Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Busy Life

Bula, as you might guess it's been a crazy busy two weeks, and I have finally carved out a few minutes to caption the many pictures we have taken.  Our landlord Avenish and his wife invited us to attend his nephew's wedding.  The night we went was kind of like a ceremonial reception.  The tree like column in the center with a sprig of flowers on top represented a banana tree.  Avenish and other family members draped the hall in colored cloth and helped prepare food. 

All the women guests had beautiful sparkly dresses on, so I quickly asked a few if I could take a picture

I don't know what I did but this big picture is the groom's mother.

Paper garlands above

I quickly asked these two girls if I could take their picture

To the left of the structure was the musicians.  The two boys on the left did such fast percussive movements with their hands on the drums and a castanet type instrument.  The lady in the back sang typical Indian songs which are quite interesting, but after two hours of it, Richard gave us the lifted eyebrows that meant lets go.  

This is the mother of the bride and she posed with the bowl shaped pillow and then headed up the isle and out the door with many of the women in the grooms family following.  The Whiting's went to an Indian wedding and said the bride cried a lot because the tradition for Indian's is to sever ties with their family and the bride literally becomes a part of her husband's family and is expected not to do much with her family after she marries.
When the women returned the mother of the bride accepted money gifts that were placed on top of the bowl shaped pillow on top of her head

I kept wondering where the men were and as we left we found them out on the perimeter of the building. It was interesting how casually they were dressed in comparison to the women. So the wedding was definitely for the women.

Our 23 missionaries arrived safely (we had expected 22 but Elder Pence who left with a bad shoulder returned with this group.  His surgery was successful and it was great to see him return to Fiji).  We were asked with 4 other couples to attend the temple session with the missionaries and Pres and Sister Klingler so there would be enough couples for the prayer circle.

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This is Elder Raju (he lives in Canada where his family immigrated from Fiji).  While he waited for his interview he asked if we had any old mission books, and we were able to find a picture of his uncle when he served a mission here 37 years ago.  I made a copy of the page for him. Then he asked about Elder Ruben who is his cousin he has never met because his family moved and Ruben and his family lives in Suva.
Elder Terry (one of two couples heading home, Boso levu, AP's  (Elder LeDoux who will head home the 1st of December and Elder Palmer who heads home in January when we will be due to go home if we ever get a replacement couple for us)

Sister Lawenitotoka,  She had some bad migraine headaches during her mission, and when we figured out that she was eating a lot of junk food and American products due to her companions tastes we advised her to go back to rice and fish that she was used to and her health improved dramatically.  Her family had recently moved to Samabula but it took a little detective work to figure out where her family was now living because they didn't have a cell phone.

Elder Luke A Smith.  His parents came to pick him up and are from Australia.  He has a fun accent and I had to smile when I saw his passport picture with longer surfer dude hair.  He went to some remote areas and was a great missionary.

Sister Terry is famous for doing a lot of cooking for the missionaries up in Labasa (Vanua Levu Island).  She is also known for finding a skinny turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, having pumpkin pie filling shipped from the US (cost her $300) to make pies, her Heaven and Hell cake (chocolate and white cake), and huge peanut butter cup covered cake to name a few.  She is also a big fan of Magnum ice cream bars and got the local suppliers to bring in some of her favorite flavors or call her when a new shipment was in.  Elder Terry was the technical wizard and did many repairs in flats etc. 

Kennerley's are an inspiration when it comes to their can-do attitude.  Elder Kennerley served a mission as a young man, then Taimi and the Kids joined him for the 2nd.  Fiji is the 5th mission he has served and her 4th.  He found humor in the crazy things the people sometimes did, and when they failed to do something, he would start where they left off and encourage them with the next step like "okay, lets go get the materials so we can finish the project".

Welcome dinner for 23

I am so full picture after dinner

Sister Crowell, Sister Bahn (has worked for 15 years in mission home, 5 different President's wives) and Sister Alofoe.  It was so nice to see these two new sisters pitch in and help Sister Bahn with the endless dish washing.

By Friday it was time for a break so we joined the Wells and the Terry's for an adventure at Takalana.  The Tulip trees were in full bloom with bright orange blossoms.

This is a home on the property where our guides met us to take us snorkeling and to see the dolphins

Village down the beach from where we started.  I was delighted to see that it was a black sand beach and found some fun shells while we waited for our boat to arrive.  Before we left, our host had some small cake doughnuts, thin rolled pancakes and lemon tea for us.  The lemon tee is fresh lemon leaves bent a little, put in a cup and steaming hot water.  It has the essence of lemon flavor and with a teaspoon of sugar tastes pretty good.

A quick picture of our captain and the white leg wonders

The dolphins were fun and playful, and raced along side the boat and so fast they could cut in front of it.  Our captain took us to an area where they are known to go and rest after feeding.  He said there can be thousands of them because they are a protected species.  They are small about 4-5 feet long.  Just hard to capture in a picture.

When we left at 7am in order to be at Takalana by 9am a big rain storm dropped some water, but by the time we left it was sunny and warm.  This mountain is like many here on viti levu indicating how these islands were formed by volcanoes.

back safe on shore after a fun day

Terry's, Wells, Hogge's

Where we changed clothes (also the manager's home)

Tulip tree blooms up close

Two young men took us on the hike to the waterfall.  They said it would take 20 minutes and after about 40 minutes Richard said how much longer and the young man said were 2/3 of the way there.  All of us had red cheeks and were winded, but we made it.  Our guides grabbed this vine and jumped in. I knew if I tried it I would hit the rock hill and miss the water completely! So I eased myself into the cold water and cooled down.

The cold water felt great!

Our guide climbed up the sides of the waterfall for a picture.  This was our first and probably last hike to a waterfall.

On the way back it started to rain, and we passed a few newly ploughed fields.  This is a tool that is
drug by the horse to turn the soil over and prepare it for planting

Elder and Sister Hogge at Takalana

In the late after noon we drove another couple of hours to get to Wananavu where we stayed in some individual bure type units overnight.

The Swimming pool

The beach for goofing off

We are back in the groove of daily requests and duties now, but it was a wonderful weekend to unwind for a day or two.  We love you all and hope the Lord will bless you in your lives.  Love, Bubu and Tutu

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