I’m Kim Bowden-Kerby – American by birth, Baha’i by belief, living overseas since 1979 and in Fiji since 1999, retired nurse, occasional short-story author. We had four generations of family here on the farm for several years – but mom-in-law passed on and the young’uns moved away – though they still come to visit.
My husband Austin is an award-winning coral reef biologist. He is the one who usually provides any correct factual information that is shared in the blog. The incorrect facts are my misunderstandings, and often (but not always) corrected the following week.
Thrilled to reconnect with you Kim! This blog is awesome! xoxo
Thanks. Shottie – I’m looking forward to more of your paintings and low-country musings, and I’m glad you can see the zoo around here. hug hug
Hi Kim, my name is Veronica Hazelman from the Spice Farm in Wainadoi. Loved your blog, very interesting. Did you pick up your nutmeg tree? We have other interesting plants that you may be interested in. Do you still have Stevia, would like to exchange with you.
Hi Veronica. I need for you to talk with Austin about the plants. My blog is kind of a joke, because I’m the one who never knows anything. Some time when he goes to Suva, he might be able to swing by with plants to trade (but I’m pretty sure our stevia died). Do you have his number? I’ll tell it to you in Fijian. Ciwa tolu walu ono va tolu vitu.
Hi Kim, I wanted to coment on your latest blog May 15 but was unable to. Don’t know why. But I just loved it. I love all your blogs and learning about your life of Fiji I really miss you guys. and this is a great way to see whats happening along with Facebook, but I can’t always get Facebook here in China but you always co me through. Thanks again for sharing. Love you and all. Jo
Hi Jo – this week was very glitchy for some reason – replying on this page is a fine Plan B. I’m glad you enjoy the blog so much! Maybe you can start one from China …. I’d subscribe. And WordPress is SUPER easy.
Do you miss living in the USA? I was overseas in the military, Philippines and Thailand.
Hi Commissary Friend! I haven’t missed living in the US in all our years abroad – strange as that might seem. Part of it is that I was an only child and my parents were already dead, so I didn’t have any immediate family pulling me back. I also have had a husband that I am very attached to 🙂 Home is where the family is. We have really enjoyed our vacations going back to the States, while feeling very happy, interested, challenged, energized and fulfilled as “strangers in a strange land.” Did you enjoy the experience of interacting with the locals while you were overseas? Did you find it changed your world outlook at all?
Thanks for sharing. I am sorry for the loss of your parents. My time overseas was during the Vietnam war. The local people were always good to me. My time in the Philippines was very special. My job required me to work side-by-side with a Filipino airman, as we had to identify aircraft that were passing through our airspace. When I rotated back the states, I was given a large lazy Susan with some very nice wording on it. It said, “From the Philippines to Georgia with love.” Then, all of the names of the Filipino Airmen were embossed on the sides. I learned a little bit of the Tagalog language, but not very well. The local people were always very helpful in helping me with my poor knowledge of their language. In Thailand, it was a bit different. We didn’t have the same physical closeness with our Thai counterparts. Also, we were only about 23 miles from the Laotian border, which was not very comforting to me. My trips around the country were not often, but I went to Bangkok when “Man With The Golden Gun” was being filmed. I saw Roger Moore and his associates at the Narai (?) Hotel. The “Kwai River” went through Bangkok, and I remember the William Holden movie, “Bridge Over The River Kwai.” The Thai language was more difficult for me to understand because there were tones of speech that I couldn’t grasp. Many of my military friends were apt to stay in those two countries because of the ease of life there. I was always glad to come back to the states. I feel sorry for the impoverished people in third world countries. My ministry may take me to such places at some future date. Thanks for jogging my memory. May our Lord Jesus richly bless you.
Thank you again for your very kind comments and good wishes. I found your account of experiences in Philippines and Thailand very interesting. I will pray that your ministry will take you overseas again. The whole world is so interconnected now, that a cut in the toe can poison the body – you know? Meanwhile, I feel humbled and a bit shy that you are following my blog, which is really a small thing mainly for family, old friends, and guests who have visited and feel a bond with the place. Since you are here, something I think might be of particular interest to you might be the Fijian funeral and wedding.. You can find them using the search bar pretty easily. You can see how Fijians have brought forth old traditional customs with their deep Christian faith and developed ceremonies that incorporate the best of both.. .
It is very interesting that you have shown so many birds in your blog posts. I am a fan of birds; it’s good to know that you are too. The picture of the bird coming out of the egg is very good. God created the fish and the fowl on the fifth day; maybe that’s the reason they’re wiser and nicer than many human beings. Thanks for providing so much insight on your life in Fiji; it is very interesting. I made a short stopover in Guam when I was enroute to the Philippines. It was at the end of a very long day of flying. It seemed like we were traveling at the same speed as the sun, and were never leaving our calendar day. The time that I spent in Guam (a few hours) was very peaceful. I know of missionaries who are assigne to Guam; I would like to return someday. Agape from the Eastern Time Zone.
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the birds! And yes, I really know that “travelling with the sun” feeling. Jet lag isn’t nearly the problem flying west as flying east. Westward being a very long day, and eastward being What-in-creation-has-happened?
Agape, indeed! I’ll be praying that your travels have you passing through Fiji, since you are starting to feel like an “old” (vi – ha ha) friend. I like being your friend from the future. (I think you still have about 6 hours of 2014 left – maybe you can make it end with a splash).
Wow! You should have been on the plane with me that went from Tokyo to San Francisco. It was 8 hours of non stop flight. I was really beat. You would have seen a poorly paid airman who was returning from the PI, and not having much money, with a wrinkled khaki type of uniform. I wasn’t able to shave for about two days. I must have looked atrocious. But, that is what war calls for (vi).. I’ve enjoyed looking at both of your blogs; they’re both very good. I have a second one, but it is more sanitized, and used for advetising my services. Yes. It feels like you are a friend from the past, future,and present. God is good for arranging stuff like that. We are 14 hours behind Japan; I’m not sure what your time difference is. In Ga we are 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. I’m not much into splashing, except at a pool – not tonight! We have 2 hrs 54 min left in this year. I hope that the new one is better… As I read your posts, if I see something that appears to be more personally conversational, it might be best for me to send an email to you, if that is okay with you. Your family is beautiful. I know that you are very proud of all that God has blessed you with (Oops! A dangling participle- please forgive me!). So, it has been good talking to a “not so old” friend. Again, God is good. Please have a good night/day and a wonderful new year. From Ga with agape.
It was when I was looking at Fiji on a map that I also saw New Caledonia. In the tv series, Mc Hale’s Navy, that was the place that all of Ernest Borgnine’s seaman want to go for R&R. It seemed like a nice place to go; have you ever been to New Caledonia? About how far is that island fom Fiji? I hope that your firstt two days of the new year have been good for you. I pray that you and your family will receive special blessings from God. Agape from Ga.
I’d be delighted to exchange emails with you if you like. My email address is my entire last name minus punctuation and no spaces AT gmail DOT com. Bowden-Kerby – minus the dash. Since I don’t know your name yet (ha ha ha) – just introduce yourself as the “Equipment Manager”. My Mother was from Marietta.
Hi – I can’t reply directly under your comment – how odd. Anyway, I have not been to any of the neighboring island nations yet. We compute distance in dollars, not in miles. New Caledonia is about $1500 away from here. ALL the islands out here would be beautiful for R & R. I’ve been to several islands of Fiji – all magnificent. When I am able to travel, I want to go to Tonga – $750 from here – and visit some friends who have developed a garden paradise.
Hey Kim, It’s you college friend Sharon MacKenzie. I last heard from you when you were in Guam. Looks like life has been good to you. I’m doing well in Oregon. Would be great to hear from you!
Hi Sharon, what a surprise! Lovely to see you are around. I will email. Hugs.
Ni sa bula Kim! And namaste too ….
I’ve been reading your wonderful blog for around a year and it never fails to touch me – so thank you for making me smile and occasionally even shed a tear. Your posts are especially interesting to me as I lived in Fiji from 1979 – 1986. In 1984 I married Epeli and when our first daughter was born we built a house on Beqa Island making a living as subsistence farmers which was wonderful, though not without its challenges. We left in 1986 and have lived in the UK ever since and are now retired – so who knows, we may even return to our little house in Vaga Bay one day. In the meantime your posts often trigger long forgotten memories for me – but I’ve also learned so much too. So thank you so much – your love of the people, the land, the creatures and the plants, the sea and the stars all reflect the same passion that we have for Viti. If you’re ever visiting Rukua Village on Beqa please let me know and I’ll ask my sister in law to show you around.
Looking forward to your future ramblings – loloma bibi
Bula Linda, so wonderful to “meet” you here! I’m so glad to learn that my ramblings strike a happy chord with you. Guess what: Junia’s mum was from Dakuibeqa … and he is probably a relative of your husband. So when you come back, come to the farm so they can piece it together 😊. If I ever head to Beqa myself, I will write to get your sister-in-law’s contact. Vinaka vakalevu, Kim
Hi Kim, I came across your blog through an instagram account that I follow. He and his family recently visited your farmstay from Australia. My husband and I live in Wainunu, Vanua Levu. We’re 4 years into developing our farm and I am currently taking an online Permaculture Design course. Our eventual goal is to open our farm to travellers wishing to experience rural life in Fiji. I’m very excited to discover other permaculturists and adventurous people in Fiji. Hopefully if I’m over to Viti Levu some time in the next few months we can connect and share our experiences. – Karen
Hi Karen – That’s great to hear: the more permaculture in Fiji the better. We have a Teitei Homestay Fiji page on Facebook. When you are comimg to Viti Levu, contact me there, and we can figure out a time to get together here. Vinaka and Moce mada, Kim
goodness – how fun as well as fascinating to be relocated permanently to Fiji! I’ve never been there, so sounds fabulously mysterious 🙂 I’d love if you’d guest blog post for my site. if you’re so inclined, here’s a link to general guidelines:
Hey, Kim! Shoddy Wrenn sent me the link to your blog. We are trying to put together a 50th reunion for the SGP class of 1970. You are so far away, but if you are interested in getting more information, please send me your physical and email address. I am at email@example.com. I am bookmarking your blog so I can learn more about your adventure. All the best, Margaret Covington Danelski.