I thought we were all just stopping for lunch at a small café, but off the highway and up a dirt hill lay a historical site: Tavuni Hill Fort.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a smiling Fijian woman. She let us know that she would be taking us to the fort to explain to us the history of the area.
Tavuni was settled by the Tongan Chief Maile Latamai around 1800 AD who left Tonga due to issues with the reigning family. After some traveling about, he stayed in the area with his followers after we was given land by the Narata tribe. Now, his direct decedents keep the land and preserve its history. Below are some photos of the area:
This is the top of an underground cooking chamber. At the bottom sits wood which would be ignited, palm tree leaves and then the marinated food of choice.
This is an enormous tree that apparently only grows in coastal areas, so it is rare to see this in the mountains.
The outline of rocks were the foundation of the homes of Chief Maile Latamai and his people.
This is the view from the top of the hill. The sides of the rivers are used to grow sugar cane, lettuce, yams, tomatoes and “anything else you can imagine.”
After our short and rainy tour, we were ready to eat. The kind lady prepared fruit platters of lady fingers, pineapple and papaya, to name a few. There was also bread and fillings such as egg salad, tuna and beef. The meal was tasty and it was nice to have it homemade like the Fijians would eat it.
The sweet lady sent us off with a warm hug. The bus ride throughout the whole day was great because I loved seeing the different villages dotted along the highway with churches, mosques and temples in between. Some areas have more money with shopping centers and well-kept homes, while other areas consisted of small shack-like homed made of tin. I have always loved the bright colors of island homes. We passed a handful of beachfront resorts as well that consisted of many huts with thatched roofs.
The long trip neared the end, and there was one huge thing left to do: meet our homestay families.