Sunday, June 27, 2010

So I decided to go for a swim last night...

So currently my host village is on a small little island next to one of the big islands…. Right? Right. To get from my village to the bus stop and to civilization in general, I have to get on a little boat and cross the 50ft river. Oh and a big Peace Corps rule is I have to wear a PFD every time I cross water…. Nothing like a big yellow neon sign pointing to the non-Fijian. So the other night I was coming home with a bunch of groceries, my backpack, my purse, my PFD ect…. It was around 7pm so it was super dark here (well maybe not super dark but I think you all know where this story is going and I’m needing all the decent excuses I can get). So. I’m walking down the steps into the boat and go to take the last step… FAIL. Apparently I had already taken the last step and instead I went splashing into the water. It was so amazingly graceful that you all would have been proud. As I was falling I managed to throw the groceries into the boat. And then apparently my purse was waterproof and my backpack had a plastic grocery bag of fabric in the bottom hence keeping everything dry and safe…. Skillz, I know…. I got them.

So now I am surrounded by these giant Fijian men… all attempting to yank me out of the water. I was laughing hysterically, they were trying not to laugh, the other volunteer was still in shock that that had actually happened… all in all… it was awesome. Oh and I’m pretty sure I mooned them as I was trying to get out because my skirt now weighed approximately 10 thousand pounds. Good times in Fiji.

And by popular demand... here is the meke dance:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So my 4 years of Dance Marathon has paid off...

Last week we were invited to dance a meke at Rewa Day. Time for some definitions/explanations. So a meke is like a Fijian line dance. Currently I live in the province of Rewa. A province is kinda sorta loosely like a state but we are run by a Chief. The Chief of Rewa is a woman… that’s a BIG DEAL here in Fiji. Rewa Day (days actually, it lasted over a Friday and a Saturday) was a whole celebration of Fijian Tradition within the Rewa Province.

Got all that? Gooood… back to the meke. Twelve of the us learned this traditional dance in 5 days. Truth be told, after 4 years of DM line dances… this seemed like the Macarena. So we get there on Friday after the open ceremony dressed in our traditional Fijian attire ready to make our debut. There were a few things we did not realize. 1. We would be performing this in front of a few hundred people directly in front of the Chief and 2. apparently we were the highlight of the entire day. And by highlight I mean we made the paper, the national paper, the next day! I figured out what my true calling in life is… A meke dancer! I’ll be signing autographs all day…

But in all seriousness it was an awesome experience. Actually few unexpected reactions resulted from our dance.

The people of Fiji were shocked that we learned the dance in a week… I guess they spend weeks and months working on them. So they now think we are all actual pretty smart.

The Fijians people have an amazing culture riddled with tradition. Unfortunately we were told that in some places the tradition of Meke is dying out with the younger generations. So the fact that these Americans could come in and perform for them further gave them a reason to rejuvenate this tradition.

So yeah it was a ton of funnnn. The video may or may not be on YouTube… still debating over whether I should put that gem on here for your viewing pleasure…..

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lets Talk about Sex Baby….

In church? Okay so here’s the story… last week we were invited to a youth group meeting at the local Methodist church. So cool…. go meet the youth, chat for a bit, call it a night. Simple right? Well there were a few things not mentioned to us.

1. The youth in Fiji are comprised of people from the ages 17ish-40ish or until you get married… whatever comes first. In church youth groups, the age range is 15ish-25ish … so yes I am very much a youth here… oh super. Nothing like being clumped in the same category as hormone infested teens.

2. Youth groups here are apparently not like youth groups in the states. Back there we used to just hang out, talk about life, maybe a Bible verse or two, and call it day… Always very casual. But here… not the case. It was a formal church service…. All two hours of one.

3. Here’s where the sex part comes in. So we get there. The priest greets us outside and then informs us that she really wants us to focus on sex and other related issues. Okay… well…. Okay? Since I have the only health education background I was nominated to talk (I eventually convinced another person to stand up with me since I am a “youth”). An hour and half into the service I got up introduced us and said we were welcome to questions. So they did… about everything from sex to drugs. So we all just answered the best we could. I’m pretty sure some of the males were trying to embarrass me sometimes or they thought I was too shy to answer some questions… pshhht proved them wrong. Everyone who knew me through college knew us HEB kiddies had to take Sex Ed and Drug Ed… not many things phase me these days….

As much as I joke about the situation… it was actually really cool that: 1 they trusted us and 2 they were interested so much in that topic.

So life here is still going well. Fiji is a great… still beautiful and full of culture. Speaking of culture… Americana is evvveerrrywhere. Currently “Down” Jay Sean is playing in the background. The Glee version “Like a Prayer” is always on the radio… totally NOT upset about that at all. However I think some people think that is the original version of that song. Don’t worry Madonna, I am trying to set them straight.

Well I hope all is well in Merika… Last I heard Evan and Erin were in the DWTS finally… and is Lost over? I’m assuming they were found. And how are my fave shows Greys and Top Chef? I was sick over the weekend and I started watching the second season of Greys (thank you Nicole!!!)… Izzie just met Denny, George is still alive, Meridith just met McVet, Burke hasn’t been shot (yet)… madnessss!

Miss you all!!!