Weekender

Aunty Ema’s hospitality the best

Written By : Sandra Ah Sam. THE fresh mint smell of green grass and the sight of beautiful green hills captured my senses as we traveled along the Queen’s Highway
15 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : Sandra Ah Sam. THE fresh mint smell of green grass and the sight of beautiful green hills captured my senses as we traveled along the Queen’s Highway on our way to Vatukoula.
The road was filled with pot holes, and muddy water from the continuous rain which made traveling uneasy.
Gravel and rocks was annoying to travel through but we just couldn’t wait to reach our destination.
It had been quite a while since I last traveled down this side of the country and it was a blessing for most of us who had spent most of our years in the city.
The trip to Vatukoula was something the family was looking forward to and we had planned to spend the long weekend with one of our grand-aunt, Ema Wedlock.
Our big cousin Tony Dunn, a sailor for a prominent shipping company in the country managed to rent an eight-seater van to accommodate for the small number of family members that were going to Vatukoula.
Our young at heart Uncle Jessie Dunn also provided his four wheel drive to help carry other family members during the trip.
The family members had saved money to accommodate for food and other groceries which were taken down to Vatukoula.
There were a total of four children who were included in the family trip.
After two hours of traveling we stopped over at Korovou town for half-an-hour rest, the town was busy and I had never seen so many beautiful smiles on the faces of the village people who had come to sell their food crops at the market place.
This gave me a feeling of appreciation and to feel the happiness of those who lived in rural areas despite the struggles they face, it didn’t show on their faces but they had a smile which could fill the whole city with love alone. They don’t have cars, money, lap tops, mobiles, fancy shoes and good clothes but they sure were happy about just having to see new faces in their territory.
After another two hours we reached our destination which was a small community in Vatukoula called Nasivi.
Even though the weather wasn’t really on our side we were surprised with the warm welcome we received from residents of the community there.
Our old Aunty Ema greeted us with warm hugs and kisses, her neighbors helped her prepare a shed in the front of the house with posts wrapped and plated with beautiful colorful flowers.
We never felt so special on our arrival. On our first night there, neighbors came by and joined the group by having a talanoa session around the tanoa of yaqona.
Women in the community are very traditional and are very considerate. Even though they don’t have much, they are not demanding but are rather happy and content with their lives in Vatukoula.
I heard them going about how they were now facing salt, milk and butter shortage in the supermarkets. And how the high cost of fuel and rice was affecting their budget
Our group blended in very well with the community and there were so many hands to help prepare dinner and breakfast during our stay there.
On Saturday we decided to visit Tavua Town and do some marketing for the lovo which was planned for Sunday.
Tavua Town was full of multi-racial people busy shopping. The town is very small but the people seem to be happy and satisfied with their towns.
On Sunday, we had woken up early to see the sun rise and hearing the sounds of the birds chirping was so relaxing.
Sounds of the pig granting came from the piggery. There were about two huge pigs and two piglets which belonged to one of the neighbours which we fed every afternoon with our leftovers.
The men woke early and prepared the lovo pit with stones and fire while the women peeled the vegetables, cut the meat ready and marinated them for the lovo.
We sat cutting and preparing the ingredients for the meals while we had cups of tea and enjoyed the buns Aunty Queenie (Aunty Ema’s neighbor) baked early hours of the morning. It was home baked buns and was one of a kind. It had this unique taste which we would never forget.
It was fun working together as a team as they say ‘many hands make work lighter’, we laughed and joked while we worked which made our work enjoyably fast.
While the children played in their home made wooden swings, the men put in the lovo. After three hours it was ready for lunch.
The group from Suva and the family and neighbor of old Aunty Ema got together and had a hearty lunch. There was red roasted pork, chicken, dalo, cassava, chop suey and curry chicken set on the table and of course we wouldn’t miss out on our lemon and chillie.It was the tastiest lunch I had eaten in a very long time. After lunch the ladies helped clean up while some of us freshened up.
We weren’t looking forward to coming back to Suva because of the way we felt about Vatukoula and the people there. We never felt so welcome in a small community like we did in Nasivi and we’d like to thank Aunty Ema and her neighbours.



Laybuy it 5squares


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