This morning we were able to make contact with two pastors on Kioa Island to confirm that we could come over and distribute the fishing gear I brought to Fiji. They would pick us up in a skiff and take us on a 30 minute boat ride to the island. The rain stopped during the night and so the ocean would be calm. It was a wonderful trip.
There are 72 families with a total of 400 people living on this small island just off Vanua Levu Island where I’ve been staying. Every one of them depends upon the ocean for their livelihood. At least a dozen small boats with outboard motors were in the water near the beach as we landed. On shore were several handmade outrigger canoes.
Typhoon Winston hit the back side of Kioa particularly hard, with massive tidal swells. Virtually all crops were destroyed, though most animals were spared. They made their way into the forests above the village and so did not drown. Since there are no root crops, people are forced to buy rice, if they can afford it. And of course they fish.
Yesterday I was in a marina shop on Vanua Levu and had a chance to look at the lures for sale there. The prices were outrageous and the quality was not the best either. So what we brought was a real treasure. I looked into a couple of tackle boxes some of the men had on their boats. All their lures were homemade. They work, but not as well as the pricey manufactured lures.
You should have seen the eyes of these professional fishermen light up when they saw the excellent selection of lures I had arrayed on a table in the church. They were like kids in a candy shop as they picked up lures and discussed how well these lures would work for them. After they had taken everything I had, they were profuse in their thanks.
One fisherman is on the ruling council of Kioa. He said it was hard to explain how important this contribution was to the well-being of the families on the island, especially in light of recent losses.
Aisake and I are spending the night on the island and leaving in the morning. We had a lovely fish dinner. Fresh caught wahloo among other items.
Thanks again for all your prayers and support.