Thursday, June 9, 2016

May Denver Visit

I was able to spend a long weekend at my friend Tiffani's house in Denver this last month.  Tiffani and I met in 2003 when we led junior high girl's Bible studies together and served in the junior high youth group in Boise, ID.  From the beginning, she's been a great accountability partner and stayed faithful to that even when she moved away and then later, I moved to Vanuatu.  She and I talk once a week or so on Skype (even in Vanuatu!) and pray for and encourage each other.  She's been a great part of the body of Christ in my life.  While in Denver, I also got to see my friend Aimee, who I went to Bible school with in 1998 at Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, which was a fantastic one-year school:  She has always been a great example of a faithful memorizer of Scripture.  It was fun to see her again after many years and to meet her son, Aiden.
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This smilebox had really annoying music options, so feel free to listen to the radio or something else while you  watch, because otherwise it'll be a silent movie.  :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Views of Fiji on my way to and from Talita's wedding

The venue for Talita's wedding was about halfway between the 2 major airports on the main island in Fiji, so I rented a tiny car and drove out from Nadi (pronounced Nandi) to Pacific Harbor, where she was getting married.  The drive was about 4 hours and was gorgeous, so I took some pictures along the way.  The highway goes through a ton of little villages and runs along the coast.  (For pictures of Talita's wedding, see my previous blog post.)  Fiji is Vanuatu's neighbor to the east, and the native people are also Melanesian ethnicity with seemingly a lot of similarity in culture.  In contrast to Vanuatu, nearly half of Fiji's population is actually Indian due to indentured laborers from Northern India being brought to work Fijian sugar cane plantations run by British colonials back in the day.  The 2 cultures (Fijian natives and Indian Fijians) are hugely different, which makes for some interesting relations in Fiji.
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In the cave (see Smilebox pictures above), the local owner blew a conch shell in the "priest's chamber," the last section of the cave.  Historically, only priests were to go in that chamber of the cave.

The cave had a lot of fascinating history, in that at one point, the nearby villagers were forced to flee and hide in it for several months.  Originally, there were a few openings to the outside through the roof of the cave that warriors would crawl up and out of to get food and check on their enemies' location.  These have since closed with mineral deposits.  The cannibal oven also had a natural chimney that exited out the cave.  This too has since closed up, but the natural formation of the oven itself remains.  Near the priest's chambers, there is a chamber that descends to the depths and is full of water that spelunkers a decade or so ago explored with scuba gear.  They found fascinating underwater features, but due to fear of future divers taking advantage, this has since been closed to outside explorers.  This was a fascinating tour and a great way to see more of the "real" Fiji.
 I thought this fog off the Sigatoka (pronounced Singatoka) River was beautiful! 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Talita's wedding

I met my friend Talita in the capital city in Vanuatu and whenever I was in the capital, she and I got together for fellowship, Bible studies, and just for fun.  Last month, I was able to go to her wedding.  She's from Tonga, but had her wedding in Fiji. Her husband is also Tongan, but lives in California, so she's moving to CA.  I'll miss her in Vanuatu!  Enjoy the pictures (of her wedding and around the venue)!
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A young girl performed a traditional Tongan dance at the reception.  The picture in the Smilebox isn't very clear but here's a video of her and others dancing.  (She's the small one in the middle that people are sticking money to periodically).