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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:09 AM

Visiting Fiji: Finding the pacific island's religious past, amazing seafood and dark secrets

We head to a remote village on the mainland of Fiji, where an unlikely spiritual awakening and bucketloads of brew await

7th Jan 2013 9:38am | By Alex Harmon

Itís a number of years since Iíve stepped inside a church for a Sunday service. Iím wearing some rosary beads that were bought by a friend Ė an ironic gift to an atheist. Despite the heat, we are told to cover up out of respect for the locals. Noticing that Iím carelessly under-dressed, my tour guide rummages through the bus and finds me a sarong and an oversized T-shirt with ĎFijií written on the front. Iím now fit to be seen, even if I do appear to have been styled by a church charity.

Inside the House of God, in the remote Navari village amidst the Nausori Highlands, about an hourís bus ride from the Fijian capital of Suva, itís not our clothing that attracts stares. Rather, itís the 12 of us, mostly faithless Westerners, crashing the small communityís Sunday church service that solicits constant attention.%u202FThe children canít concentrate on the service, their eyes transfixed on the two rows of foreigners cooling themselves with woven raffia fans.

They whisper to each other, grin and giggle when we smile back. Intermittently, the all-female church choir, decked out in white dresses, breaks into song and the room fills with beautiful music. Putting my own reservations about organised religion aside, I am overcome with a heart-warming feeling, coupled with what I suppose must be the last remnants of Catholic guilt.

The people in this village, who have no access to electricity, are happier, more grounded and more enlightened than most city slickers I know.

http://www.tntmagazine.com/travel/big-trip/holiday-visiting-fiji-finding-the-pacific-islands-religious-past-amazing-seafood-and-dark-secrets

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:30 AM

1. Sounds really lovely.

My daughter went over the holidays. Was almost cancelled due to a recent typhoon, but did make it.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:33 AM

2. That must have been a great trip.

I, on the other hand, am going to Chester County, Pennsylvania, for a parole violation hearing next week.



Maybe I'll run into Anthony Bourdain.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:02 PM

5. If you see him, run the other way. He's an ass

OTOH, you will have the opportunity to get a great cheese steak, which is one of the world's delicacies, imo.

I would also strongly recommend a stop at Northlandz in Flemington, NJ. Take my word for it, you won't regret it.

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2158

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 05:16 PM

10. Thanks for the tip.

My son will be with me checking out West Chester State University while I'm in court. He's always eating.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:45 AM

3. I have been to Fiji many times and I have tons of friends there. The religious should leave those

people alone! They have their own beliefs and religion is forced on them. They're sweet and gentle people and to watch a wedding or other ceremonies is a joke! On many of the islands there they have one white raggedy dress they use for church weddings and after they go through a ridiculous christian service they change their clothing and get married by their chiefs!

Religion is a fraud perpetrated on the innocent!

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Response to Welibs (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:03 PM

6. Gee, it seems the author had a totally different experience than you.

Such is life (and sometimes people just see what confirms their already set ideas about something).

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Response to cbayer (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:35 PM

7. I love Fiji and have many friends there! What do religious people know they are just there to

foist their religion on others! They make a mockery of these folks and have little respect or regard for their beliefs! When the christians/catholics turn their backs the Fijians practice their own beliefs. It's ridiculous to do this to people, they should stay the hell out and mind their own damned business!

They do the same thing to innocents in Africa. I've seen it many times and I've seen people dying of HIV because the catholic church tells them not to use condoms. CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS AND ON THEIR OWN WHEN THEY'RE BABIES. I wonder how many of them are molested by the church of EVIL!

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Response to Welibs (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:45 PM

9. I am not doubting your experience, but I do suggest that there are a variety of POV's on this

and that yours is just one.

I went to eastern africa last year and was surprised at how heavily christian it was. Nothing was being foisted on anyone. For whatever complex reasons, the people had adopted it as their own. There were also some very interesting mixtures of christianity with more traditional, native religious practices, much as there was among african americans in the south during slavery.

While there is no doubt that some religious movements have caused harm and promoted bad information about condoms (a position, by the way, that was reversed by the vatican), I also saw multiple organizations wholly supported by church organizations. One was a group that produced their own fabrics and products specifically for women with aids who had been thrown out of their local communities. Another was an orphanage for abandoned babies. Another was a sports organization for children living in the worst slums imaginable.

Your position is extreme and very narrow.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:02 PM

4. When we were in Fiji we wanted to attend a rugby game just before we departed.

But the field was a mile from our open car with all our stuff.

"Go ahead," said our village friend. "No one will steal anything. You have nothing they can use, and they are all Methodists".

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:39 PM

8. The cops don't even carry guns there and the people are so sweet! They've had 19 or 20 bloodless

coups with no guns or bloodshed. They're looking for 1 guy always and that's all they're interested in. I've been there during a coup and the cops do what they always do, help little old ladies across the street.

One of the most beautiful places on earth!

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