meke ni yaqona

This was part of a ceremony to officially honor the opening of the Ra provincial meeting house- a building that took many years to fundraise and build. cheif guest of the day was then Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase (who was ousted in Fiji's 4th coup later that same year). In any case, native Fijians love a good celebration and they take their local protocal very seriously, especially with such an important guest. These local men are dressed in traditional leaf skirts and slathered in coconut oil. They're carrying the tanoa- the kava bowl- to the location where they will go through the ritual preparation and presentation of yaqona- the earthy ceremonial drink made from the root of a pepper plant and commonly known as kava.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.