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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Suva, Fiji /Day 17

Aloha Everyone,

Free Shuttle bus was air conditioned and the driver was running the engine waiting for eager passengers to pile in.  One by one, passengers started to walk off including us because of the long wait. J.J. and I were then surrounded by eager tour operators. Our choice of taking a private taxi worked out well.

He introduced himself as Mr. Chand. I heard it as Mr. Chan, but he is 2nd generation from India, originally his father was brought to Fiji as an indentured servant. The owner paid his father pittance for his labor that he never was able to raise sufficient money to pay for his freedom.

He drove on The Embassy Road pointing out different embassies as well as the Fiji Presidential Palace. Just by sheer size and its prominence, you can tell the importance Australia plays in Fiji.

Up to the top of a higher hill, Mr. Chand pointed out to the valley where dozens people had perished when the government opened the flood gate above. He was candid with us about how the government are doing not give any compensation for lives lost due to the government’s actions.

Mr. Chand has never been out of Fiji and he has no prospect of leaving. “My wife, a Chinese Fijian left to take care of her Mother in the United States. She doesn’t want to come back to Fiji so she divorced me." Philosophical man, he told us, “I am not rich but I am not poor. I have a good life and happy taking care of my family including 6 children and 2 grandkids."

Aloha -- Cathi