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My First Ever Homestay

“If money wasn’t a factor and you could visit any country in the world, where would you choose to visit?” I asked my homestay host Lani.

“I can’t imagine loving anywhere as much as I love my home – Fiji”. She replied.

Lani is a wonderful woman who lives in Nacula Village on Nacula Island (aka. paradise) in Fiji. Each week she opens up her home to travellers to help them experience the ‘real Fiji’ and learn about the Fijian culture whilst, also contributing to the village’s community.

I was lucky enough to stay with Lani for two nights earlier this week.

When I first arrived at Nacula Village, Lani was standing on the beach with a big old smile welcoming me to her home. She explained that I needed to put on a sarong (thank the Lord I had one in my bag) as it is not allowed for women to wear trousers in the village. So, I quickly wrapped my sarong around my waist and followed her to her house.

Postcards Home - Week 38 - Homestay in Nacula, Fiji - My Culture Craving

I was chuffed to see how authentic the village was.

We passed locals going about their day-to-day lives laughing and chatting with Lani as we went past (everyone is family in a Fijian village), chickens roaming the grounds with their adorable chicks, washing swaying in the breeze and to top it off – a stunning mountainous green backdrop with no tourists in sight. Woopdedidoodaa.

My First Ever Homestay - Village - My Culture Craving

When we arrived at Lani’s home I was shocked at how humongous it was. There was a giant living room (perfect for her hosting of kava ceremonies), a big kitchen/diner and four giant bedrooms with en suites.

My First Ever Homestay - Living Room - My Culture Craving

My First Ever Homestay - Kitchen - My Culture Craving

My First Ever Homestay - Bedroom - My Culture Craving

She swiftly showed me around, explained that she lives with her Auntie and her Auntie’s daughter (her Dad was away on the main island) and asked me what I would like to do during my stay. We chatted away about my plans, the village and a couple of house rules before we sat down for a hearty lunch (three meals a day plus afternoon tea is included in the price).

After lunch we headed towards the village’s community centre so I could present my gift of kava to the headman of the village.

Kava is a plant, which is ground down into powder, mixed with water and drunk at social gatherings in Fiji. It’s easily comparable to wine in that, if you’re popping over to your friend’s house for a glass of vino, you’re likely to bring a bottle – Fijian’s bring kava.

Once my kava had been accepted by the chief’s right-hand-man, I was officially welcomed into the village and allowed to wander around as if it were my home.

Luckily for me, the group of men decided to mix up a batch of the kava whilst I was there so, I was able to take part in my first ever kava ceremony.

The men played guitar and sung Fijian classics as they passed around the kava. It wasn’t the nicest thing I’d ever drunk and looked very similar to muddy water. However, the atmosphere and sentiment were more than worth the pungent taste of ‘low tides’ I drank.

We then headed towards the village’s school where the children performed some rhymes and dances for us.

My First Ever Homestay - School in the Village - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 38 - School at Nacula Village, Fiji - My Culture Craving

The next day it was time to explore what Fiji’s underworld had to offer. We wandered 10 minutes down the beach to another sandy stretch owned by the next door village.

The sand was reflective silky soft white and the water was a mirage of turquoise, blue and translucent – I’ve never seen water so colourful. I delved in and snorkelled the delicate reefs admiring colourful fish and starfish.

Postcards Home - Week 38 - Snorkelling in Fiji - My Culture Craving

My First Ever Homestay - Starfish - My Culture Craving

That night Lani invited her friends over for a tipple of kava. We sat, laughed and drunk kava until it was time for bed.

I had the most amazing time at Lani’s homestay. It was the perfect start to my time in Fiji and really taught me about the Fijian culture and customs for the rest of my time island hopping.

We live in a world where we’re never satisfied with what we already have.

Lani and the rest of her village gather and drinks rain water, use solar-powered/generator electricity and have to have most of their supplies shipped in from the main island. Yet, they’re so satisfied with life they wouldn’t want it any other way.

We should all be more like Lani.

If you would like to stay at Lani’s homestay, head on over here to book.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Katie @ the tea break project

    That sounds like such a great experience. I’ve never done a homestay, though I think it would be an amazing way to experience a place and its culture first-hand. But I did stay in a lot of independent family-run places on Fiji’s Yasawa Islands. Yes, the islands can be quite backpacker-crammed, but by staying at the smaller resorts in shoulder season, we often found there were only 4-5 of us in the whole place, and we could chat to the family a bit more. And yes, drink Kava. You’re right, not the tastiest drink – I thought it tasted like the stuff you lick to seal brown envelopes!

    September 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm
    • Reply Lydia

      Hi Katie! Thanks for the comment . I totally agree. The smaller resorts are great for chatting with the families that lives there and getting to know other travellers. I prefer them to the bigger, more luxury resorts hahha. Ahh I’ve been trying to figure out what I thought Kava tasted like, maybe that’s it !

      September 24, 2016 at 6:37 am

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