Saturday, December 10, 2011

Zone Conference

We had a zone conference with our new Mission President Klingler and Elder Watson counsellor in the Area Presidency.  It was a good training.  And of course the most important part of the conference: the food.

The missionaries enjoying the lunch of pizza and fruit.

The senior missionaries worked in the kitchen.  Elder Tait is working hard on his pizza.

This is actually not a picture from zone conference.  These are some of the people we love from the ward.  Nola, Sis. Vuetibau, Apenisa, Sis. Damuni, Bro. Sharma


Brother Qaqa asked us to be the "Chief Guests" at the Primary School graduation.  It was a really nice day.  All the graduates were dressed in black and white and had received a traditional "lei". 

The graduates and the audience.

 Sister Tait passing out certificates.

Elder Tait passing out certificates
Elder and Sister Ronnenkamp, our ITEP supervisors, were here visiting us so they joined us as "Chief Guests".  Brother Qaqa the Primary School Prinicpal is on the right.

Below are some pictures of the College (high school) graduation.  We were asked to interview the candidates for the most prestigious honor of the school, the Lion of the Lord award.  It is the religious award for integrity and service.  It was an honor to be able to talk to the 4 nominees and very difficult to choose the recepient.   But in the end we both felt the same person should receive the award.

The College choir singing "O Holy Night".  It brought chills to listen to them.  It was so beautifully sung.

Geraldine receiving the Lion of the Lord award.  She is a wonderful girl and was also the school's Dux (valedictorian).

Another graduation:  Our Leadership Class called " History and Foundations of Education" finished up.

Brother Qaqa and the teachers from the primary school.

The Graduates 
Back  (left to right)  Bro. Solomone, Bro. Vitinavulagi, Bro. Prasad, Bro. Qaqa, Bro. Sautu
Front: Sis. Toganivalu, Sis. Vitinavulagi, Elder Tait, Sis. Talemaitoga, Sis. Charan

Magoon's Lagoon

We had a chance to go net fishing on P-Day with some of the other missionaries at Magoon's Lagoon.
 Brother and Sister Magoon live right on the ocean and he is a fisherman.  We were greeted warmly by the family and Sister Magoon had cooked some yummy scones.  We asked her for the recipe and she said it was flour, baking powder, and fresh coconut milk.  They have no electricity here.  They have a detached toilet room (but it flushes!)

The guys relaxing on the porch before fishing. (left to right) Elder Whiting, our neighbor, Brother Magoon, Elder Barfus, Elder Tait

These turtle shells hanging in the kitchen were beautiful!

Many of the houses out in the villages have outdoor kitchen areas where they cook.  They cook over an open fire.

Sister Barfus using their shower!  They collect water in these big barrels and then you can "shower" with a bucket.

Getting the boat ready.

Loading the net into the boat.

Following the boat along the beach.


Sister Magoon is a strong worker !  Here she is with the rope around her waist pulling the net in.

Once the net gets to the shore we all start pulling it in.

Pulling the net.  Elder Whiting, Sister Barfus, Sister Whiting, Sister Magoon.

Well there wasn't a really big catch.  Only 1 big fish.  But the Fijians don't waste any of the fish.  The smaller fish are used for bait.

We caught quite a few of these fish that looked like a sword fish.  They were about 8-10 inches long.

The catch of the day!

Sister Magoon scaling and cleaning the fish.  I felt so bad for this fish, because he was flopping around as she scraped the scales off!  Finally she cut it open and took out the insides.

We put the net back in a second time, and didn't catch much.  But we did catch this stingray.  They said they eat them, although we didn't eat it that day.

The stingray.  (They had cut the stinger off.)

We also caught a few crabs and shrimp (prawns).

One of the teenage boys climbed up a coconut tree and threw down a bunch of coconuts.  They sliced the top off and we had fresh coconut milk and meat.  It was very sweet and good.

Brother Magoon with his cane knife.

Sister Magoon and her daughters then cooked a traditional Fijian meal including the fresh fish.  There was curry, dalo, fruit, roti, and a lot of other dishes.  It was very good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Our math class at the Primary School
(front to back and left to right)  Bro. Nathan, Sis. Nathan, Sis. Rabuka, Bro. Tagicakibau, Bro. Qaqa, Sis. Vitinavulagi, Sis. Rokobuludrau, Sis. Talemaitoga, Sis. Bedesi


The new Singapore Math books.  We are hoping these books will be a great help to improving the math at the Primary School, which in turn will help the college.

Our Technology Class

Sis. Levaci, Sis. Qalovaki, Sis. Racule

Sis. Ram

Bro. Prasad and Mike deep in conversation.

We are finished up teaching our lessons for the technology class and now we are just waiting for everyone to turn in their assignments.  (That is the difficult part!)

Suva Stake Choir Festival

On Saturday, October 21 the Suva Stake had a Relief Society activity.  Each ward sang 2 songs.  A hymn and a "fun song".
I thought this group looked nice because many of them had coordinated dresses.  (The choir director is Sister Tapele who is the librarian at the Primary School.

This ward Suva 3rd had the biggest group.

Suva 1st Ward (Our ward is small, but you can't see all the people in this picture.)
Our ward had said to wear blue or yellow, but some didn't get the message I guess. 
It was a nice afternoon of singing and fun.  The Fijians love to sing.  Everyone sings loudly and with emotion.  It is a lot of fun to hear and watch them sing.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Diwali, The Festival of Lights

Diwali is probably the biggest holiday they celebrate in Fiji (in the Suva area anyway).  It is actually a Hindu celebration, but all the Indians celebrate Diwali even if they are not Hindu.  The Fijians also join in the fun of the good food, dressing in Indian clothing, pretty lights, and fireworks.  The Indians decorate the outside of their homes with lights, like we do at Christmas.  It's really pretty and many people go all out with their lights as you can see from the picture.

Our Diwali was very different from last year.   Bishop Nathan and his sweet wife, who both teach at the Primary School, invited us to their home.  Sister Nathan is so sweet and also very funny.  I just love her.  She had been cooking long hours for about 3 days to put on a wonderful Indian feast.  When we arrived  we were given some "sweets" as they called them.  There were about 6 different types of candies.  When it got dark we went outside and watched fireworks.  When we came back in, Sister Nathan had the table all set for dinner for us.

The feast

left to right - Sister Maiwiriri, Bishop Nathan, (his father) Brother Nathan, his mother, Sister Qalovaki

The kids

Me in my Diwali outfit (I know it's bright!) and Mike

Sister Singh and I. The day before Diwali, the Primary School had a dress up day.  They call the top of the outfit a kameez.  Then there are pants to go underneath.  Sister Singh was so excited that I had on a kameez.  She gave me a jewel called a bindi to wear on my forehead.  .

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Open House at the Fiji LDS Church College

The College had an Open House for parents and students.  They are trying to get more enrollment at the school, so they decided to showcase their programs to the community.  The teachers did a fantastic job! All the departments went all-out with displays, learning activities, drawings for prizes,etc. 
They had a pretty good turn out of people also.

Parents getting information about enrollment.  On the right is Sister Bale, another secretary at the College.  She is great!
Brother Solomone, the Principal, welcoming the visitors.

Brother Vitinavulagi, the HOD of the Science/Math Deptartment introducing the teachers in his department.
The Social Science Department.  They all dressed in Bula (welcoming Fijian style clothing).  They had drawings for prizes and a nice power point.  from left to right.  Sis. Fifita, Bro. Ratusaki, Sis. Sudh, Sis. Levaci, the HOD, Sis. Saubulinayau  (it took about 9 months to learn her last name.)
Sis. Ritova, the librarian and TALL teacher, explaining the TALL program. 
Technology Assisted Language Learning.
(We love our acronymns in education)
It is a to help students become more proficient in English.
Sister Sovasova , the school counselor, talking to parents about the SSEOP
 Student Spiritual Educational Occupational Plan
Oh, another acronymn, imagine that!!!
Most of the students had never even thought about what they were going to school for, or how they would use it in the future, or the fact that what they are doing in school now and what class you sign up for, is a huge factor on what options you will have in the future.
Brother Dulaki presenting the Seminary program.
Bhavik Lal introducing the Home Economics fashion show.  He is a very talented young man at the school who designed all of the fashions for the show. He is a form 7 (grade 13 )  student.  (Here in Fiji students can do their first year of college at the high school level and a lot of students choose that because it is cheaper.)  Below are some of the highlights of the fashion show.

The first design on the "catwalk"
All the clothes are "green" in principles and elements of design as well as the materials. 

A gentleman's suit and a kimono style dress made from tapa cloth.
Bark from a tree that is pounded into a paper (like thick construction paper)
then the designs are painted on using natural dyes.

Bhavik was inspired by the use of plastic and created a line of "recyclable" clothing. 
On the left is a bridal gown made from plastic trash bags.
 (Notice the ear rings the "bride" has on - they are the lids of tin cans!)
On the right is a newspaper dress.  I can just hear the model,
Q: "Are you staring at me?"
A: "No, I was just reading the sports page."
A "Yellow Ribbon" inspired suit, a blue hand-painted dress, and a tye dye creation.
Another hand-painted creation by Bhavik.

Most of Bhavik's outfits had already been showcased in Suva at the Hibiscus Festival, which is sort of a "county fair".  This is only the beginning for Bhavik as most of the clothes he designed were sent to the U.S. and another 10 dresses will be sent later in time for the Fiji Day Fashion Show celebration in San Francisco and Las Vegas.