March 22, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 6

Another Beautiful Week in Taveuni!

Ni sa bula vinaka!

Drinking from a coconut
Well it's been another great week down here on the great island of Taveuni.  Good news: I am halfway done with my training!  Only 6 more weeks of an extra hour of study haha.  And hopefully I will be able to understand what everyone is saying by that time as well;)  

Man, I love it down here.  It is so beautiful, and all the people here are the nicest ever.  Sure, they have their faults as well, but nothing a little sit down with the Eldas can't fix!  Haha I am just way excited about this area.  We had so many less-actives come to church yesterday I was just way happy.  

And we finally got T____ (His real name is S______) to come to church.  He limped his way in with his oddly shaped legs, but it was way good!  N_____  is having his interview on Thursday because it got postponed, but hopefully everything will go well.  It's way frustrating with how long it is taking, but I guess everything will work out in the end. 

The sisters had two baptisms on Saturday which was awesome.  A lady in her 20s and a 10 year old boy whose mom just got baptized.  Elder Hosea was able to baptize both of them, and then I confirmed the lady while he confirmed the boy in church yesterday.  We tried to get the branch president to do it haha, but he just got way uncomfortable and pointed at us haha.

But it was a great weekend.  Especially because there was a big service project at the hospital here in Taveuni this week.  We got all the missionaries in Taveuni to go, and we worked with a bunch of other people to get it cleaned up on the outside and such.  It was way good.

Service Project at the Hospital

The view from the hospital we did service at towards the 
little island by Taveuni and towards Vanua Levu

Today I want to share a few of the different things about Fiji before I get too used to them (and stop laughing at them).

1. Everyone invites you to eat...all the time.  Total strangers will shout as we walk by "come eat lunch" or "come eat dinner."  It's just a way of greeting people I guess haha.  When we go sit and teach a lesson, they do it as well.  Rule #1, always decline.  If they really want to feed you, they will no matter what you say haha.  One time that happened at 4 different houses and I thought I was going to throw up I ate so much.

2. They usually give you a hot drink when they feed you.  This is slightly ridiculous, seeing as we are already dying from the heat and the walk.  But they always make this lemon-leaf tea (basically boiling a lemon-leaf in water with sugar).  It's way good, just way too hot for the current climate.

3. Fijians are way funny about the rain!  They believe that they'll get sick if the rain falls on their head, so they always are hiding under a shed while they watch us walk by, getting soaked.  If they have to they'll use anything to keep their head dry: a shirt, their hands, even a kitchen plate every once in a while.

4. Uh-huh means no, and uh-uh means yes.  Waaaay confusing.

5. If they don't understand you or don't hear what you said, to say "what?" they go "eh?" like a stereotypical old lady at a nursing home.

6. They are way good at talking from long distances.  I swear they can read lips, and they have their own little form of sign language.  It is way funny to see it haha!

7. They don't slow down or move over if you're on the road, so it's all up to the pedestrian to jump out of the way!

8. Breakfast Crackers.  It's like the only cracker you can buy here.  Just a square, plain cracker.  Fijians buy them like crazy!  They are everywhere.  You can literally buy a big bucket chuck full of breakfast crackers.

9. Afros.  Every Fijian marama (old lady) has a sick afro.  Perfectly fluffed and round.  It's way funny to see a bunch of them together.  Especially on the bus when its way bumpy and all their afros move back and forth to the bumps like a bunch of bobble-heads!

10. This is the best of all!  They treat missionaries way good in their culture.  Ministers/missionaries are up at the top of the social ranks.  We always sit up at the head of the table, or in the front of a celebration or such.  One time, we were at a big dinner and we were sitting right next to the Methodist minister and the head of the family.  Except I didn't know that he was the minister at the time.  Well apparently he was arguing with the head of the household trying to get us to say the prayer because he didn't want to (I learned this afterward from my companion).  They ended up asking me to pray and I gave my usual simple prayer haha.  I had no clue what was going on haha!  But we try to downplay this bit of culture most of the time so people will know that we aren't any better than them.

Hopefully that sheds a little bit of light on what it is like down here.  Thanks for all you do, I love you all!
Loloma levu,
Elda Harris

Elder Hosea and Koli
Up by Tui Cakau's house.  It's where our Investigator lives and keeps
 care of this  high up government official's house and estate. 

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