Saturday, October 12, 2013

“And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street. . ."

One Saturday Sister Limburg and I took a nice long walk around our neighborhood. We didn’t get a whole lot of heart-pounding exercise because we stopped too much along the way to take these pictures of beautiful flowers and other sights along the way. Come walk with me. . . .

Vibrant Poinsettias growing in someone's front yard

It is hard to meet people when they live behind a gate.
This is a very nice home in Samabula and their Bougainvillea are abundant.

 We have never seen this variety of red flower open--perhaps they are shy.

Dainty and sweet little purple flowers--sorry I don't have the correct name for you.

The red flowers appear even brighter against its vivid green foliage. See what a lot of rain will do.

 These lavender blossoms are very delicate and pretty.

These palm fronds are being taken over by morning glory. A smaller white variety is a pest in Arizona.


Hibiscus grows everywhere. No frost here to threaten its existence. They like to bloom at the extremities of the bush--so don't prune them too much or you will just have a pretty green bush.

The orange spots are fun. 
Perhaps this is a Tiger Lily.

Red Canna Lilly with blue and pink Hydrangeas. My Hydrangeas in Snowflake never got to look like this.

A young teen girl grows and sells these flowers. They appear to be succulents which is surprising in such a wet climate. The tall one in the vase they call Bird of Paradise--nothing like the variety that grows in the desert of Arizona.

A beautifully landscaped front yard. The woman beamed when we complimented her on it.

These purple flowers with the dark stems are just like some in my front yard in Mesa.
It is amazing to me that the desert and wet Fiji can grow the same plants.

I call this "Papaya on Plate"
The little black seeds are very moist and squishy, like I imagine caviar might look. We used to laboriously peel the papaya, but now we eat it halved, seeded, and in the skin--like a cantaloupe half. We enjoy papaya several times a week--a great substitute for those fresh Utah peaches, but not as tangy. Outside our house we can see a banana, mango, papaya, and coconut trees. All but the mango grow year around. Delicious!

I helped my granddaughter Brooke Bair with her Flat Stanley project at school. Our neighbor Vineel is holding him up with a papaya tree in the background. Notice the large green papaya at the top near the trunks all in a cluster. That is the side of our house in the background.

Vineel is 20 and studying air conditioning at the local university. He is holding Flat Stanley (who travels all over the world in an envelope) by their banana tree. Those leaves are six feet long and are rolled very tightly in a long spear when they first appear. Within a week they unroll themselves.

Here are a lovely bunch of coconuts. They also grow in a cluster next to the trunk. You don't want one of those falling on your head! They are heavy--6 pounds! Sister Limburg's grandson told her that more people die from coconuts falling on their heads than from sharks. Do you believe that? He is afraid for his grandma.

A healthy coconut palm will produce 50 coconuts annually. Each coconut takes a year to fully mature. Every coconut is made up of a smooth outer rind, a thick husk, and a hard inner shell pitted with three germination pores, a layer of dense white meat and a center with liquid "coconut milk." The trees start bearing coconuts by the time they are seven or eight years old. Coconut palms may reach heights of 50 to 80 feet with a life span of 80 years.The white portion of the coconut can be eaten and it also contains coconut oil, for which there are numerous uses including soap products. (It is good for dementia too.) The hairy husk can be made into rope or twine or serve as fuel for cooking. The coconut shell may serve as a bowl or cup. Fronds from coconut palm trees often are woven into baskets, belts, brooms, chairs and fans. Trees that no longer produce coconuts can be cut down, creating wood for furniture. You did want a mini-education on coconuts, didn't you?

 These coconut vendors posed with Flat Stanley for the price of a coconut--$2 FJD or $1.14 USD.

Angel Moroni on top of the Fiji Temple peaks through the front deck of a home on the next street. The Suva government asked the church to keep him brightly lit at night to act as a lighthouse to guide the ships in through the reefs. He is a cheerful beacon to us as well--especially when we get lost and disoriented at night.

This is a drainage area/park. Notice the humor on the sign. They use weed eaters to cut the grass.

On our walk we saw these youth who were attending a four-day youth conference with our Church. They were doing service projects on this last day of the conference. Over 600 youth attended and they came from all the islands of Fiji.

The leaders are in blue and the youth in yellow shirts.

A view of the bay along our walk--the same bay that the Angel Moroni looks out on.

Another bay view with a very pink wall in the foreground.


The United States Embassy and “Old Glory” are just one block from the Mission Office and Temple. I love to see our flag flying.

This is a type of citrus. Lemons here are green and bumpy.
They import yellow lemons and oranges. I have not seen any grapefruit.

He is cutting off growth on a retaining wall with a machete.

 I like it better green.

Drainage ditches are common along roads and sidewalks. Note the thick moss.
Driveways often drop off to a ditch on both sides. Ditches make cautious drivers.

This tree stump looks like a lion. It “guards” the rugby field.
The men play even in the rain and the mud. Fijians love Rugby!

A cute little private kindergarten near our home.
We see this sweet grandpa walking his granddaughter to "Kindagarten" on our way to work.

We passed three playgrounds on our walk. Children are important here.

I thought this was kind of an interesting tree. Sister Limburg is in the foreground.
We are about at the end of our walk.

Our neighbor has a wonderful vegetable garden in his front yard.
Those are Marigolds growing in front of the fence.
  Clothes are hanging in the front yard because the back yard slopes down a steep hill.

The “Shopping Centre” on our street. Actually there are nice big grocery stores here and even a CostULess similar to Costco where we can buy American food and products.
Kava is an addictive narcotic drink and very much part of the Fijian culture.
Church leaders have counseled against it.
This shop is across the street from our house and down a short ways.

Well that ends our walk around our neighborhood.

 I think we really did see some amazing things all on a Saturday morning.

I love it here in Fiji and I love being on a mission.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A View of My World in Fiji

I will now give a “tour” of our “flat” which is the common term here for an apartment. Our accommodations are very nice. My half of the cost is $600 Fijian dollars or about $336 U.S. dollars—not bad. My companion and I each have our own bedroom and bath and we have a bedroom for guests! So come visit!

We live at 54 Ono Street in Samabula, Fiji, 
within walking distance of work and the temple.

Our house is on the left with the tall white fence.

Welcome to our humble abode. We have to unlock three locks before entering our little home: the gate to the driveway, the gate before the front door, and the front door! Talk about Fort Knox! Violent crime is not common here, but annoyance (loud noises, etc.) is the top crime in our area. Burglary is second (hence the locks).

Our front porch has the prettiest tile. The lanterns are probably East Indian.

Here is our living room. Our TV is for DVD watching, but so far we haven’t had time. 

I think our kitchen is pretty—just not enough power points (electrical outlets).
Notice our water filter (3 gray units to the right of the sink).


The guest bedroom is off the kitchen and has our spare fridge and clothes dryer.

Our laundry room: the little washing machine works quite well.

  My bedroom 
and closet area


My bathroom and my companion’s bedroom.

We have a beautiful view from our back patio. Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean off in the distance.

The patio also serves as our fresh air clothes dryer.

We attended our first baptism in Fiji: a sweet young couple—all spoken in Fijian, but we felt the spirit.
Their adorable daughter is looking forward to her baptism when she turns eight.
Elders Olmstead and Peery performed the baptismal ordinances.

The baptisms are performed outside in this font—cold water.
It is slowly draining after their baptisms.
Everyone gathers around the railing for a close view of the baptism

Here is the
front of the 
church and
inside the 
chapel. It is 
the LDS 
during the 

Every child comes from this school knowing this important truth.

Sisters Fanene and Lavata’i are both missionaries from Samoa: Sister Fanene from Western Samoa and Sister Lavata'i from American Samoa. They provide awesome leadership for all the sister missionaries.

Now we attend church in the Tamavua 2nd Ward which meets in the cafeteria of the LDS Church College (like junior high and high school in the USA). The Fijian speaking ward meets in the auditorium. Everything is built on a hill the Fijians get quite creative in their architecture. The covered walkways are very nice when it rains. Did I tell you that it rains a lot here! (I like the rain.)

Sehansa is our almost 5-year-old neighbor from Sri Lanka
who waits patiently each evening for us to come home so she can visit us.
She loves to watch Finding Nemo on my companion's i Pad. Her father is a judge here.

We met Sister Prittam Singh the first Sunday we came to church. Her husband pampers her by buying her beautiful dresses and saris. I hope to buy a sari here for my daughters and granddaughters to share. She served Pisan after church, a warm drink made of coconut cream, raisins, almonds, and flavored with cardamom. It was chunky and delicious. Another Sunday she asked us to dinner. She served a chicken and rice curry dish with fresh tomato chutney (like a salsa).

On August 23, 2013 we celebrated Sister Limburg’s birthday—now she is as old as I am.
It would have been my husband John’s 71st birthday and so it was nice to be celebrating.

That same day I stopped on the way back from the bank to take these pictures of boats. Shipping is a big industry and is how Fiji gets many of its supplies. Downtown Suva is in the background.
I love the clouds that roll in. The sand around much of the big island is not what is shown in the post cards. The smaller islands have the beautiful white sand.

Now I am only a month and a half behind on my blogging. Yahoo! The next post will be titled "And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street" and will show some sights from a walk we took one Saturday around our neighborhood.