This week’s blog has a definite focus on food because the camp’s re-supply was delayed by a day, meaning that all the volunteers and staff became a little obsessed with all the nice foods we weren’t able to make on Beqa.
Luckily for us, on Tuesday, we ended up visiting the Backpacker Beach and Christine, the owner of the nearby Lawaki Beach House, decided to make us some food for lunch; we must have looked like we hadn’t eaten for weeks. Needless to say that the chocolate cake and fresh fruit were a firm hit.
Sowanna, a member of the family, came to visit the camp on Wednesday afternoon to sell some of her homemade custard pies to the volunteers. Unless you’ve lived on an island without a local supermarket just round the corner from you it might seem difficult to imagine the importance of a simple homemade custard pie or a chocolate cake. It really is the little things that are important here on Beqa.
Sowanna offered to give some of the volunteers a proper Fijian cooking lesson so on Thursday five of us venture to the local village to visit Siwana and Mac’s house where we learnt to make fried roro, daruka curry, and cassava chips. As soon as the daruka and cassava at camp are ready we’ll start experimenting with our newly learnt recipes. We’re all very excited to be able to make some authentic Fijian dishes, even if they’re unlikely to live up to the standard of those made my Sowanna. I imagine it takes more than one cooking lesson to perfect a new dish.
The camp’s self appointed part-time chef, Jake, has also been treating us all to a pretty varied diet this past week with homemade garlic butter flat breads with chunky tomato sauce, bread rolls, lentil burgers, sunnyside up eggs, and egg fried rice. Eventually he’ll have to start teaching the newer volunteers and staff his recipes so that they can carry on cooking the favourites after he leaves in July.
Unfortunately, the weather has been a little disappointing on Beqa island this week. We’ve had sunny spells throughout the week but for the most part camp has been a bit on the muddy side of late. Luckily we managed to find some spare sunshine on Tuesday for our trip to Sandbar, a local beauty spot.
On Saturday, we had our first properly hot and dry day in almost two weeks, not a spot of rain. Of course it couldn’t last for long and by Sunday morning the rain had made its way back to camp. However, the weather hasn’t been putting the volunteers off from diving and everyone has been busy learning their fish, completing dive training, doing surveys, and even learning about how to conduct Benthic surveys.