I am having a blast with the volunteers here beginning projects! This week we took everyone to Nukubalavu village to meet the women’s group there that we will be working with. Rosa is the president of the group, and an incredible woman with a business shop at the market in town. Before we can work in the village, we must do something called a Sevusevu. It’s where we must first all go to the village hall and wait there to be introduced to the chief. Once he comes, we present him with a gift and he meets us and welcomes us into the village. From then on we are allowed to come in and out of the village as if we are family. Today we did that. However, the chief was delayed and so we spent some time with the women getting to know them. And since it’s paradise there are amazing flowers everywhere, they began teaching us how to weave necklaces from palm fronds, adding in flowers. And when one placed a crown of beautiful flowers on my head, I sort of felt I shouldn't wear it because I believe they are only for special occasions. But they all assured me it was fine, so I definitely wore that to my meetings that afternoon haha. Don't know when I'll get to do that again ;)
Afterwards, Wilma gave us a tour of the village, which is right on the ocean. Slowly, as the children saw us, they joined us and we ended with a walk on the beach.
It was wonderful to have that time with them learning and laughing. Sometimes I fell that development work challenges me in a way nothing else has, and other times I just feel like Fiji understands my true love language: flowers. I loved spending time with these women. They are incredible wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, wonderful entrepreneurs, and thirsty for knowledge. While we will be teaching classes and supporting the women’s group during our project here, it was me who felt supported through their love and smiles today, and of course, flowers.