Richness from Poverty

10a Wailoku classroomMelanesians, are people who came from the Solomon Islands to live in Fiji. Well actually, the young men were kidnapped by the white people and smuggled to Fiji to work here as slaves in their sugar plantations. When slavery was finally abolished they have struggled to overcome barriers of no land ownership, no education, no employment. For two days the Families Mission team are visiting primarily these Fijian-Melanesian squatter and slum villages.
Yesterday this ‘Village in the Valley’ hosted the team and they were treated like royalty. The children spent the afternoon in classrooms with the students,

International sports at its best!

International sports at its best!

then participated in a school sports programme, went for tours of the five villages that make up this community, were invited into families homes and some were even able to pray with the elderly there, and then in the evening were the invited guests to a truly Fijian ceremony of kava!, speeches, music, dance, a lavish dinner, and gifts beyond compare. Children from every class here having prepared parcels of treasures for each child in the team.
Village Chief, Rev Jone, welcoming the NZCMS Families Mission and their 'chiefs' to the ceremony

Village Chief, Rev Jone, welcoming the NZCMS Families Mission and their ‘chiefs’ to the ceremony

A humbling and honouring experience, their generosity in giving from their absolute scarcity. And equally impressive is: their school recently was acclaimed as a top education centre in Fiji, the village U14 rugby team winning the Suva rugby competition, a dream to secure computers for the school, students keen to learn and seeking education scholarships, and wanting to foster and nurture the partnership that is developing between them and these Mission teams, with wise guidance from the Anglican Church of Polynesia. A partnership developing as meaningful and heart-felt for everyone.
Hundreds followed the team as they walked back down the track in the dark to meet their bus. Unravelling everyone from their good-byes took time, and we left leaving a part of our hearts with these welcoming people in this beautiful Village.
The goodbyes just kept on going and going and going!!!

The goodbyes just kept on going and going and going!!!

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