Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cyclone Ian and Fiji

During our travels back to Tonga, a catastrophic category 5 cyclone hit Tonga. This was/is the worst cyclone to ever hit Tonga, and while there was only one fatality, on the Ha'apai Island group there is around 80-90% destruction. All of the Tonga Peace Corps Volunteers are safe -though two lost their homes and everything in it, and one volunteer experienced it, taking shelter in a Mormon church. (Thank goodness for the Mormons! Their churches saved so many lives!)

We landed in Fiji about 3 hours before the storm was supposed to hit Tonga, so our flight was cancelled. Our PC country director had family living nearby the airport - so they picked us up, fed us breakfast, and got us settled in a nice hotel in Nadi. We (Mark and I and a fellow PCV named Joey) spent 4 days in Nadi. We were eager to get back to Tonga to hear from all of our PC and Tongan friends, but it was also nice to explore a little of Fiji. We had lots of Indian food, drank kava at weird and questionable places, hiked the famous "Sleeping Giant", tried to look cool swimming in a waterfall, saw the famous Hindu temple, watched every Rocky movie ever made, went zip lining dozens of times, tried to learn Fijian, discussed the differences in Tonga and Fiji, and met some really...eclectic people. All in all-we successfully did Nadi, Fiji in four days, with no pre-made plans, and almost no money. Job well done!

Please keep Tonga-specifically the Ha'apai island group in your prayers. Everything we've heard is that it's bad and is going to get worse.

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