When I arrived at Semo, I was welcomed into the village with the traditional kava ceremony.  The drink is made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder, straining and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, kava is drunk from the half-shell of a coconut, passed around between a group of people gathered together for storytelling and socializing. Drinking kava for a few hours brings a numbing and relaxing effect to the drinker and it was not uncommon for us to spend hours sitting and drinking kava while we laughed together and told stories.  The Fijians love America and were filled with questions about my country.  But most of all they wanted me to experience the magic of the place they call home. They are not wealthy people and they have have few of the possessions which we hold so dear.  Yet, they seem to know know their home is paradise and they are eager to share the simple joys and wonders that truly make Fiji a land of magic and wonder.

Each day I found such new and wonderful blessings that I can hardly begin to relate the experiences in one entry.  But, most of all, it was the hospitality of the people which impressed me.  In no place in America would you find people who are so unconditionally generous and loving.  They have clothed me in the traditional Fijian sulu (or saron) and twice presented me with fresh leis handmade by my family in the village.  During my stay I have visited three islands, hiked through jungles, and scuba dived in some of the most pristine waters in the world.  I have seen beauty on land and sea that rivals anything I have ever seen, even in pictures and television.  My heart has been so filled with love and I have been so well taken care of that sometimes I wondered if I would ever leave. In fact, twice I have postponed my departure to New Zealand as even the natural beauty of that country seems to pale in comparison to the experience I am having here.

My time in Fiji has forced me to take a closer look at my life, at all those things that I had thought so important, and challenged me to re-evaluate my priorities.  There is so much to learn from the people of Fiji, the simplicity of their life, so stress-free and so genuine.  It is a blessing and a lesson to come to the other side of the world only to find that the American dream seems so trivial and frivolous, that we are living in a bubble outside of true reality, that we are only creating strife for ourselves and others, despite having more opportunity than anywhere in the world to better the world for those around us.  I wonder what would happen if we would give to others, the way the Fijian people have given to me.  And I’m not talking about your friends and family, but for the neighbor that lives just next door who you have never taken a moment to meet and greet.  We are a world divided by race, country, and religion when, in fact, on the inside we are all the same.  Now, I have seen that your life can be made better not just by money, power, or success, but by the happiness that comes from bringing joy to another.

My visit to Fiji has forced me to slow down and look around.  This is a world of incredible beauty and precious inhabitants and this far-away land has opened my eyes to a new reality.  I have been moved by the simple, yet seemingly profound acts of a people who should seem so foreign to me.  Though they lack all the riches and possessions which we hold so dear in America, they seem to possess all of the happiness which we have been content to leave behind.  It is evident on the smiles that grace their faces and the joy in their hearts that the people of Fiji possess a genuine happiness which we have yet to truly discover in our country.  And it comes not from fancy cars and fat wallets, but from a life of community and companionship, caring not only for yourself but for everyone around you.  I only hope that when I return, I can bring a bit of Fiji with me; for if each of us could experience the magic of this place, even for just one day, the world would be a much better place.

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  1. Bula Kyle Post, how i tracked you down from the article that i am reading today on Fiji Times about your work. Photography is my passion as well but circumstances and challenges are making it harder every moment to make it really happen for me in my life. But as i read that you have a blog i goggled to see if i can search your blog out, and i guess i did. By reading your experience above, makes me not only happy from within but also gives me a joy from my soul that we were able to inspire you and your life in such a wonderful manner. Many have visited the nation but failed perhaps to experience what u did. Iam happy to have visited your blog and must say its an honor to have visited. Your experience has surly inspired me. Wish you all the very best. Iam from Suva bty and hoping to have met you since you are here… Have a blessed life Bro.

    Kaushik R J