This will likely be an earnest, though potentially infrequently updated, account of my adventures, tribulations,
and everyday experiences as I spend two years working as an environmental Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji

Monday, April 9, 2012

So You Thought You Could Sneakily Work On Projects Behind My Back, Huh?

So, really I think it must seem that all this time I’ve been here all I’ve done is lollygag around the village or get myself involved in some silly adventure but surprisingly enough I do manage to get some project work done every now and then. 

Getting work really! Read on...

By now, I hope that I’ve given you a fairly painted picture of the pace of life and work in the village and consequently how much I, though raring to go, am usually hindered in progressing steadily in projects.

Yet there are those days that make me wonder whether I woke up somewhere other than a small village in Fiji. A week or two ago, I opened my front door in the morning and was confronted by all the men in the village scattered about in front of my house hacking chunks off great lengths of bamboo, beating thick ropy vines with knobbly clubs, and marching around with various tools carrying out various and apparently necessary tasks. I sort of stood there dumbly for a moment, mouth half open, hair frizzed nicely from sleeping in a swamp of humidity, and racked my brain for some special even that this could be revolving around and that I had just forgotten about.

Beating the wadamu to separate out the strands to use as rope.

Shaving down the ends of the mangrove sticks so that they'll fit into the appropriate slots in bamboo.

Tying it together.

But no, let’s be serious, the villagers don’t deign to tell me about the regular village events like this and they only tell me about the important events as they are on their way to it themselves (and be sure to prepare a sevusevu and a speech!)… So this couldn’t be that big a deal or I would’ve probably sensed it coming.

I meandered out and discovered that they were in fact making giant ladders. Two of them! Tall enough to climb close to three stories… I stood there and did a quick scan of the houses in the village, all of which are roughly one story tall give or take a story. Curious? But no! Of course, I should have just turned around – the church roof is obviously the intended target. As I reached this conclusion a villager confirmed my thoughts, telling me that they were going to repaint the roof.

I was waking up bit more at this point and I my brain was functioning slightly faster but I was still baffled, not so much by what they are doing but by the fact that I was standing in the midst of nearly the entire population of our village and they were all steadily and efficiently working together early in the morning to construct ladders for a church renovation project.

See! A real group effort ;)

One of the ladders with sides made of wide bamboo posts, steps made from mangroves, and it's all tied together with a type of vine called wadamu, which means red string.

What?! You are can organize and work like that?? Look at how much work is being done in such a short amount of time! And such coordinated efforts! I was feeling considerably flustered. Why then is it so very difficult to get even a few people to show up to a planning meeting or to go out for an hour to look at a certain fishing site? Well, they’ve made a crucial mistake. Now I know how strongly they can work on a project and I’m going to be on their heels from now on.

It was rather fun climbing up and joining a group hangout session on top of the church roof and taking some aerial shots of the place!
That's my house on the far left there. :)

The other half of our village center.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christine,
    you make me laugh when I read what you write about. love seeing the pictures, the kids are cute the school has more kids than I though it did. Your doing great keep your chin up, lots of hugs. love you
    Love Mom xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox