|Ramatullah Kahn Memorial School|
Usual hot beverages then smoothie for breakfast, using the last of our market-bought fruit. A quick dip in the pool before getting ready to catch the WestBus into Nadi town, where we will meet up with Narayan, the taxi driver who will take us down to the Coral Coast to Ramatullah Kahn Primary School. We have brought 200 bamboo toothbrushes for the children after learning about their tooth-brushing programme. A year and a half ago, we came to Fiji, bringing with us a suitcase full of resources for the kindergarten attached to the primary school. This time, we decided to bring something for the primary school. One of their “dispositions to strive for” is to prevent pollution. Well, imagine all those plastic toothbrushes ending up in landfill – it will take 200 years to break down all that plastic. This gesture is just to show them an alternative, the bamboo toothbrushes can be thrown into compost bins and the bristles will break down in 3 months. The handle is bamboo and will simply go back into the earth – from the earth, completing the cycle!
|School's Desirable Dispositions emblazoned at entrance|
First off, a big challenge – neither Mike’s phone or my laptop will send emails, or txts. The Vodafone shop where we purchased our connection package can’t help us, so we head to a computer shop but they can’t help either. So we head off for the hour’s drive to the school. We arrive unannounced as we could find neither email or phone contact for the school - and even then, our internet and phone connections don't seem to be sending out to the world beyond. Mr Ravendra Das, the principal is appreciative, but slightly bemused at our mission – probably thought we are just mighty-crazy tourists to drive all that way to deliver toothbrushes! Haha! But the earth will be smiling! We decide against driving down to Natadola beach as the wind is blowing almost-gale-force here!
|Narayan's taxi toys for good luck!|
We stop at a roadside supermarket with a small eatery attached. We eat pakoras – pea flour and spinach, a potato curry, rice and dahl. So, so spicey! Narayan laughs at our in-breath-taking gulps to try to reduce the spicey heat in our mouths! We had an incredibly good cup of tea here too! Narayan takes us around the supermarket (a little dusty food store) and points out local ingredients and laughs at me groaning as I pick up product after product expectantly only to get the head shake from him. No, not local Fiji food!
|Our lunch: rice, dahl, potato curry and chickpea pakoras.|
We head back to Nadi,to sort out our internet connection woes – down a side street in Namaka, we find another computer company. An almost-obese Fijian guys checks out my laptop and quickly discovers why I can’t send emails – silly Vodafone people did not change the server setting and I am still sending with my NZ server, which doesn’t operate here! Costs us $25 to fix what Vodafone sold us but couldn’t provide! Even though it is a computer outlet, Mike asks why he can’t send txts on his phone – it takes the Big Techno-Magician Guy 5 seconds to fix, what an hour at Vodafone couldn’t figure out! Man, this guy should be running his own Vodafone shop!
We go to the Namaka fruit and veg market and get our local foodstuffs to get us through the rest of the week – the selection is mind-boggling. Yellow and green guavas (the latter is a type, not unripe guavas!), green and yellow bananas, papaya, pineapples, avo, coconut and a soursop. We look skeptically at this knobbley fruit but Narayan assures us we will enjoy it. Back at the resort, we try it out and gasp with pleasure! It is a custard-apple taste, crossed with sherbet!
I make some Fiji drip-filter coffee and whip up some rice flour pancake mix – pour some into a baking dish, chop bananas into it and bake for 20 mins. When slightly cooled, I pour Fijian honey over, with a small dazzle of milk. Delicious, if not terribly visually pleasing.
For dinner, I used up the last of the rice pancake mix, half served with butter and honey, the other half with Fijian Rewa cheese. We are really getting into our rice pancakes! Afterwards we took a walk to Brunella Ice (where Ravin promised to make us some rice muffins). We arrived just as Ravin does, he is happy to show us 6 beautiful large banana muffins – made without egg and wait for it……. Ceres brown rice flour!! Mike works for Ceres! How amazingly co-incidental is that!! A big bag has cost Ravin $29, and he charges us $30 for 6 muffins. A fair price. He says he can make more for us, as he still has more flour left.
|Rice flour banana muffins - such a treat!|
We are spending quite a bit of holiday time checking out food options and logging it all for the challenge. We promise ourselves to really chill out Thursday and Friday.
We have muffins – they look just like real ones! Can’t wait to try them tomorrow!
|Ravin proudly shows off his rice flour muffins|
Just before leaving the resort, Atish arrived to bring us 4 different types of freshly made local veg curries – okra, eggplant, cow peas and potato! He refused payment but we insisted in giving him $20 for buying the veggies and he was happy with that. We certainly are blessed with all these offerings. The locals are most generous and accommodating!
We are collected by Eileen Rodenberg, owner of Bulaccino. Eileen is Fijian, her husband Dutch. They have lived all over the world and have wonderful ideals for the land and business. She took us on a tour of her very impressive organic farm, with a variety of different food crops and animal husbandry. We were amazed at her generosity to take us around and show us the legacy she is creating. Organic food supply for her 3 restaurants – providing good, healthy, delicious food choices. From farm to plate. Afterwards, we were treated to a wonderful meal at Bulaccino, and joined by her children Emma, Dirk and Fiona (her other son was attending to business in Suva) and their families. We met her gorgeous grandchildren Hugo and Vida (and twins). What a lovely opportunity to meet with a local family and hear about their travels and aspirations.
|Lovely Eileen in the Garden of Eden (I mean, Fiji!)|
We then returned to the resort for an afternoon nap, rice flour muffins (which were delicious) and a massage at the resort spa. I am sure the oils were synthetic and even after wiping it off with a towel, a hot shower and scrub, I still feel greasy. The relaxation music kept on jumping and the Cd was obviously scratched, so we eventually asked if they could turn it off, since it was quite distracting. If I had to rate it out of 10, I’d give it a 4. Last visit to Fiji, we had the best massage at a cheap walk in street store. We may try to find it again.
Mike had Atish’s curry for dinner, I chose to have local yoghurt, honey and banana instead. Too much food!!
We have ended up with so much food, I doubt we will be able to eat it all before we check out on Saturday to take up a week’s accommodation at the Tanoa Hotel (which will not have a kitchen facility).
Meeting and talking with locals – Vika, and then Eileen and family.