Ah my last blog thingy!

Well, I made it back to OZ eventually, and have been in Melbourne for the last week or so. Island life in Fiji got better as it went on. New people were coming and going all the time, but the same Fijian guys were always around our village building so by the end there was some good banter, lots of grog drunk and some tough rugby games played. I even learnt a little Fijian which was cool, its nice to be able to say thankyou to people in their own language.

About half way into my stint on the island a fellow called James Strawbridge rocked up on the island and set to work on the sustainability side of things. Soon enough we had herb and veg gardens springing up all over the place and the village really started to take shape! The gardens look amazing and had even started to produce the goods before I left. We also managed to finish the new family bure, and the opening on the bure coincided with chief handover. Ryan from Hawaii took over from Tom and soon set about his duties. As I was leaving, the kitchen extension was going up and Ryan was also teaching most people how to free dive and spear fish which was awesome. The guy could hold his breath for like 2 minutes under watch, it was really quite impressive. He also kindly bought with him quite a few snorkel masks and flippers, two or three spear guns also. I think the idea is that Ryan teaches some of the locals to spear fish so that they don’t have to buy their fish from town. Top chief!James, being the all rounder that he is, also got himself involved with the Mail rugby.

Besides the comedy factor of seeing little James line up against 6ft plus, hence Fijians he actually did really well and Mali won the game 6-3. He won his first line out, despite not being lifted and put in a few good tackles ? although at the cost of his hearing in his left ear. We all went into town to watch and I also managed to catch a Labasa Town FC (made that name up a bit) game. I left the game as they were pressing for an equaliser having gone 1-0 down to a screamer from the away team. Not the best standard of footy but very entertaining, anytime the ball got over the half way line the crowd went mad, many of them shouting shoot!

One evening on the island I hold very special, I wasn’t feeling great and went back to the bure from the fireplace fairly early. Not too soon after, TeVita came to the bure and introduced me to his wife and told me about his villages back in NadI that he was chief of. He also translated his Meke’s for me so I could understand them better and I don’t believe he’d done that with too many others so I felt honoured. TeVita at 30 is already a chief but still came to help out on the island which is very admirable. The nicest guy and he also foretold the story of tribe wanted. He had some kind of vision and had the land cleared before Ben had even been to see the island , crazy stuff. He also gave me the biggest (man) hug when I left.

I said goodbye to the island on wed 6th of June to the sound of the island farewell song ‘isa lei’ and flew from Labasa to Nadi, then Nadi to Brisbane and finally Brisbane to Melbourne. ON the flight from Labasa to NadI I was joined by the guy who started the whole thing – Ben. I quizzed Ben on how it all started which was cool, he explained about the book that he’s written and what the TV show should cover. He also told me how they beat off competition from survivor to land Vorovoro. Its all out in Sept so should make for interesting reading/viewing.

So, Melbourne ?. Bloody cold! Freezing my ass off here. Nice place though! Had a walk around town and seen most of the surf shops. Visited federation sq, been to an AFL game at the MCG (didn’t have too much of an idea about what was going on but still enjoyed it), have been on a tour of the great ocean road and also went down to St Kilda on the weekend to have a nose around the markets.

The night I arrived it was about 12pm and I was worried that upon getting into my room I might wake up those who were already in the room. To my surprise I found the room to be empty, they were out. Come 2am, three lads stumbled into the room and proceeded to argue about the night for an hour or so, argh! As it turns out it was not three huge, rugby playing aussies as I feared but three youngsters from tazy who were over for the weekend to watch the AFL armed with only their paper round money and a couple of fake ID’s. As it turns out, really cool lads, that night they sat me down and apologised and we then bought me a couple of drinks before continuing the argument from the previous evening. They’ve since moved on but again I’ve been lucky with room mates and a group from Ireland over on a college placement have moved in.

And that’s about it. Melbourne finished and that completes11 months on the road. I’m coming home and hopefully I shall see you all soon.

Thankyou for reading!

Neil.

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