I have been renting a room from a Fijian family in Kinoya for the last few months while I continue to teach at the Pacific Regional Seminary. My landlady is a widow with two daughters and a son in the background. The younger daughter is 5 years old and always speaks English to me. At breakfast, as I put marmalade on my toast she watches me like a hawk and as soon as I go for a second helping of marmalade she shouts. “Enough, enough!” I retire ashamed.
My landlady has a guava tree in the small patch in front of her house. Beyond that, there is a bus stand. This year the guava crop has been good and she sells them to the people waiting at the bus stop. I asked her one evening how much money she had made that day. “Nineteen dollars,” she said. “But some days I can make twenty-four or twenty-five dollars.” You know,” she said, “Yesterday I went out and hugged the guava tree and said to it, “You are great! It is because of you that I can feed Father!”
Columban Fr. Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.