Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sevu Sevu Ceremony.... In Namara Village, Waya Lailai

Hello Everyone,

We had a wonderful time in Blue Lagoon with our friends Bob the Cat.  It is really sad to depart from them.  We have had many adventures with them and really enjoy their company so it is sad that we go our separate ways.  We will hopefully be able to see them when we get to New Zealand.  I think that is one of the hardest things about the cruising life... you really develop a bond quickly and truly look forward to seeing them when you meet up again.

We left yesterday to make our way down the Yasawa coast line dodging the reefs and motoring through the rain for 30 miles... we finally anchored off of Waya Lailai, Yasawa next to a small village that Bob the Cat had recommended we visited because of their many many friendly children and visiting the school here.  He also said they performed a nice Sevu Sevu ceremony that we haven’t officially been able to go through yet.  We also wanted to take Oma to church on Sunday and were told that this is a great village for that.

We dropped our anchor and found that this is a very rolly spot for us right now but as we look out upon the beach we see all of the kids playing in the surf and running up and down the beach.  Then 2 boys came out on their surf board and greeted us along with John and his 2 boys.  He offered us Papaya and to go and get us lobster.  He also said to come on into the village and they would give us a Sevu Sevu ceremony.

We gathered up all of our supplies, Kava, lollies, and cameras and headed into the surf for Oma’s first beach landing in small waves... we had to jump out quickly as the dinghy gets turned sideways and can knock you off your feet.  We were greeted with about 10 small kids and their mothers with Bula! Bula!  Come, come and a gentlemen helped to pull the dinghy up and tie it off to a palm tree for us.  The kids were truly enamored with us and the kids and when I started taking pictures they loved to look back through the screen to see themselves and were giggling and teasing each other about their pictures.

We followed the women into Jim’s house who then performed what we have been getting as the standard Sevu Sevu greeting of just blessing the Kava and then letting us know thank you for the gift and now you may roam about the village and swim in the waters and play on the beach.. Our home is now yours and you are welcome here.  We thanked him but then asked how is the Kava drink made and they offered to give us the full Sevu Sevu ceremony.  While we waited for them to go and grind up the Kava we were introduced to Ben the school master and he gave us a tour of their school.  Namara Village School has 70 kids from ages 5 - 14 grades K - 8.  The have 2 dormitories that house the kids on the island from the 2 villages on the other side.  The kids come in Sunday evening and stay here in the village until Friday after school and then they go back to their homes.  They have 4 teachers and their typical curriculum is math, english, cultural studies, science, healthy living, and their native language... Ben showed us a classroom and had the kids sing us a few of the songs that they sing... they were shy at first... their little voices were amazing and you can see how from a young age their singing voices are developed.  They explained to us that there is limited power in the school and village for that matter and they don’t have lights or electricity to run power.  They are trying to get a solar panel so that they can get 2 computers to start teaching the children computers and technology.   

After the tour was over Ben said that he was going to host the Sevu Sevu ceremony in his home and so we all headed that way.  Ben’s one room house was large enough for all of us to sit in a circle on a pandanus mat which is a tradition for the ceremony. 

Ben, his wife Eliza (also a school teacher), Jim and another woman (also a school teacher) performed the ceremony.  For the Sevu Sevu ceremony they start with blessing the Kava and saying a prayer.  Only the older male of the village is suppose to make the kava but this tradition has been slowly changed over time.  Then they take the powder from the Kava and put it in a burlap type bag and dip it in a bowl of water.  The bag is then mashed and squeezed until it starts to become muddy.  This process is repeated until they feel the water has been mixed with the kava to make a proper drink.  About 15 minutes.  

The kava is then poured into a half coconut shell to drink from.  Everyone drinks out of the same shell as it is passed around time after time.  We learned there are 3 levels of kava drink.  A quarter cup of Kava in the shell is called “Low Tide”, an almost full cup of Kava in the shell is called, “High tide” and if you fill it to the rim it is called “Tsunami”.

Once the drink is ready then it is offered to first the older male of the guest.  In order to accept the kava you first clap once, say Bula, then drink the entire contents at once, then after pass the cup back you clap again 3 times.  It is very important that the clap is not with flat hands but more of a cupping of your hands so it is not so loud.  Although if you know my son “Kava”  he is know for his extremely loud clap which is performed with the cupping of his hands.  

So we started with Chris and then the kava was passed around to Tristan, Oma, Myself, Oma and Alexia.  Then to themselves Ben, Eliza, the other woman and Jim lastly.  Jim is the one that prepared the kava drink with his hands and he then fills the cup by dipping his hands in the bucket and scooping out kava with another coconut shell to pour into the one we drink from.  We were sitting there and then Tristan asked if he could have another.  We then learned that the male sitting to the right of Chis is the one that could authorize another round... “Taki” is the command that Tristan learned and it was one that he used many times that night... Tristan liked the flavor of the Kava and was having a great time being the one in charge for all of us to take another drink.  I think that by the time we were done Tristan was ordering “High Tides” and we all had about 7 rounds... He was also the one that could tell us if we when we could stretch out our legs... “Dondo”.  After sitting for some time on the matt your legs start to fall asleep so you really need to stretch them out.  One of the hard things about the Sevu Sevu ceremony is finding a polite way to leave.  This is where Amaia comes in handy... Alina and Amaia have been outside playing with all the kids in the village the whole time we have been here and now they are wet, tired and cold.   So of course it is an easy excuse for us to leave our new friends... 

We were invited back to attend church the next morning.  We really wanted to get Oma to a church.  The singing is always so amazing from everyone in the church and this one didn’t let us down... 

walking through the village to church

Love these kids.... and the little tiny sulus for the boys...

The service lasted about an hour and it was beautiful.  We sat on the side with all the kids.  Their smiles looking back over the pews at us were really sweet.  One of the girls shared her hymnal with Oma so that they could sing together.. The Fijian language is very simple to pronounce so even though you don’t know what you are singing... you can pronounce everything.  Another older woman had walked over to Chris and gave her his hymnal so that he could sing along as well.  They also greeted us in the beginning and welcomed us to their village and to the service.  Chris then stood up and introduced us all and said thank you for being so welcoming, and that their smiles and warmth are a treasured gift to us.    

After church we had to leave to make the 10 mile passage down to Navadra to where we were meeting our friends on Shine.  This is an uninhabited Island with beautiful beaches, snorkeling and diving.  

Hugs and love to everyone,

Bula! and Taki!


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