So instead, I think I'm going to tell and show you about first the people, then (in the order the mood strikes me) the beauty of the landscape, the animals, the food and...okay, maybe a few things we did (although that will be well covered by the aforementioned). With no further ado: The People of Fiji
The happiest most content people in the world live in Fiji. Okay, I haven't explored the entire world (yet) but as I do, I will be on the lookout for a people more content and happy than the Fijians. And why not? The weather is perfect year round, there are 12 hours of daylight year-round, food is abundant (hence, everyone eats--which means you don't see homeless, hungry or begging people), the water is clean and plentiful, the land is stunningly gorgeous, there's no pollution, everyone walks everywhere and no one is in a hurry. In the interest of full disclosure, we were on the second largest island--Vanua Levu (the biggest island--Viti Levu did seem more crowded/urban and thus may have more "issues" than Vanua Levu). Fiji is about 35% Indian (or Indo-Fijian as they call themselves) and the cultures seem to have blended well. Although there is not, apparently, much if any inter-marrying among the Fijians and the Indo-Fijians, they seem to get along well and we never detected any racism. We were told that at the school the children of Sunil and Rhada (more on them later) attend the Indian children are taught Fijian and the Fijian children are taught Indian. And they all learn English--which makes it very easy to travel there as well, although some accents are harder to decipher than others. (In fairness, I think they may have had a difficult time with my dad's Georgia accent as well. ;-))
They are also very warm, genuine, open and welcoming folks. And so, I give you...our Fijian friends:
On our first day driving around we drove by this group walking home from church. We stopped to take a photo and they obliged. This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.
On another day we were fortunate enough to be taken to one of the villages where we went to their church service (Methodist--although all done in Fijian). It happened to be Mother's Day so the women were conducting the service. The most beautiful singing I've ever heard. First photo is the cantor and his daughter.