slow oncoming of light on a humid morning. The first few nights we
stayed on the island of Tavewa, we slept in a tent a dozen yards from
beach. / Christian missionaries dramatically transformed the culture
of Fiji. I have never heard a preacher with a more naturally compelling
voice than this one, evangelizing in a park with a translator and
a 25-watt amp.
| post meridian
light intimating another sunset. Wait for four o'clock tea and cake,
take a walk to the school, or noodle on a partly strung guitar?
1957-58 the British conducted atmospheric nuclear
testing in the South Pacific in the vicinity of Christmas and
Malden Islands. Nearly 300 Fijian troops were exposed to these blasts.
/ While visiting Fiji we attended a session of the (since disolved)
Parliament, during which support was voiced for a proposal to demand
pensions for the exposed troops and their decendents, who are reasonably
believed to be suffering health problems as a result.
drinking serves many purposes in Fiji. Prepared by pulverizing the
root of a member of the pepper family, the drink has social and religious
functions. Kava is shared in a group, with a common bowl passed from
person to person, all served by the youngest.
A tingle on the tongue. An easing into comradeship. Clap before you
long, quiet process of return. The psychic transition from accepting
as inevitable an environment, to leaving it. The dissolution of a
way of being in the world that you have only borrowed. The reassertion
of self as the hypnagogic tide strands you far from the waves. / Every
night a set of guitar players would gather and play the same set of