Friday, October 18, 2013

Spices of Fiji–October 19, 2013

This week has been a busy one.  We stopped at Cost U Less and I found large containers of Bob’s Peppermint Candies!  I was so excited!  I probably should have bought two containers, but I only got one, and I am treasuring them, they taste like home to me.  Love the church candy.

For the last 2+ months they have been painting our house.  They started by doing the two downstairs apartments, then the upstairs big apartment.  It took them forever, and they took all the grids and screens off the windows so we had to keep our windows closed to keep out the mosquitoes. 

The last step was to paint the outside of the house, and they have the scariest looking scaffolding and ladders.  We came home the other day and found them finishing up the trim on the highest point of the house – from the top of the scaffold and then standing on a bucket on some very narrow boards.  Hope they get hazard pay – which I know they don’t.  It was scary just to watch them. 

Now all that is left is the fence around the property.  Painters at home would have had the whole thing knocked out in about three weeks, not three months.  Different world here!

We had the second session of our latest Planning For Success workshop on Saturday, we only had 3 to begin with, and one of them had to take care of sick children so we were down to 2.  But they were two good ones and had lots and lots of questions for us.

After the workshop we picked up Fokie and her daughter Seli and went out to visit the Spice Farms.  They normally aren’t open on Saturdays, is that weird or what – we find that lots of the business’ are closed on Saturday and open on Sunday.  But they would make special arrangements for us.  When we got there it had been raining and the ground was a bit muddy but off we went.

The place is owned by a man named Gaddy who created it to prove to the Fijians that they could raise spices and make money from them, but so far the Fijians have been very slow to catch the vision.

They grow cinnamon trees, nutmeg trees, vanilla beans and other things.  The vanilla has to be manually pollenated and dried carefully and it takes about 5 or 6 months to complete the process, but it’s a good cash crop.  The cinnamon trees take about  7 years to grow, they are then cut down and they will grow back from the roots, so a good cash crop and nutmeg grows on threes and is also a good cash crop.  Seems like a good thing to grow, but it’s taking a long time to convince anyone here.

We walked through the gardens an the fellow kept crushing leaves and bark and letting us smell.  So many wonderful smelling plants.  He even gave us a squash looking thing that contains the seeds that chocolate is made from.  Fun!  And he gave us some pepper, small round green things, and told us to chew them, and we like idiots popped them in our mouths.  Wowzer – they carried a punch.  They are dried and put into grinders and we love them on everything.  Another good crop to grow.

We drove to Pacific Harbor for pizza lunch and then headed back for home.  On the way we were passed by cars, taxis and buses all flying flags.  Seems there was a big Rugby game between the east and west for a trophy and they were all headed to Suva for the game.  They were flying huge flags and everyone was in a hurry.  Don’t know who won the game, will have to find out on Monday.

All in all it was a nice day off and we all had a great time, even Seli, although I think that spending a Saturday afternoon with her mom and two senior palongies was probably not what she would like to do every Saturday.

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