Monday, October 5, 2015

Vanua Levu

After we completed our work on the island of Taveuni, we moved over to Vana Levu.

map image from http://joetourist.ca/archive/Fiji/VanuaLevu.htm 

Vanua Levu is the second largest island in the Fiji group.  It is easily accessed by ferry (about a two hour ride from Taveuni, or an overnight ferry from Suva) or plane.   We had flown to Taveuni first so we took the ferry over from there.

The scenery of sea and sky and then the lovely beaches and lush countryside when we reached Vanua Levu were truly breath taking.


As we had in Taveuni,  on this island we again focused on taking our message out to the small rural villages that were at considerable distance away from any Family History Center.  We went several places where there was no electricity at all, much less computers or internet.  We focused on teaching people the importance of recording their family stories in the MyFamily books.  These could then be entered into the online program at a later date.

While we enjoyed all the time we were in on the island, I personally fell in love with the community of Savusavu.   I could easily live there, at least a part of each year,  if I could somehow convince my family to join us there.
From Wikipedia:
Savusavu was originally established as a trading center for sandalwoodbeche-de-mer and copra, and is the site of a major copra mill. Tourism is growing in importance, owing to its SCUBA diving and yachting facilities.
Savusavu hosts a number of resorts, some of which have interesting specialities. Namale Resort hosts regular seminars in the Tony Robbins Life Mastery programme; the Jean Michel Cousteau Resort is one of the few 5 star resorts to offer a children’s camp; Daku Resort runs a programme of learning holidays in art, yoga, singing snorkeling and birdwatching throughout the year. The birdwatching tour visits the rare silktail which is only found in the island of Vanua Levu, in a habitat about an hour and a half from Savusavu. The silktail is one of the species listed by Birdlife International as being under threat.
Geothermal energy is a resource waiting to be tapped. A geological survey has found that Savusavu's hot springs could generate enough electricity to power the entire island of Vanua Levu.
Most land in Fiji is owned by native land owners – the mataqali (extended family unit). Savusavu and surrounding areas has a large amount of freehold land, much of it once used as coconut plantations. Increasingly this land has been subdivided and sold, often to expats seeking a retirement or holiday home. As a result, Savusavu is now home to a small but significant community of Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Europeans which has helped fuel its economic development.

Savusavu town hall

street vendor

We did not visit the geothermal hot springs, but just walking along the beach we saw plenty of hot spots steaming and had to be a little careful as some of the puddles were bubbling.

The harbor at Savusavu is home to many yachts and large sailboats that come in from all over the world, giving the local restaurants and watering holes  an interesting mix of people

The people of Savusavu are incredibly friendly.   The views are drop dead gorgeous.   The pace of life is quite laid back and casual.   However, there is also an air of optimism and possibility from the mix of expats who have chosen to reinvent their lives there.

One of the things that made our time there extra special was the friendship I established with a very special lady, Fipe Rebuka.   She serves as the Relief Society President in the Savusavu Branch.   After church the Senikuriciris and Larry and I spent some time visiting with her in her home and had a wonderful time.  I also got to celebrate my 58th birthday in Savusavu which was fun.
Fipe Rabuka

Fipe, Bro & Sis Senikuriciri and Elder Bennett enjoying fresh bannana milk

Restaurant where Bro. Senikuriciri and I celebrated our joint birthdays
(which are only one day apart)

Me on the day I turned 58 in one of the most beautiful places on earth

This is a very special place I definitely hope to go back to one day.

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