“What do we say to our ancestors
When all the fish are gone
If we fail to protect our home
And all our future children to come
Their hope lies in us”
This quote concludes the two-page summary of my research paper exploring the regional cross-sectoral impacts and benefits of coastal fisheries in the Pacific. Yesterday brought together regional fisheries experts; government and local fisheries officers; permanent secretaries and representatives from the Ministries of Economy, Health, iTaukei Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Strategic Planning; representatives from the community based Fiji’s Locally Managed Marine Area’s, Secretariat for the Pacific Community the University of the South Pacific, Institute of Marine Resources,South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the Pacific Islands Development Fund; as well as the stars helping to navigate the sailors: the IUCN staff. Remember all those acronyms I was telling you about?
The meeting, “talanoa style,” is used to create a relaxed, no-need for political correctness atmosphere, and as such the specifics of what was said there stays there. However, I can say that everyone learned a lot about the issue, there was a lot of energy in the room, good dialogue between all of the participants, and motivation to drive this issue forward when it concluded. Also, there is set to be a press release in the coming days as well as the final addition of the Green Paper on Coastal Fisheries, which I have been working on under the guidance of Mr. Andrew Foran. Understanding that this is a broad-ranging issue, I am hopeful of the next steps. One of the key things said during the meeting was that “Mana stems from the belief that if you respect the environment, the environment will respect you, the power that you put in will come back to you [good or bad]” (but don’t tell anyone I told you that, because you know, closed room and such).
Other than work, Josh and I have been doing a lot! He updated you on the Uto ni Yalo, S.V. Moana, Sigatoka sand dunes, RPCV panel and our “Deep Sea” adventure, sooooo I guess I get…lovo at Maria’s, random bus stop snorkeling/coconut eating in Novualevu, wrecked barge exploring in Pacific Harbour, Colo-i-Suva rain forest park and my photo application to join the Fiji 7’s Rugby Team in Rio.
This is lovo! It is a traditional Fijian meal that takes half a day to prepare, two hours to cook, and about 30 seconds to devour! Our friend and colleague in the PCEG of Maria graciously invited us to spend the day with her and her family preparing and indulging in the most delicious meal Josh and I have had in Fiji. We also learned one our newfound favorite saying yaqavaka gnu; useful like a coconut. We may have overstayed are welcome, though as we could not move after all the food, and drank kava until the moon was high in the sks discussing life, culture, spies and listened to our humble hosts play and sing Fijian songs (they had some great harmonies).
Here are some from the time we decided to get on a bus and stop when we saw some coral. We met a lovely group of people that looked after our stuff while we snorkeled and provided us with good conversation, delicious coconuts, and a photo shoot worthy of any world class model, while we waited for the bus (you can find our 100+ picture session somewhere on Facebook probably). This, coincidentally, happen to us again after we went exploring a wrecked barge we heard about at Pacific Harbour. A couple people showed up to talk to us for a while, and we ended up taking a photo shoot, but don’t worry we won’t let the Fiji Facebook Fame get to us!
Colo-i-Suva (pronounced tholo-E-suva) park, located a mere 10 minute ride up from our house, brought a refreshing sense of freedom and relaxation in it many waterfall swimming holes without the bother of tourists (or anyone else in that matter)
Just like Jarryd Hayne, former running back for the 49ers, I set off to show Ben Ryan, coach of the Fiji 7’s, that I was meant to play 7’s rugby in the Olympics. I trained for one full day on the beautiful black sand beaches of Kiuva. The same beach that holds the remains of the Syria, which wrecked on her reef carrying 497 indentured labourers’ from India. It was a grueling day of sipping on coconuts, eating egg sandwiches, relaxing under palm trees, body surfing and destroying kids ages 16 and under in Rugby. Alas, Ben Ryan spoke to me, just as he did Jarryd Hayne, “Go back to playing in the NFL, you’re not fit enough for our team.” So after having a good cry Jarryd and I learned a good lesson: no matter how hard you try, or how much you hope, some of us are just not meant to walk down…
(located in downtown Suva, next to scenic Butt St. and the White House Ex Club)