Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Never In a Million Years...
We had the pleasure of sitting in on the going away party for the Fijian Soldiers who manned the UN post here in the IZ. Also leaving is the the Fijian contingent of the private security company that guarded our compound.
There's so much to say about the Fijians that we worked with. They were the nicest, hardest working, most thorough, friendly, and pleasant people around here. They kept us safe, but they also kept us sane.
Last night we listened to them sing and dance, and we shared freshly made Kava out of coconut bowls. The Fijians exemplified that warm South Pacific Islander attitude of working hard and enjoying life. For one night all of us felt like we were out of Baghdad and in the Islands. I couldn't get the smile off my face if I tried. Last night was the best I've had since being here.
'Bola Bola'! They greeted us every day with a warm smile and a loud 'Bola', which stands for hello, goodbye, love, peace, etc.... You name it, it means it.
Turns out the Fijians are professional UN peacekeepers and observers. They all around Africa and the Middle East, providing troops for various UN missions. These men and women have served in some of the most volatile places on earth, and have a vast amount of experience because of it.
Making Fiji Kava, which is as close to alcohol as we will ever get out here. It also explains why the Fijians were always smiling. This stuff was great. Had a bitter taste, and left your tongue and throat numb, but it did wonders for us.
We were treated to several traditional dances and songs, as well as Fijian techno music.
Couldn't pass up the Pacific Islander torches.
We're all set on traveling to Fiji some day in the future. I can't wait for my family to experience the Islander hospitality we came to know out here. Don't get me wrong, the Fijians were kick ass troops and security guards. I wouldn't dare get on their bad side. They're tough, but still the nicest people I've ever worked with.
There was a military song they sang to us about following the British and US into battle whenever called upon. It ended with something about the Red White and Blue, which are their flag colors as well. Wish I had the lyrics. You'd see how proud the Fijians are about their military service and history, fighting along side us.
Reading over their recent history, the Fijians are having a lot of political turmoil back at home. You couldn't tell by working with them that their Government was unstable, and honestly, it doesn't change our perception them. I know I'd serve along side of them without hesitation.
After the party we headed back home through the IZ. Of course we all had the munchies afterwards because of the Kava, but all of us agreed we were lucky to have worked with these guys and gals.
They will be missed.
posted by El Capitan at 8:15 AM
That looks like a really neat experience--thanks for sharing the photos!12:51 PM
I think it's great when folks share their cultures. I guess it gives everyone involved a brief "break" from the daily grind.2:25 PM
KEEP IT UP!!
SHOW THEM TO THEM THE TRUE BULA FIJI!!