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My Village

I was born in an extended family to a cane farmer in a rural farming village on the outskirts of Ellington. The village was called ‘Natunu’ surrounded by mountain cliffs, forest shrubs and a river flowing along the graveled access road. Along the road were mostly cane fields, mango trees and wild almond trees and rain trees. It was a small Indofijian village with around thirty families that had clustered and made a niche of their own living peacefully tempered with peace, goodwill and understanding for each other. Everyone in the village lived like a family and it was a taboo to address elder by their names. It would either be kaka, mama, aja synonymous to uncle and grandfather in English.

We never had clean piped water until the late 90’s by when I had entered secondary school. It was common for families to have their own well for drinking water and ladies would take piles of dirty laundry to a nearby spot at the banks of the river called the ‘ghat’ a flattened rock protruding on the banks of the river where they would sit and wash all household laundries.  Electricity in the village had come through government assistance and community fundraising in the early 90’s. I was very small when this project was initiated and used to excitedly watch Fiji Electricity Authority workers laying cables. My personal favorite was a guy named Manasa. Occasionally I would be sent to give refreshing juice to these guys and Manasa will allow me to hop on the digger and he will turn around few gears on the heavy machinery as the bucket shovels around to my excitement.

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