiful soul.  Her husband Rupeni is a cheerful and outgoing fellow (who was out going to play rugby and then to a team meeting that night, so I didn’t see much of him this time).  I didn’t see her two daughters who are away for summer holiday with grandmother.  But her son, 8 year old Rupeni Junior, was home and was my best buddy there.  What a sweetie.

I had a grand time.  It was like being back in Micronesia when we were living off the grid.   Lutu and family aren’t as off-grid, having electricity and thus two tube lights and a refrigerator, a small washer, and an electric frypan.  Plus a flush toilet.  Luxuries we did not enjoy.  But still it was more off-grid than home and I was happy.

I smelled the happy smell of a kerosene stove.  Turned out that that belonged to a neighbor: Lutu was cooking on wood.  I showered in my skirt under the pipe outside, guarded on three sides by walls made of black garbage bags.  I sat on a mat, ate at a tablecloth on the floor, and listened to the quiet.   The village is sooooooo peaceful.

2019-11-25 village chickens  Cr.jpg

A few chickens walked around the yard.  All the dogs were quiet.

The village drum was beaten in a rhythm for about a minute.  I checked my clock, it was 7 pm.

Lutu gave me a private room with a bed for sleeping, and put up a mosquito net for me since my lungs object to mosquito coils.   I slept so well.  It was a wonderful experience.

(You’d think I’d have thought to takes photos of Lutu and Junior … Here’s one of Lutu, I’m stealing from my daughter-in-law’s facebook page)

Lutu from Monica FB.jpg

Vinaka vakalevu, Lutu!


Shelling that corn.

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I said “fun fun” because I remembered loving to do it.  I forgot that I have repetitive stress injuries in my hands from shelling mountains of corn before.  But I’m doing it again.  And every time I tell myself, “I’m only going to take out two rows so the corn dries – I won’t finish shelling it til later,” I shell it anyway because I can’t NOT shell it.  Oh my poor hands!



Koro means “village”

Korolevu, which is the name of a village between here and Suva, means “Big village”

Korotogo (ko-ro-tong-oh), which is the name of a village beside Sigatoka, means “[something] village”   – I don’t know what togo means yet. Ha ha.

Vinaka vakalevu na nomu veiciqomi ki na koro oqo.

Thank you very much for your accepting me to this village.


I’m leaving on holiday for 3 weeks and may not post while I’m gone …. will have to see.  So just in case:  Happy three weeks, Everybody.



21 November 2019

2019-11-21 Chickens for sale  Cr.jpg

Chickens for sale, chickens for sale.  A really good sale!  Austin has decided he needs to thin down his flock.  Waaaaaay down.   Son Akka is more than happy to oblige, and has made the price ridiculously low – nobody tries to bargain at all.  Akka knows exactly which birds Austin wants to keep and all the rest are up for grabs.   Every night Akka and his son Kiki go out with a torch to pick about 10 hens to sell the next day.

Austin is so busy with the coral work, and so disheartened by the biosecurity problems, that he actually made a few noises about Quitting!   This is when it is helpful to have a wife in your corner.  This wife told him:  Quitting is not an option –  you are not letting the commercial chicken supply country’s corrupt system continue to undermine Fiji’s food sovereignty (put obstacles up to prevent import of heritage breeds, but instead force us to be reliant on hybrid birds that have to be replaced every generation).  No, No, oh Hell No!  And that was the end of that defeatist talk.  Ha ha.


Guests this last week did some kitchen experiments that I only caught at the end – nifty stuff though:  Coconut Yogurt.

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There were three versions – with fiber, without fiber, and with lime zest.   The lime stuff was the best.

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I’ve got a porch full of drying corn for the first time in several years.

2019-11-21 corn to be shelled  R.jpg

Will be shelling it all in the next week.  Fun, fun.


Really the joy of my life is having grandson Kiki here.   He took me on a hunt for kavika fruit.

2019-11-19 Kiki tourguide  R.jpg

Led me through the sheep field and a lot of wild weeds.  Rough darn walk.  Tree had no fruit, and then we had to come back.   At least it got me off my sofa.

So he took me to a tree he KNEW had fruit:

2019-11-20 Kiki jackfruit  Re.jpg

Jackfruit.  I had not noticed.  There are two huge ones.  Need to tell Ashmita.  There will be jackfruit curry soon!



Kaukawa  (cow-COW-ah) means “strong.”

Malumalumu (MA-loo-ma-LOO-mu) means “weak,”   also “soft” and “slow.”

So which of these Fijian words do you think belongs with this photo?

2019-11-19 Kiki parkour R.jpg

Sa _____________________ na makubuqu.

(Is __________________ the grandchild-mine.)

Kaukawa!   Sa kaukawa o Kiki!  Sa kaukawa na makubuqu!

(Strong!  Is strong Kiki!  Is strong my grandchild!)


Happy week, everybody.



14 November 2019

It’s the Fauna and Fauna and Fauna Weekly Report this week, and not all good news.

Top of the week, the goldfish died.

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We have one more fish living in the tank – a white one, and then we are done.


That good news from last week about Po’s five puppies – I was wrong.

2019-11-14 Po and pups  Cr.jpg

There were SEVEN puppies.

Guess how many boys.   One.  Ha ha – we got six little girl pups this time.   So much for Austin thinking about choosing the best of the males to replace Bruno.

I shouldn’t have bragged about Bruno a few weeks back.  He is big, handsome and healthy – but he chases and kills chickens.  Junia thought Bruno could be trained – Po was like that when she was young, then she settled down.  But this morning Bruno killed the sickly lamb.

Austin admits he didn’t choose so well when he chose Bruno from Winky’s litter.  He selected him like a rooster – the BIGGEST one!   He should have listened to our guest who told him Jack the Pup was the smartest and was the keeper.  Oh well.


The kitties are getting a lot bigger

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Soon they will be cats.



Sota tale  (SO-ta  TA-lay)  equates to “catch you later”


Sota tale, Everybody.   Have a happy week.


6 November 2019

Not surprisingly, we were pooped after last week.

I was about to tell you “I’ve got NOTHING” this week …. but then Rakesh called me yesterday morning to come take a look at the stair under my house.

Po popped!

2019-11-06 Po's pups  Cr.jpg

Five little white and black pups.   Oh boy!

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Honorable Barefoot Professor taught me that dau  (nDOW) means “expert.”

So where volivoli means “sell” and taki means “doing” –  dauvolivolitaki means “vendor”    Likewise butako (mBu-ta-ko) means “steal” and daubutako means “thief”

But now I learn from the Peace Corps language manual that dau also means “usually” and “really”

So   Au dau taleitaka na jokoliti.   is  “I usually like chocolate.”   And   Au sega ni dau taleitaka na jusi.  is  “I don’t really like juice (soda).”

So let me tell you how it is for me.  Au dau levu na confused tiko.  (I usually/really/expertly very/plenty confused stay. ….  OOPS – Professor says No!  The preferred way to say this is Au dau confused vakalevu.   “I usually confused a lot.”   Professor tried to teach me “confused” – but it’s too much!)

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Happy week, everybody.