About Kim in Fiji

American by birth. Baha'i by choice. Wife. Mother. Retired Nurse. Writer. Living in tropical islands for more than 3 decades, but just started paying attention.

19 October 2017

2017-10-16 Biosecurity R

Real farm stuff – a Biosecurity team came from Suva to inspect Austin’s chicken operation.  So far so good!  He has to re-purpose one chicken villa that is too close to the hatchery, otherwise his set-up is perfect.   Now they need to send one officer to draw blood for salmonella testing, and if that is clear, Austin will have the permit to export his Super-Jungli chicks to other countries.  Yay!

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It is a mad house here as we get ready for a huge community celebration for the 200th anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s birth (a Baha’i holy day).   I planned to bake 10 cakes, and the oven door was falling off.   Luckily it is Diwali, and I could hit the DIWALI  SALES !

2017-10-18 diwali new stove

Ta da!

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More getting ready.   I was in charge of varnishing the pieces of a beautiful bamboo lamp that a Teitei guest sent to us.

2017-10-14 lamp pieces R

It took all my ingenuity to find a way to hang and separate them:  heavy thread, drinking straws, paper clips and indoor clothes lines.  (ok, Austin suggested the straws and Monica suggested the clothes lines….)   It was still a messy job!

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And now for the gazebo, henceforth known as the Teitei Pavillion – ALMOST ready to be unveiled.   The deadline is our celebration on this coming Saturday night.  I thought I’d have some All-Done photos, but it is still in progress.  Ha ha, Fiji time…

My dear brother Jeswant offered to let Austin buy the beautiful end of our hill, and our friends Patti and Poova Murday generously gave some money for us to build a gazebo.  Austin’s plan got considerably more elaborate – and I have a few photos that show the time line.

2017-07-19 gazebo 1 R

July 19  First posts in.

2017-08-01 gazebo 2 R


August 1   Roof framing up.

2017-08-24 gazebo 3 R

August 24   Framing for the cupola up.

2017-09-13 gazebo 4 R

September 19   Entire roof is on.   This is a view looking up from the middle.

2017-10-11 gazebo 5 R

October 11   Floor is poured, benches are going in.

2017-10-18 gazebo 7 R

Last night!   Here is that beautiful globe lamp.   Unfortunately we cannot let it hang because it is so windy on the hill.

2017-10-18 gazebo 6 R

And the rope lights that Austin is having installed around the edges of both roofs – to be turned on for the holy days of all our neighbors as a source of joy to the neigborhood.   Note:  the photo shows work in progress – that will not be the finished look.

Will we actually be done by Saturday night?    …. Stay tuned.

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Happy Diwali.  Happy Twin Birthdays.  And a very happy week to you all.

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12 October 2017

2017-10-10 a kid on the road R

I’ve been out on foot a lot this week, and I’ve met some interesting fauna on the road.   I don’t know whose little kid this is, but he sure is cute!

And then there was plaintive mewling from the bushes – turned out it was our cat Teddy, very far from home.

2017-10-10 Teddy on the road Cr

He was scared of the dogs and scared of the cows, and wouldn’t let me carry him for more than a few meters at a time.  Anyway, I did finally shepherd him back to our property where he knows all the other animals.

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My first flower photo of the week was of this magnificent handicraft done by Aileen, mother of Kiki’s best friend.   She uses florist tape to put artificial flowers onto a large guava branch which is secured in a plastic potting bucket.

2017-10-09 Aileen's handicraft Cr

Aileen took her first flower trees to town last week and her first customer bought all five of them.

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The living flowers are loving the drought.

2017-10-11 bougainvillea a riot of color R

The bougainvillea is in full bloom everywhere – a riot of color.

2017-10-11 plumeria in the drought Cr

And the plumeria (frangipani) is still pumping out the flowers, even though the leaves are nearly all gone.

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It’s still cool at night, but really scorching by day.

2017-10-11 belly up in the heat R

Nuff said?

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May you all have a blessed and happy week.

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5 October 2017

2017-10-02 piggyback 1 as is

This is what got the most attention this week.  Austin kept saying this was happening.  I never saw it.  Akka took this photo.   Do you not see it?  I didn’t.

2017-10-02 piggyback 2 as is

So I got down and tried the professional photographer approach of waiting patiently. I had to pull the cat off the cage two or three times.  Was surprised Akka took a photo of me waiting.

2017-10-02 piggyback 3 Cr

Finally – one fairly clear picture.   These chicks like to ride this mama hen piggy-back!  Did you ever hear of THAT?

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2017-10-02 large arachnid 1 Cr

A   B-I-G  old spider in a high web.

How big?

2017-10-02 large arachnid 2 as is

Well, just compare him/her to the wide side of this cane knife….

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2017-10-01 Guess who - not Torsett - JACKIE Cr

Guess who!

No – NOT Torsett.      2017-09-21 Torsett R

This is “JACKIE” – a son of Torsett and Po, adopted by a family in Barara.  They wanted a female from Winky’s litter.  We just took her to them this week and were shocked at how much their dog looks like Torsett.  He was all angry and growling at us, but we were all smiley and calm and “awwwwww Torsett !!!”  Anyway, we are very happy to have one of our pups with this family because we can SEE that they take excellent care of their dogs.

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Happy week, everybody.

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28 September 2017

2017-09-23 fire on hill to north Cr

Snap crackle pop!   First Austin heard the sounds, then he saw the flames, then he yelled for me to come with my camera.  Geez Louise – I didn’t even catch the biggest flames.  Some were 40 feet above the hilltop (very briefly).  So the hill to the north now has a nice wide burn scar on it.  Lucky for us, flames go uphill more than sideways, or the fire could have crept down and over to our property.  They didn’t.

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No photos for it, but two ladies from the 2017 census came to get our info yesterday.  I was the one home for it.  Everybody’s name, date of birth, religion, education, work.  Status of land (leased, freehold).  How many rooms, i.e. bedrooms and sitting rooms …. that surprised me when I counted: we have 19 !!  Do we have a stove, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, generator, sewing machine? … and my favorite question because I didn’t even understand it at first – Is there a tap for every toilet?  (i.e. is there a sink, a place to wash hands)   Yes.

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The rest this week is artsy-fartsy stuff.

2017-09-21 vase and flowers

Monica made this beautiful and weird flower arrangement.

2017-09-24 a flower from Kiki Cr

Kiki brought me this flower.  (It is a passion fruit flower.)

I took photos of the dogs to try to learn to sketch them.  Po

And Torsett.   I don’t expect publishers to be flocking to me to illustrate stories any time soon…..


I was decluttering and found two sculptures from son Guy when he was 16 or 17.

Kiki saw them and just LOVED THEM (what boy wouldn’t?)  Ha ha.   Guy generously said I could give them to Kiki.  Happy him.  (Also happy me – two more items out of my house!)

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Another thing I found while decluttering, something set aside for a rainy day so to speak:  an unbrella!  And it rained a bit.  And I used it!

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Happy week, everybody.

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21 September 2017

2017-09-20 Beqa & Yasawas HC workshop R

We have another Happy Chicken workshop going on – this time with 3 people from Beqa, 10 from Yasawas and one from Nausori.   Austin’s workshops are getting better, I think.  I’ve seen participants in the chicken pen this time, and foraging for the plants that are good chicken food.  It seems to be even more hands on.

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2017-09-14 march of the millipedes Cr

Austin brought these millipedes for me to immortalize.  Why?    Seriously – why?  (I’m not a big insect fan.)  He says they are cute.  Also they are only found in Fiji, and have managed to hold their own against the chickens.  (They also secrete spit that can raise a blister – so no thanks on the millipedes.)   And, by the way, they’re not insects – they’re their own group.  (That’s good, because I actually LIKE some insects, like dragonflies….)

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You’d think I’d have seen folks out in the fields with hoes, but actually this was the first time.

These are all friends.  I asked what crop and they told me “bindi” (okra).  They’re getting ready because they are expecting rain.  I hope they’re right.

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Glimpse of future delight (I hope).   Akka and I went to buy a bunkbed for Kiki at the home of a friend from the coast, Tessa.   Akka knew she was building a bure (traditional house).   It’s done and she took us for a look-see.  Turns out she uses the bure for her massage business.  I didn’t know she has a massage business!

Oh boy!

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I know what I’m looking forward to.  I hope you all have happy plans ahead as well.

Love to all.

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14 September 2017

2017-09-09 cane trucks 2 Cr

These are cane trucks.

Now that you know what to look for, this is a lot more cane trucks lined up for “crushing.”  I took these photos from a bus as I was leaving Labasa – big town of Vanua Levu (island to the north) – in the early morning.

2017-09-09 cane trucks 1 Cr

The first time I went to Labasa (1999) everybody looked all serious.  The next time I went (maybe 2003) everybody looked relaxed and happy.  Turned out my second trip occurred during “crushing season” – that is, the sugar cane was being crushed – and everybody had money in their pockets 🙂   People looked happy this time I went, too.

The reason I went, as you might remember from last week, was for the funeral of my good friend Jone.  If you like, you can read about that here .

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Here come da FUZZ.  🙂

2017-09-01 here come da fuzz R

One afternoon these police officers dropped by to say hi, just because they were curious about the farm, the homestay, the chicken project and everything.  We had an informal and spontaneous afternoon tea and then Austin took them on a short farm tour.

Now there is a Neighborhood Watch being formed.  Meeting of the menfolk at the Indian temple tonight.

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To me – this was the very most interesting thing of the week.

2017-09-13 cement damage 1 Cr

Sarat (a builder) and his wife Roshni, our friends, wanted to see Beamer’s grave, because he is in the process of beautifying his parents’ grave.  When we went, some of the plaster was knocked off, as you can see above.  Austin was irked thinking some child had thrown a rock, some little child who lives with us, but I’m not naming names.   Sarat disagreed.

Sarat told Austin to look more closely.

2017-09-13 cement damage 2 Cr

There was a seed in the plaster.  See?   It was that seed expanding when it started sprouting that broke the plaster!   We were shocked that a seed COULD sprout inside a wall.  That is some strong seed!

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Happy week, Everybody.

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7 September 2017

It is a short week, folks.  Austin took off for a UN conference about Something, in Auckland.  Before he left, he insisted I take a photo of this:

2017-09-01 nest of ducky joy Cr

A nest of ducky joy.

And of this

2017-09-01 Duck from shell Cr

A duck about 75% hatched.   Duck on the Half Shell.

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Right now I am on bus and ferry journey taking me to Labasa (big town of Vanua Levu, island to the north), going to another funeral.  The deceased is Austin’s and my dear friend Jone Salele.  (pronounced Cho-nay Sa-lay-lay)   Though I was shocked and deeply sad when I found out he died on Sunday morning, I’ve accepted the inevitable and am ready to celebrate his life.

Jone IMG_0714

(I may dust off my “Celebrating the Baha’i Calendar” blog and do a proper write up about Jone there when I get back.  Isa, isa!  Jone, Jone!  Big heart!  Big shoes to fill!)

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Happy week, everybody … and do not take your peers for granted!

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