Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Trip Around Viti Levu--Part Two

Here it is almost three months later, and I am finally getting back to finishing my blog on our trip around the big island in Fiji. I am certainly keeping busy on this mission. My biggest fear before coming on my mission was that I would not have enough to do. The Lord heard my prayer and has blessed me abundantly with things to do here in Fiji. My assignment as finance secretary at first took 80 hours a week, but now I have a little angel to help me in the form of Sister Wells. She didn't have enough to do in her assignment as auditor trainer with her husband, and so she wandered upstairs and started helping me. Now I actually have time to blog!

Sister Layton, wife of our new mission president, said she had been reading my blog in order to get acquainted with Fiji and the mission here. Then all of a sudden my blog stopped and she wondered what happened to me. Work happened. I feel more motivated to blog now that I know someone is reading it and benefiting from my blog. With less than six months left on my mission, I hope to catch up little by little.

The west side and north sides of the island are relatively hotter and dryer than Suva where we live which is on a peninsula in the southeast. Because of this, they grow sugar cane prolifically. They cut this cane (one inch or more in diameter) down with cane knives--like a machete. Our missionaries become infatuated with these knives--but often don't learn how to use them safely resulting in more calls to my companion, Sister Limburg, the mission nurse. Often senior missionaries buy them to take home. You won't find me doing that.

 This picture of a sugar cane field was taken while Sister Limburg was driving. It is surprisingly clear.

After the sugar cane is cut, it is loaded on this little train. The wheels are at most two feet apart.
They take these little cars right out into the field on little tracks.

Here is the "little engine that could". It is very tiny.

Then the little engine picks up all the little cars and pulls them 
to where the sugar cane can be loaded on a truck.

It is very tricky trying to pass one of these trucks on the highway.

Destination--the Sugar Mill in Rakiraki at the top of the island. There are also mills in Lautoka, Ba, and Nausori. Many Fijian words have double four-letter, two-syllable parts: Somosomo, Savusavu, Nakawakawa (all names of villages). Below we see the heavy English influence in Fiji with the terminology "lorry" used for truck.

Australian-owned Colonial Sugar Refining Company used cheap labor from India who came as indentured servants. When this practice was abolished, the company land was divided and rented to small tenant farmers. The mills and land later became nationalized. 100-year land leases have begun to expire. Now Fiji is over 40% Indo-Fijian. The Indian culture has maintained itself very strongly--some say better than in India.

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