day forty-seven: november 15, 2015:

We attended the resort's orientation, where we got to meet the other guests and hear about all the available activities for the week. I ended up winning the door prize, which is a free excursion called The Jewel of Fiji Tour, which will do on Tuesday.

It pretty much rained all day today so we mostly stayed in the hotel room, working on a puzzle that the hotel had. We're all hoping that this isn't indicative of what the rest of the week will be like!

day forty-eight: november 16, 2015: suva + lovo dinner

We joined some of the other guests on a trip to Fiji's capital, Suva, which was about an hour drive from the resort. We stopped by the Parliament House and Fiji Museum to learn about the history and culture of the Fijian people. The hustle and bustle of the city had us ready to enjoy some down time at the resort. 

Tonight, the resort hosted a lovo dinner, which is a traditional Fijian way of cooking, where all the food is cooked underground. The night was topped off with some Fijian cultural dance and music. 

day forty-nine: november 17, 2015: the jewel of fiji tour

We took a long tail boat up the Navau River. We passed villages, farmlands, rainforests, rapids, and some cascading waterfalls. About 45 minutes up the river, we stopped at a waterfall where Jonathan, his dad, and others on the tour took a quick dip to cool off. Then, we boarded a bamboo raft also known as a bilibili, which was, and still is, a means of transport down the river. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring a Fijian village established by an Englishman named John Humphrey Danford in the early 1800s. We had another lovo meal and the villagers shared their song, dance and art with us.  

day fifty: november 18, 2015:

We enjoyed another relaxing day by the beach, then walked over to a neighboring resort, called the Uprising for lunch. On our way back to our resort, we stopped by the Arts and Culture center and met a local woman, named Kina who worked there. We found out that her daughter worked at the resort we were staying at and it didn't take her long to invite us to her home the next day.

day fifty-one: november 19, 2015: kina + village

It was another relaxing, lazy day before we headed back to the Arts and Culture center to have dinner with Kina. We were all impressed at how quickly she opened up and enjoyed telling us about her life and her family her in Fiji. She is a single mom raising four kids, one girl and three boys, ages 7 - 30. Then, we took a short bus ride to her village, where we got to see where she lived and meet her two youngest sons. They live in a very simple home that her husband built many years ago. It's basically one room, where the eat, entertain, and sleep, with a separate room to cook. She was so proud to be able to show her home to us. It was a humbling experience to say the least. She lives a very simple life, yet just seems so happy and full of life. It proved to Jonathan and me that family and a strong community is sometimes all you need.

The following quote was shared with us at The Jewel of Fiji Tour and I have to say, it's quickly become the theme of Fiji and the Fijian people, who are so friendly and welcoming.

There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. - W. B. Yeats