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True Riches

Koro Island

By Fr. Frank Hoare

I have been in Nacemaki village now for almost two months. It is a great place for practicing Fijian after my six-month course in Suva. I go to a different Catholic family every day for meals, so I get to know who belongs where. The variety of breakfasts is amazing. It is different every day of the week. One day pie, another day bani, next day roti; then yams or breadfruit or dalo. Many different kinds of fruit too!  And drinks! They range from tea, coffee, milo, lemon grass tea and so on. I feel like a king.

Ilimo and Kali have been good friends. On a picnic one day they caught and roasted some fish. They garnished it with ‘miti ni wai tui’ (seawater in a rock crevice with chopped up chili in it). We did a two day walk from village to village around Koro island. I helped the old (untrained) catechist instruct Kali and Dibuna for marriage. I was struck by the old man’s injunction to the couple not to watch the dogs in the village copulating. Seemingly that would give them wrong ideas. 

Today I was chatting with Ilimo in his bure. He said, “Father, you probably think that I am a poor man when you look around my house and don’t see any fine furniture or gadgets here. But you would be wrong. I am a rich man. You know Jeke here? He has a tabua of mine. I gave another tabua to a friend in Nasau village. I helped Patimo build his house. I played rugby with our village team. If I need help I only have to call, and all these people will come to my assistance. Yes, Father, I am a rich man.”

Columban Fr. Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.

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