One of the most memorable parts of my trip to Fiji were the people. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with a full smile and a bula (hello in Fijian). Their hospitality felt nice and welcoming.
It’s important for the Fijians to keep the local culture even with the tourism industry taking over most of Fiji. In the two visits we took to the Fijian villages, they made sure everything from the ritual, drinks, food, and dances were all traditional. I liked that.
Kava is embedded into Fijian culture. Any visit to a village in Fiji will involve kava. The ceremony that comes during the introduction of kava is interesting and worth checking out even if you don’t end up drinking the kava.
After the introduction ceremony, there was dancing, clapping, food, and casual drinking of kava.
We danced a lot. Fijian music is easy to dance to and is incredibly upbeat. The men and women gather around in a circle in the corner with their guitars and sing loudly and happily. Some of the songs even involved the children to participate. Luckily you don’t need any sort of dancing skills because most of it seemed pretty random (at least to me). Many of us were exhausted and right when we thought the last song was coming, another one started and they jumped onto the dance floor forcing us to take hands and boogie.
The Sigatoka River Safari tour goes to a new village every 6-months so the affects of tourism isn’t too much on the villages. I’m usually spectacle about village visits if they are truly authentic and if I’m doing more harm than good by visiting but it seems at least for Sigatoka River Safari, it’s a well run operation. 10% of the profits made from each person that takes the tour goes directly to the village. One of the ladies from the village explained to us just how much it meant to her and the village that we were there to support them. Our guide was telling us that sometimes people get so moved and touched by the hospitality and kindness of the villagers that they continue their support after they’ve already left.
Did you visit a village in Fiji? How was your experience?
Thank you Tourism Fiji and Sigatoka River Safari for providing us a comped tour!