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My Destination is Fiji(see more entries for this location)
We arrived at the village and were given a sulu. The sulu, which is similar to the sarong, is the traditional clothing in Fiji. Though Fijians are quite relaxed, it's important to show respect toward their traditions. Women generally dress modestly and cover their legs so Sigatoka River Safari gave a sulu to each woman on the safari. Dressed in my sulu, I was ready to explore the village.
At first, I was shocked at the conditions in the village. I thought about how unhappy I would be to live with so little. The houses were small and almost empty. Then, I saw children playing. Every child had a smile on his or her face. They were outside and active without being glued to a TV screen or worrying about internet access. They were friendly and welcoming and proud of their village.
What an innocent way to view life.
I started to wonder if they were better off, richer for their connections to the land rather than the couch.
One particular little girl, Mary, took a liking to me. We made up a clapping game where we added more and more steps until one of us forgot what came next. We both found complete happiness in the simplest game and the afternoon flew by in an instant.
Quickly, I could see how the simplicity of it all was one of the biggest draws to Fiji. Interacting with the villagers reminded me that the people of Fiji are what make it special. Children are being taught values and respect and they are growing up with those cultural connections. Smiling, generous, and relaxed, Fijians are not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve and love one another.
Mary, and all of the children, followed us as we prepared to leave the village. She hugged me and blew kisses while I boarded the boat. I mirrored her caring demeanor and felt loved. No one judged or questioned our motives; they just were, and everyone was happy with that.
It is the local people who make a destination a home. I'll visit Fiji again because I now have family in a little village on the Sigatoka River.
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Charlotte, United States.
"Traveling & adventure have encompassed my life; I’ve been to 34 countries & I have no intention of stopping there. "