Wow, are our hosts awesome

In the morning we headed back to the village to give our hosts some sheets that were no longer needed and some fishing lures. It being Sunday, we came across someone walking to church and after the formalities he asked if we were headed to church. Maybe we explained, but we needed to see Alfred and Bali. As we walked past the village’s drum, the ministers were just headed to the church and another man beat the drum in the pattern of call to worship. We continued on and found our hosts at home preparing for their worship. After handling over the items, they invited us to lunch after church. Hmpf, what to do now, the option was walk to the next village (it was quite hot) or attend the Methodist church in the village.

My vote was church and Carl was good with that. On the walk we ran into Noah, the fisherman from yesterday. We walked together and were directed to a pew on the left side. This appeared to be mostly for the women and in the front were the group of kids. My Fijian language skills are not quite proficient, so take that under advisement. But the service seemed to follow a call to worship, a few songs, some testimonials, another song, the sermon, and a couple final songs. All told it was about an hour and no doubt the best part was the singing. With a only triangle instrument it was mostly vocals with lots of harmonies. It felt a bit long, especially since we couldn’t understand what was said, but I am very glad to have experienced it.

After church we headed to our hosts store, where Alfred was waiting. Unfortunately, Bali was not feeling well (fever for the past week) so it would just be the three of us. To eat, Bali had prepared roti (bread) with a pumpkin/casava curry along with fresh lemon grass tea. It was very good and the company was even better. So enriching to spend time talking and listening to Alfred talk about his life, his faith, and the happenings/politics around the village. He is a wood carver (most of the men are) and I asked if he had any pieces for sale. Unfortunately, his time as of late has been setting up the store for his brother which has kept him from carving. He only had two items a bowl and a drum. I was beyond bummed that both were very large and I wouldn’t have any way to get them home.

On the walk back to the paddleboards, we came across someone who was hoping to exchange Fijian dollars for US dollars. A plan was hatched for him to paddle to the boat, but after walking away I remembered I had brought cash, so I made the exchange and saved him the effort to paddle the long boat to us. Thankfully for me the wind was much less on the paddle back to Sky Pond (yesterday was a brutal, painfully slow paddle into high winds) and we took a slightly different route that involved hiking over a sand spit to break up the paddling. What a special day!

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