Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back from Fiji

It is so interesting to go to another country and yet be so removed from the country. We had hotel points from all of Bill's travel so we stayed at a VERY nice resort. The whole time I kept itching to get to the "real people." We didn't feel comfortable because they drive on the other side of the road, so I asked our hotel to find us a driver to take us to a snorkeling beach.

He turned out to be a Hindu man, who worked at the hotel and then drove a taxi when he was free. It was touching to see his hospitality to us. First, he called to tell us that he would driving us to the "7th nicest beach in the world." I could see the pride in him as we drove into the area. Even more, his wife got up at 4 a.m. to make us a typical Fijian lunch. It was such a gift to me to sit on a tarp in the shade of his taxi and share a lunch with Saleash. It was a gift to be invited into a glimpse of his world and to see life from his perspective.

It was interesting to find out that the history of Fiji is that in 1850 they brought over people from India to work the sugar can fields. It has never been legal for the Indian people to own land, even though they are almost 50% of the population. It was strange to see the black Fijians and understand they are the oppressors, when in our country it has been so different.

Saleash was working two jobs so he could lease some land. I didn't know the rule until later, but as we got to know him, I felt sad that he would never be able to permanently own the land of the country of his forefathers.

But, in his own struggles, he reached out to a couple of Americans and made their stay in Fiji a lot more meaninful because of his hospitality to us.

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