Guests in Lomati

Cruising in Fiji you can’t just anchor somewhere and do your own thing, you’re supposed to visit the main village of the island, introduce yourself to the chief, bring a present (sevusevu, a bundle of kava) and then you’re accepted in the village and allowed to roam around ashore and in the coastal waters. In guide books and on the internet we read how-to’s and advice on what to wear (long sleeves, a sulu, that’s a wrapping skirt like a pareu), how to sit during the ceremony (crossed legs for men, legs sideways for women) and what to say (not a lot, especially women) for the ceremony, but in the end it turned out to be a very relaxed and easy affair–Lomati is no longer as traditional and misogynist as traditional Fiji used to be.

Our host family has invited us twice for lunch at their home, we have invited them back on Pitufa, everybody in the village is welcoming and friendly and we try to repay the hospitality with repairs and meaningful gifts (we brought reading glasses along, sun glasses are also sought after, etc.). The headman asked us to help with a report to the government about the projects they have been doing here in the village (a footpath through the village, solar panels for each house) along with an application for new projects (a dock so they don’t have to carry the boats a few hundred metres through mud at low tide) and I ended up typing a few pages in Fijian… We have therefore decided to leave a laptop here in the village, so they can write reports and letters themselves (we did an introductory explanation and the teacher from the neighbouring village will also help with instructions). We get the impression that most yachties that come through try their best to help with repairs and gifts, which is great, as it ensures a friendly welcome for boats here!

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