Saturday, July 8, 2017

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Chiefs, Teachers and Koroinasolo Justice

We stayed a few days near Koroinasolo Village. We took a walk to the primary school which has four teachers and 52 students Grades 1-8 (they combine 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, and 7th and 8th.) We met the head teacher, Mr. Tom and agreed to come back the next morning to take "class photos" at 10:30. The next day came – but the head teacher and another teacher weren't there as they made a trip into Labasa (the largest town in the area – about a two hour drive away). So we agreed to come back the next morning.

Michael decided to take a walk that afternoon up the road. He met road workers and learned about the area. Upon his return to the dinghy, he found that our anchor and chain had been taken and someone tied the dinghy to a nearby float. Not a good thing! He went back to the town and looking for Milly, whom we had met earlier in the day (and taken a picture of her baby which we had printed and given her). Milly spoke very good english, so Michael asked her the proper etiquette of getting to see the village chief and explained why. She told him he really needed the "toronga ni koro" to introduce him to the chief – but Philip was also gone to Labasa. Michael told her he would be back first thing in the morning to see Philip and the chief. She asked if he wanted to see the police that were in town, but Michael declined at this point.

Thursday morning came and Michael was well prepped on how he was going to deal with the chief regarding the missing anchor and chain. He dressed in his sulu and made his way to the village. He found Philip, who happened to be in a meeting with the chief and several elders. He explained exactly what had transpired and how disappointed he was that a village that depended on the sea for its livelihood would steal, boat equipment from another boater. He also told them he would prefer to deal with it locally through the chief first rather than dealing with the police – which got him lots of positive nods and approvals. He was invited to sit in a place of honor next to the chief and one of the members at the meeting left. The chief and elders continued their meeting for a short time in Fijian, and after a while, the man who had left returned, and the chief turned to Michael and told him his anchor and chain were back in his dinghy.

Sure enough, next to the dinghy there was our anchor and chain. With this happy outcome, we decided to continue with the planned picture taking at the school. When we arrived at the school, everyone already knew about the stolen anchor and chain. In fact, the entire village knew!

We took class pictures and returned to the boat to print them. As we left town, we saw Milly again and thanked her for her help and she was pleased that we got the anchor back and was so sorry something like that had happened in her village. We had arranged for the four teachers and spouses to come to the boat that afternoon at 3:30 to see the boat (none had ever been aboard a "yacht") and pick up the photos. At 3:15 Michael went ashore to pick them up. He waited and waited and finally at 4:15 returned to the boat. At 4:30 they showed up – I guess that's Fijian time! We had a great visit with them and they took more pictures aboard – posing selfies in every part of the boat!

After a few hours they departed with one of the teachers taking off her skirt as she was leaving to give to Barbara. (She did have shorts on underneath!). They were a hoot.

Friday morning was calmer than the previous week and it was time to move on so we went around "Monkey Face" Mountain and sailed to our next destination. At the next stop we learn that the Fijian Village grapevine is very effective.
At 7/7/2017 7:15 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°39.37'S 178°35.73'E

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