Entry Date: 23.06.2019, at 16:00:00 hrs (local)

Vuda Marina - Lautoka

Buakonikai

Image

PRID: 11764
LegID: 318
LegNo: 66
Latitude: S016°31.58'
Longitude: W179°59.39'
Day#: 894
Log (Day): 16 nm
Log (Leg): 515 nm
Log (Total): 48942 nm
Around noon we reach our destination. Together with SY Dazzler we anchor in the Katherine Bay in the Suth of Rabi Island. We know that a small village, named Buakonokai, is located on the shore. But from our vessel only the big white church can be seen. A short time later we are already ashore to explore the place.

Along the unpaved village road, which is also the islands ring road, breadfruit-, papaya-, mango-, and banana trees grow around almost every house. Chicken run freely around and pigs are either in little cages or tied to some trees. The inhabitants wave friendly at us and smilingly return our greeting ”Mauri”, the Kiribati word for ”hello”.

The widely visible church had made us curious. A narrow path leads up uphill to the church. At the top we hear and see a pastor banging a big wooden drum next to the church. We start a conversation with him and he tells us that in Fiji people are not called to worship with church bells, but with these same drums.

There is still some time left until tthe service starts and he offers to show us the church. This huge Methodist church was built in the early 1950s with funds from the original relocation fund of the British mining company. Obviously, someone here had very big plans with this place, because the church is absolutely oversized compared to the small village at the foot of the hill.

The church consists of two levels. The lower level obviously serves as a kind of multi-purpose hall, where today several women are sitting on woven mats and offering home cooked food.

The pastor then leads us to the upper level, from where we have a breathtaking view over the bay. Here is the entrance to the actual sanctuary. The oversized church is manly empty and one could almost overlook the few wooden benches in front of the altar.
Wherever we go, we are accompanied by a large crowd of schoolchildren in festive clothing. These have a great fun to pose in front of our cameras and then always want to see the pictures in the display of the camera. We are happy to do this favor to them.
Slowly we walk back to our dinghy, which we left behind at the beach and keep wondering why the little village got such a huge church.