Nights on Voro Voro were sometimes quiet(ish) on the grog mat. Sometimes they were eventful. Many of my favorite memories from the island took place after dark. I felt like both ours and the Fijians’ personalities came out boldly when it was late, because we were all too tired to be anything but genuine with each other. Music and games lit up the evenings.
The game Uno was my main source of stress and excitement on the grog mat most nights. My biggest foe was Miri, a sassy (but deep down very friendly and tender) Fijian woman with a fiery passion for Uno. Some nights we would go head to head in Uno. One versus one. She beat me most of the time I hate to say. Other Fijians like Mosese, who were usually quiet as a mouse, got all riled up too, and it was maybe the funniest thing I saw on the island.
Being a kaivalani (white person) who can’t sit on my butt on the grog mat for hours at a time without old man back pains, I needed other adventures to go on at night. Luckily the Fijians were more than willing to take us on adventures. Like fruit bat hunting. We found short, thick sticks during the day and stashed them away. At night, as soon as we heard a fruit bat in the trees, we would automatically shoot up from our seat, sneak over to get our “weapons,” and walk quietly to where we heard the bat. It was primal and savage. We never ended up killing one, which was a disappointment, but maybe it’s good that we don’t have the mental scars that come from bludgeoning a bat to death with a stick.
Night fishing was one of my absolute favorite things I did on the island. When I went, it was Victoria, Ollie, and myself with the Fijians, including Misi, Apete, Wati, and Mosese. We baited up the daniva and dropped our lines about 60-80 feet under the surface to the bottom and waited for a pull. Victoria was the first to get a fish, and it was a barracuda! I didn’t catch a barracuda, but I caught four other fish that were really cool looking. No clue what they were, but I liked them. The best part about it was how much fun the Fijians made it. Their laughter and smiles made the 2 hours we spent on that boat a ton of fun. It wasn’t about the adventure on the island; it was about the spirit behind the adventure. The Fijians offered their enthusiasm and joy and that’s what made our time there so enjoyable.
For more information about the Fiji/New Zealand Study Abroad program, come by the Office of Global Education located in Spidle Hall room 232, or e-mail Kate Thornton.