Welcome to my global village!

Sharing with the readers my experiences through my travel, interaction with different cultures and my involvement through community work! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reaching out..Beyond Keiyasi...

Panoramic view of the School

Last thursday we visited yet another beautiful and pristine village called Navosa beyond Keiyasi! Atul with his team were visiting the village school to set up the solar light system (his French funded project) and I decided to make use of the opportunity! About 2 hours drive from Sigatoka in the interior of Viti levu is this magnificent group of people who are blessed with pure water and air surrounding them. However, there is no electricity which makes it a little difficult for children to study at night - they study as long as there is daylight!

We reached the village school after 2 hours of drive along the gravel road and finally wading through the river which was an experience on its own! It is amazing how people live in this part of the Fiji with everything natural. It was an eventful day with children singing, parents catching fresh fish and cooking from the same river and most importantly parents, teachers and children all gathering up to learn how to set up solar lights which of course was the highlight - the sparkle in children, teachers and parents eyes expressed it all. I can only imagine what goes on in Atul's mind each time he accomplishes one group of community! This project has indeed lit up a good number of lives in Fiji. And I am thankful to Atul for this humbling experience. Here are some photos that have captured the essence of the trip.

Look at the sparkle and curiosity of these young future scientists and leaders!

Gender is at the forefront - Ensuring females are trained too!

Learning the wiring - Who says girls are not interested in science and engineering!

Coming together for the training and learning and to ensure We have the light!
Aha there is light!
Fresh food and hospitality is part of the culture and we enjoyed a lovely meal with children serenading! The teacher explained since visitors rarely come by, they want to ensure children also learn to talk and present in front of strangers. Indeed the teachers are thinking ahead and preparing them to face the outside world, thank you for that.

Fresh catch from the river!

Fresh catch freshly cooked and served

Pre Easter Celebration with a lovely meal
Before I hit the journey back home photos, here is something that captured my attention, firstly, the bure! Children love to come here and play.

The bure - Children's play room

Secondly, the computers!!! While Atul and his team were busy with training and setting the solar light system, I visited the library where I found 6-7 very old computers (with option for floppy drive!) lying idle. I decided to set up one and give a quick demo of some things they could do to integrate it in their learning and teaching. The school has one small diesel generator which is used occasionally for teachers to use their laptops (two teachers have a laptop each and like to use it sometimes). I wish people would not donate such old computers, you never know when they would stop working! Until these computers do stop working, I hope teachers would use them in their lesson occasionally.
All set and lets start!

And here we go!
Finally it was time to say goodbyes and we left with memories of smiling faces and melodious singing echoing through....
Thats right, that's the river we will drive through!

We are going to wade through the river

Leaving the village school behind and moving forward with sweet memories!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A beautiful Sunday with a beautiful woman

Two sundays back i.e. 14th July, Atul and I spent a few hours with Laisa Vulakoro and her family in their lovely home in Wainadoi! Laisa is one of the most gorgeous woman I have met with an incredibly gorgeous voice...she is a singer, also known as the Queen of Vude! Her lovely home next to Wainadoi river, a bit of grassland, veggie patch, a cute little house for ducks raised up through a pond, walkway and a lovo pit...you have it all, what more would you want! Her hubby Brian showed us around while Laisa got the lunch organised! We treasure these friendships and experiences which is what will remain with us when we move from Fiji...Photos speak volumes and here is a glimpse of the brilliant sunday!
A walk through the beautiful property
Duck house in the pond
Beautifully designed coconut branches - very useful too!
Wainadoi river flowing by the edge of the property add to the picturesque view

Laisa loves to cook; cuts the fish and brushes it lightly with soya sauce and it turn out yummy...

And after

But wait the 'after' shot goes through a series of process...the art of lovo-making! Laisa has a great team of people around her...getting the lovo ground ready
Getting a bed of hot stones ready
Getting all the carbs and proteins ready (dalo, palusami, fish, chicken...)
The bed of hot stones is being organised for the roast
Team work at its best! Laisa leads her troop...
Food parcels being laid on hot stones carefully covered with a bamboo mesh
Everything must go!
Covering all of it with banana leaves...
and covering it further...
Finally all covered with soil - a perfect oven!

 And this stays for nearly 2 hours...the result is tasty lovo! As this was getting ready we took a walk around the property, talked, listened to beautiful singing by Pasifika voices - Laisa mentors these young talents, I have heard them sing in a number of occasion and they are an absolute delight!
A few shots that will remind me of the warmth and affection shared that glorious sunday afternoon...
The beautiful backyard!
Lovely home
Keep smiling Laisa..

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A week long cultural journey through the Walisean and French culture!

From Auckland to Wallis...what a contrast but if you closely look into the culture there are some striking similarities. Atul was invited by the French govt. to explore and discuss renewable energy project/ education for the country. I made use of this opportunity and took leave and accompanied Atul.

We landed in Mata-uta, Uvea (Wallis) on saturday afternoon and were welcomed in true Wallesean style, fresh tropical flower garlands!

Kini, Atul, Josepha, Joseph, Catherine (Left to right and front)

...and everything from here was just amazing five days...which will need more time than 'all in one post'!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Mixing flavours

Auckland was purely a business trip but as usual I had to mix flavours for various reasons...four keynote speakers at this conference were Khoa Do, Kevin Honeycutt, Jason Ohler and Glen Capelli - so even at a conference you would like to have a diverse range of speakers...mixing flavours! The theme for Conference dinner was Disco...and I was like...seriously, disco! Not that I do not enjoy disco or should I say everything from the disco era but it was not what I was expecting...I guess it was once again about mixing flavours. The conference was more for school teachers - an excellent initiative which also attracted a lot of techies and researchers and teacher educators...mix flavours!

Now I had to mix flavours too, so here we go...

And mark what you want to come back to...

Squeezed some time to catch up with old friends, they live in Devonport, so visited them and experienced yet another flavour of the city...

And I reach my friends' place in the quite suburb of Devonport, a nice cozy home with antique pieces. And how could I not capture this 19th century cooking range...

Behold, skewers were not grilled here though but here...

And the dessert had a mix of flavour too, here is creative Jessie's culinary masterpiece...

Coming back after visiting friends, the city view from the ferry was simply breathtaking!

Little time that I could squeeze out, went up to the Sky tower with the intention to be brave enough to walk on the glass which I did! Considering I am not comfortable with heights, it was quite a feat...mind over matter, is it! Skytower...ticked! So I not only walked over this glass but also made sure to capture the moment!!

New Zealanders are famous for their dairy. Inspite the cold, I had to have one icecream, it would far more fresh then what I would have outside NZ. Kiwis truly rule at this and they take it quite seriously too, check the signage too...

A hint of Maori culture is all I could pick. I managed to pick a 'tiki' from the shop in town, not sure how authentic it is though! I was impressed with the fact how every occasion starts with an opening/ prayer in Maori, quite a contrast with Australia...

Diwali is approaching and how could Auckland not be ready. Came across this square where they were getting ready to put up a Diwali show over the weekend, too bad I flew out that weekend!

It looked like everyone seemed to be in 'Diwali' spirit including the 'Hare Krishna disciples in Auckland! 'Hare Krishna' disciples started with just two and soon had a whole lot of others join them adding to the festive mood!

And more with Hare Krishna singing along the Queens Street in this video below...

The experience was 'a drop in the ocean' but enough to help me admire the country and its people! Will have to go back again though.