Fiji Travel With Seacology
In August 2008 a Seacology group traveled to Fiji to open two new projects. In Ketei Village, located on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu Seacology funded the construction of a community center in exchange for the creation of a 900-acre forest reserve. Our visit to Ketei began with a traditional kava ceremony. Kava is the ground up root of a pepper plant which acts as a calming agent. It has been the center of Fijian traditional life for hundreds of years. (Right, water is being poured into a kava bowl to begin the kava ceremony.)
The village chief then presented the Seacology delegation with a whale's tooth called a tabua in Fijian. This is the highest honor that can be accorded in Fijian society. (Below left, village chief presents the Seacology delegation with a tabua; the Seacology community center is in the background.) Then it was time to unveil the plaque and officially open the community center. (Below center, Seacology fellow Michelle Friend next to the community center plaque.) As always after the center was opened the villagers served us a feast of Fijian food followed by music and dancing. (Below right, the author dancing with a local village woman.)
Our home base for this trip was the beautiful Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort (left).
The Seacology group also visited Nukubalavu Village on Vanua Levu Island. There Seacology funded construction of a preschool building in exchange for the creation of a 25,600-acre marine reserve. (Below left, Seacology group and young children in the new preschool.)
The celebration continued with the typical kava ceremony, feast and dancing. Per local tradition the Seacology group thanked the village for their hospitality by wrapping some of the local dancers in much needed fabric. (Above center, a beautiful village girl; above right, presenting cloth to the local children.)
As always the trip was fun, rewarding and fascinating.
For information about Seacology's 2009 trips please see the travel page of our website.
All photos (excluding the Cousteau Resort) are credited to Nicole Friend.
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