Posted by: Alicia Phillips | November 1, 2011

Snorkeling for Halloween?

Happy Halloween! I hope you all had a great day and took full advantage of the candy and scary movies! Unfortunately, Halloween is not celebrated here in Fiji, much to my dismay, and when I have tried to explain it I have only gotten weird looks and lots of questions. It just doesn’t make much sense to people who did not grow up with it. And really, if you think about it, it actually is a pretty odd tradition. However, even though it does not feel like Halloween here (it’s so hot I literally sweat buckets all day and night, it’s embarrassing) and it doesn’t look like Halloween (no jack-o-lanterns or toilet paper in trees or huge fake spiders -only real ones!) I decided to celebrate the hell out of it anyways and start a new tradition!

SO, my first order of business was a village soli in my BFF Livia’s village. A soli is a fundraiser for the village. Her village needs to raise money to get a water pipe so that they can have clean water. It started at 10 am, under a beautifully constructed shelter decorated with iba’s(straw mats), flowers and bula material. All the women dressed up in their best sulu chambas and the men wore their pocket sulu’s and bula shirts. While the men sat under a shelter and drank grog all day, the women sat under the mango tree and talanoa (tell stories) while yet another group of women prepared the food. Seeing all this, with an outsider’s perspective, I couldn’t help but think how much fun this must be for them! I would say it was comparable to a huge tailgate before a big game where all your friends and family get together and drink and eat and catch up. All throughout the day people drank grog, ate, sang and danced and gave money. When we left around 5pm the village had collected around $15,000 dollars. The hosting village presented brand new iba’s to the visiting villages as a show of gratitude for donating money. It was so much fun to see this piece of village life and Fijian culture.

Livia and I outside her bure in our sulu chambas

 

The men drinking grog

 

The women sitting under the mango tree

Mixing the grog in the tanoa

The women presenting the iba's

That night a few of us volunteers went to our friend John’s house for dinner. John, as I mentioned in my earlier post “Epic birthday Celebration”, is a long time friend to the Peace Corps. He was a volunteer here in the 80’s and has since moved back with his wife to enjoy a semi-retired life full of beekeeping projects and other fun endeavors. He is awesome. Anyways, there were only 4 of us excited enough about Halloween to actually dress up, but it just wouldn’t have been Halloween without a costume! So that night, after a fabulous dinner, we entertained ourselves by playing The Name Game and Charades.  It doesn’t take much to amuse volunteers.

Halloween costumes! racecar driver, woodland nymph, lost tourist, and scuba steve

The Name Game

Bright and early the next morning we all went out on the boat to do some snorkeling. Afterwards we went to a beach to do some swimming and collect some coconuts to be planted on john’s property. I will never get used to how beautiful Fiji is. Honestly, it’s breathtaking.

Collecting coconuts

Headed home

Later that night, back home in Lautoka, I crawled in to bed fully planning on watching a scary movie on my computer to complete the weekend, but ended up watching reruns of Modern Family instead. HA! I love new traditions!

 

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Responses

  1. Alicia, You look great love reading your posts!!

  2. Love your posts and your beautiful pictures. I am so amazed everytime I read. Hope you are doing well and enjoying every second!

  3. Alicia, what a wonderful Halloween you had! New traditions are always fun and you are a good one to start them! I love reading about your life in Fiji! I sure do miss you though! I love you sweetheart!
    Mom

  4. Fascinating !! Love reading about your life’s experiences in Fiji. I’m having a vicarious vacation in Fiji, thanks to you and your wonderfully written accounts. Sounds like something I would have had as much fun out of as you are. Totally awesome!!!

  5. Love reading your blogs!! $15,000 is a lot of money. Who donated all the money, and aren’t the other villagers in need of money also? You write well.

  6. I love reading about your adventures and stalking your photo albums on Facebook! All of the Fijian people look so happy and peaceful. And I love that you brought Halloween to Fiji.


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