4 – 6 April 2013
We departed Mali Island soon after our last amazing crab lunch to make it to Kavewa Island with the incoming tide, so we could dock right in front of the village beach. When we reached Kavewa by mid afternoon, a welcome meke started as we reached the beach (which we presumptuously thought was performed in our honour) and we exclaimed “Oh how wonderful that they waited for us to arrive to have a special meke welcome!” Apparently and begrudgingly we realised, it was the Fijian Ministry of Information’s activity and initiative to document all current tradition of dance and chanting from all island villages. We were just extremely lucky to reach Kavewa as the meke started. The sun was beautifully golden and the island setting was stunning for an afternoon meke – just like what an idyllic South Pacific island village should be.
That very evening, we had our formal sevusevu with the chief Meli Silibaravi and we gave a little slideshow presentation of our past WWF Coral Triangle photo expedition to show him similar types of images we wanted to photograph in his area and nearby islands. After the formalities, Ratu Meli asked Yogi straight questions and to explain to him what climate change and rising sea levels were all about and why it was happening. He said how, through the years, the water level slowly encroach their island’s shoreline. And with each coming cyclone, the strength and power of the winds seem to be getting stronger and stronger. Kavewa village is vulnerable being so very exposed to the elements.
On our first evening, as the clear dark skies glittered with stars and the Milky Way, we went out to the shallows to capture the island village and the brilliant night skyline. The men were still going strong with their kava session calling upon Yogi to join them. But we had work to do and beauty to capture so Yogi cheerfully waved and said no thank you. The men were singing and strumming their guitars and music wrapped the air around us that evening. It was a classic South Pacific scene that filled all our senses.
For the next 2 days, we walked all around the island and mangroves like village paparazzis, being in people’s frontyard, backyard and gardens to see what they did in their everyday lives. Here’s a little photo gallery of the villagers of lovely Kavewa Island.