The first day of our expedition in Fiji was spent at the island of Beqa. In the morning, we visited a small village and were expertly guided by some of the locals. It was fascinating to experience life in a small village and view the local crafts for sale, including tapa cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and various intrinsic wood carvings.

In the afternoon, we returned to Lawaki Beach House, a small resort. We were welcomed with the amazing singing of a colorful community choir. This was followed by a beautiful performance by members of neighboring villages on the grassy area in front of the resort. First, women performed a series of dances accompanied by music and singing. Then, six men came out and gave a spectacular performance depicting their origin in the islands and their defense of them. This was certainly a very dynamic performance that included a mock battle. After the men performed, everyone joined in the singing and dancing and had a lot of fun. It was great to see guests, staff, villagers, and children all join hands and dance in a conga line!

After a short break, we moved to a different part of the shaded lawn to wait for the firewalkers. Tropical rain came and went as a group of men came out to remove huge logs from a fire that had been burning all day. They wedged the burning logs out with long pokers, revealing the hot rocks below and eventually arranging them to be walked upon. Then the real action began as one after another, the men walked slowly across the rocks, yelling ‘Bula’ every time. It was a mesmerizing performance. After each man walked across, the crowd erupted in applause.