posted December 8th
Our plane to Moala was one of those real small planes, only 8 seats, the type where there’s no partition between the pilot & the passengers & where you cannot stand up because once in, you’re completely wedged. As the pilot joked in his little pre-flight speech, ‘No moving around during the flight!’ –ha, ha: not much chance of that!
Actually the first attempt at take-off was a flop as some component on the aircraft didn’t work & so the plane had to be taken back to the terminal. Luckily another plane seemed to be on standby & so all luggage & passengers were moved to the new little plane. The rest of the flight went fine & we landed on Moala’s grass airfield about one hour later.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, Moala has a population of about 3000 but no cars, so no airport taxis or buses either. Instead we were met by members of the family we would be staying with & they took us by boat to the ‘capital’, Naroi.
Like most Fijian villages, Naroi is extremely rural: perhaps 60 or 80 houses, with a few small shops, one post office & a health post, all linked by footpaths with the sea on one side & mountains behind. In recent years, French aid helped get every house set up with solar power; however we found out that in the house where we would be staying, there was a problem with the battery not charging properly & so the only electricity available would be in the evenings from a generator.
Being the ‘capital’, Naroi has not only a kindergarten & primary school but also a secondary school so we started our book distributions in these institutions, transporting the books by wheelbarrow! (to be continued)