Flood in Nadi, April 2016
Have just returned from Fiji, where cyclones, floods and fierce storms are the order of the day. The locals on the beautiful island of Viti Levu greet each new disaster with equanimity, surveying the damage and getting on with the job of repair as if it’s just another day. Their positive attitude leaves no room for railing against the fates; such courage in the face of adversity puts to shame those of us privileged first worlders who complain of a shower of rain. We visited the village of Vadra Vadra, near Ba, and were treated like royalty by my brother-in-law’s family. No sooner had we arrived, in stifling 40deg heat, than his mother and aunt set about cooking us roti and curry on a little kerosene stove. Friends and relatives in Sydney donated clothes, bed linen and other goods to this and another village, to replace those lost in the recent Cyclone Winston. Two days before we were to leave the rains came, and with the rise of the rivers our access to the airport in Nadi was blocked. Until, that is, my valiant son-in-law hired a 4wd truck. After missing two flights, we set off at 5am and against all advice drove through raging floods in Sigatoka, to reach the airport. We’d never have made it without the guidance of a local man who needed a lift, and proceeded to point out where the water was shallowest. At one point we noticed our headlights had disappeared, submerged by rushing water. It took seven hours to make what was normally a two hour journey, then were blocked again at the flooded Nadi River. Our fearless driver forged ahead, again with the help of a passing local man, and we held our breaths as the truck seemed to swim through surging water. The whole experience was scary, but exhilarating, and proved again that combined energies can achieve miracles.
Family Farewell just before Departure