Friday, November 20, 2015

Makogi, Fiji... Exploring and learning about the old leper colony, turtles, giant clams and last village performance

Hello Everyone,

We had been told by many that this is an island not to miss.  Makogi is the old leper colony for Fiji.  The leper colony was discontinued in 1969 because of the discovery of the cure for Leprosy or Hansens Disease.  At one point they had over 5000 residents with the disease from all over the world.  The colony wasn't just for Fijians but had people from Europe, Asia and The South Pacific Islands.  Fiji has now turned it into a marine reserve park and a historical site.  The government owns the island and pays for the up keep and care for the land and the waters around it.  They have been working on bringing back the giant clams and have been able to grow quite a few.  It was fun to see how they grow the clams from a microscopic eggs to small clams to the largest of them at the base of the dock that was 700 pounds.  They really are beautiful creatures.  The clams are also very important for the health of the reefs because they filter the eggs from the damaging Crown of Throns star fish.  The marine park also is a turtle rescue facility and while we were there they had a large (really large) turtle that they were given to rehabilitate.  Unfortunately the turtle had been speared by a someone through the head but it survived.  The turtle is now completely healthy and has no permanent damage and they are just waiting for the doctor to give the go ahead to release him.

They grow the baby clams on these slabs of concrete and then take the concrete out into the bay and set them slabs down in the water for the clams to grown then after the clams have gotten bigger they move them around to better locations for them to grow and grow and grow....

The workers on the island still use a generator that was given to the leper colony back in 1906...  It is amazing because it is still running like a champ... things were really built well back in the day!

The leper colony had a little jail for 

Old Cemetary.. there are over 1500 people buried here from the leper colony :@(

Alina diving down to some of the small clams in the marine park

School is hard to do with the scenery surrounding you...

Amaia and Chris getting ready to play underwater with the scuba and as Amaia says borrowing the Octopus... She loves hanging out underwater.. Dont worry they are only in 6 feet of water in the shallow bits!

The last night we were there a small cruise ship came into the bay and the one village that is on the island came and performed for the guests on the ship.  It was really cute because the adults in the village sang and played the instruments and then the kids from the school performed the dances in the traditional costumes..

Sweet little Mary is allergic to bees and was stung by one while we were there.  We left her mom a bottle of Childrens Benedryl... There was a doctor on the cruise ship that they spoke to and so he said if we had extra that would be great to leave it with them... Love being able to help when we can.

Amaia was teaching the kids Cops and Robbers... they had a blast running around hiding "the keys (her flip flops) and playing tag.

Again parting is sweet sorrow... 

Hugs and love to everyone at home.


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