Friday, September 20, 2013

Welcome to Momi

We sailed from Likuri Harbour with a blustery tail wind and a strong full moon ebb tide carrying us out of the pass. Lord - what a swell as we cleared the entrance - long heaving hills of water. With a partial jib, we rolled our way down the coast for a dozen miles, turning abruptly to enter the Nabula Pass on a roaring beam reach. Our destination of Momi Bay was as tranquil as a pond in comparison and we were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful our surroundings were after we dropped the hook in about 20 feet.

The bullocks are used for transporting sugar cane on sleds. I guess they don't mind a passenger either.

 Rani was desperate to get off the boat and go for a walk, so we put the dinghy in the water and she rowed us into a headwind a half mile to the nearest beach. We tied the dinghy under a tamarind tree and Rani showed me what a delightful, if tart, snack fresh tamarind pods make. Immediately behind the beach a rough road runs toward the village of Momi in one direction and off into sugar cane plantations in the other. A narrow gauge railway that carries the cane from the local Indian small-holdings to the mill in Lautoka also runs alongside this road.

Subas Chand brings his bullocks back to the house from the well.

The scenery here is dry and hilly, reminding us a little of Mexico or even Catalina Island in California
We had not gone far when we were met by a man sitting on a wooden sled pulled by two oxen. A little later we met his cousin driving another team of oxen to a well where he watered them. Rani tried out her Hindi with him and was able to have a good chat in a mix of Hindi and English. Subas Chand invited us to his house for tea where we met his wife, Fulwati (which means 'flower of light'). We talked about their lives on their farm while Fulwati prepared a sweet Indian chai tea.

Subas Chand, Rani, and Fulwati
This couple has lived here all their lives, farming the leased land that Subas's father farmed before him. They have 9 acres, on which they grow just about all their food - beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, herbs and spices, and many varieties of fruit trees. They also have a few acres under sugar cane. Their children are grown and live in the city and the two of them farm all this land with their two bullocks to haul the cane to the railway and to plow the soil. They were most generous to us, giving Rani a bag of mangoes and later another of oranges and inviting us to have lunch with them tomorrow. Subas will be harvesting sugar cane in the morning and I asked if I could help him. I will meet him tomorrow at 7:30 for instruction on how to cut cane. Wish me luck!  

Bullocks are used by all the farmers here. There were half a dozen in this lower field.

This is the cane field I will do my best to help out in tomorrow

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