Profession: Villager

In case you’re wondering what I might be doing on a Saturday afternoon here in Fiji, I’m probably practicing some of my recently acquired survival skills:

  • Many coconut based skills…
    • Climbing coconut trees (though not that high or that well yet, it’s hard to practice when I’m always in a skirt)
    • Opening and scraping coconuts
    • Making coconut oil, from tree to bottle!
  • Using a cane knife (the best tool ever invented)
  • Hand washing clothes – I already did this at home pretty often, but I’m getting much more efficient now that everything is done by hand!
  • Plucking a chicken
  • Sand crab hunting (this sounds better than digging for crabs, which doesn’t sound as tough as it actually is)
  • Building – in my first two weeks here I’ve made (with help) a nice garden fence and a compost bin, using mostly materials from the bush!
  • Crab catching – more like hunting, because catching crabs here means going out into the woods in the night with flashlights… not at all what I expected, and really fun! Also, way more exciting than looking for sand crabs.
  • Fishing – I can gather my own hermit crabs for bait, string ’em on the hook and cast away!  Still working on my skill getting the fish off the hook without being spiked.
  • Qoli – this is a type of fishing that requires swimming out deep into the reef to catch fish using a massive net.  We kick and throw rocks to direct the fish into the net.  In a strong tide this is just short of an olympic event!
  • Recycling – A lack of stores and new materials is a work out for my imagination! At home I was accustomed to repurposing as much as possible (I thank my resourceful Portuguese family), but it becomes habit when it’s necessary for survival.  Nothing hits the rubbish bin until there has been a full review of usefulness by myself and my neighbors… be it a toothpaste tube or twist ties. No joke.
  • Stove top baking – I have yet to decide if this skill development is a blessing or a curse.  My gas canister and belly will be the judge of that!

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