It is a quiet, pristine, sunny Sunday morning in Savusavu, and before we meander out of here heading southwest, it is a time to reflect on the very special essence of this area. They call this "old Fiji" because the locals seem to be more traditionally soulful............full with the Bula spirit and not tainted by tourism. Most of the people who visit this area are looking for the beauty of the water and the land ; most of the resorts seem to be pretty low-key. As we battled the iffy weather of the last few weeks, our experiences seemed to focus even more on meeting the incredible people of these different islands, and we are so taken by how warmly they embraced us. The personal connections made with the families in Albert Cove especially reminded us of being home with our wonderful friends.
Mariana, a 54 yr old mother of 5 grown up children and woman extraordinaire, touched my heart and soul. She seems to quietly soothe the souls of all family members in Albert Cove and she definitely helps to make their lives meaningful.We spent quality time talking and sharing and she became my teacher. I learned how to weave the birds she made for me as a present, she taught me names and words as I wrote them in my book, and I learned to make my own coconut milk and sweets. In preparation for the party the families put on for us, Marianna, Tapita, Bao, and Banea all showed me how to make other traditional foods cooked in the lovo. When we arrived for the evening party bringing some gasoline for the generator, we were greeted by everyone sitting on the mats in a large decorated umatoro (house), with a feast waiting on the table and fish being cooked over the fire. The music started and we danced, sang, feasted, drank kava, and enjoyed conversations. After dinner, we watched a documentary on their history and then watched a funny movie together. When we departed the next day, Mariana and I had tears in our eyes and we gave each other big hugs. We waved good-bye to them from Sidewinder, feeling we had gained so much from being there just a few days. It was very special touching the essence of what I miss the most.........being with family and good friends. These islands truly are special and we do hope to see them again.