On one of our many Trips to the Yasawa Islands during the campaign, we had the opportunity to visit and stay at the Korovou Eco Tour Resort. We got on the boat from Denarau on the South Sea Cruise and took us 3 and a half hour to reach the resort. When it was our stop, we were picked up by a staff member on a long boat. (from what I’ve now called “water Taxi”)
Reaching the Island, we were so welcomed by the friendly staff members with songs and fresh Bu (coconut juice) accompanied by a natural straw made from a papaya tree. Wow! So eco-friendly, I guess they do live up to their name.
After our check-in and a heavy lunch, we decided to check out the beach and came across a Fijian Lady and a Men weaving hats and baskets out of Coconut Leaves. With so much interest, the team wanted to learn how to Weave hats and make baskets for them to use on the island. It was quite a struggle for some of us, but with the help of the local staffs, some of the crew manage to weave some hats and buskets. Well I did mine for like 10 minutes but it went south so Arieta (Fijian Lady) had to help me finish my hat. But also who needs hats and bags made out of textile materials that can decompose for years when you can use reliable materials from nature.
After all the photoshoots with our natural baskets and hat, one of the itaukei staff came and shared some knowledge about our coconut trees in Fiji and what they were normally used for. He was called the Gecko Man. (why you may ask? Will get into details later on.)As a local I was struck from some of the things he shared about the coconut tree that I never knew of. From Medicine to food, the coconut tree can really be a basic survival if you were stranded on an island. (Hopefully if their are coconut trees on that Island.) but I guess you cant get food from a coconut tree if you cant climb it. He showed us how the Boys from the island actually climb the coconut tree. Well damn, I must say from a 10-15m climb, he looked so effortless and manage to reach the top without any struggle and to make it even more Fancy, the dude went upside down (from the top, I do not know how he did that, some sort of Matrix maybe) and came down from that coconut tree like a Gecko within 3 seconds. So I guess that’s why they called him the Gecko Man. He asked if anyone wanted to try and climb the coconut tree and just like that I somehow disappeared to a corner after witnessing that experience. So No, Hosea did not Climb the coconut tree cause he’ll end up being a coconut dropping from the top within a second. So the Gecko man took us on an experience on how to husk, Cut open the coconut with our bare hands (which we didn’t do cause the coconut might break our hands instead) and scraping it to be used for food and other resources such as coconut oil.
Our Nama Fishing Experience.
Our next activity on the island, we were given a task to go on a boat trip to a village called Likuliku and help out some of the local village Ladies who were picking Nama (Sea Grapes) from the sea. As I came out of the water taxi (Long Boat), I noticed the bottom of the boat was just all green. Not realizing then what it was, the two local village ladies I got assigned to said that what I was looking at was all Nama (Sea Grapes). Well, never have I never seen so many sea grapes growing wild under the sea bed and flourishing with so much green. It was so overwhelming to see how the sea grapes was just growing wild infront of Likuliku Village and to find out from the ladies that Nama fishing was the only source of income for most of the village families, I was so honoured to help the ladies fill their bags in order to make an income and in the end, they blessed us and filled our baskets with so much Nama to take back to the resort. Witnessing their heart of giving, the village is truly blessed with this abundance of Nama.
A Traditional Fijian Feast.
It was getting dark real quick and who wouldn’t be hungry after all that activity. The resort staff whooped up a traditional course Meal for all the Guests. A Lovo (A Fijian name for a feast cooked in the earth) and sea food buffet were ready to be served on the night. Chicken, palusami (Spinach cooked in coconut milk),Fish,Lobster,kokoda (raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juice and adding coconut milk for flavour), Octopus and Nama were all served with food crops as it was expected in a traditional Fijian Feast.
To finally end the night off, a traditional kava ceremony and a night of entertainment and dance made the experience worth wild. Definitely I would say a true Fiji cultural experience.
Vinaka Fiji Volunteers
After all the touristic fun things we did in the resort, we were still on a mission to protecting our ocean. With the help of vinaka Fiji volunteers under Korovou Eco Tourism Resort, we had the chance to visit a nearby school called Gaunavou Primary school and had the opportunity to talk about our Beautiful Ocean with the kids and ways we can protect it.
Getting them to participate in doing the right thing by picking up rubbish and disposing them in a proper rubbish bin and also teaching them about single use plastics and how it is affecting our marine Life, we saw a big change in the environment with the students and encouraging them to understand that this solutions really have a big impact to help in saving our ocean. By starting with a small action, we’re training students to be more aware of their environmental impact and helping to lead people to make other sustainable choices(like switching to Eco-friendly products and bringing their own bags to the supermarket. ) Collectively, these actions make a big difference, but they begin by making sustainability feel actionable and attainable.
After our little clean-up campaign and story time, the team wrote an Ocean Song and had the chance to share it with the students of Gaunavou Primary school. Lyrics where based on the different types of fish in the ocean and everyone had a part to play. With the lyrics that goes something like this;
We care for our ocean yes we do
We want to protect it for me and you
All the little fishes and all the little sharks
The creatures in the ocean
The flying manta ray is large
The octopus swimming lighting up the sea
The hawksbill turtle they need protecting by you and me
The wonders of the ocean here in Viti
Protectors of paradise you and me.
Together with their creative drawings and Beautiful voices, the students of Gaunavou Primary school sang their hearts out in the middle of the ground. What a way to end the school trip! Truly honoured and blessed to share my passion with the kids.