Subsistance

The basic unit of Fijian life is the village. Populations range from 50 to several hundred per village, also called Koro. Houses are built from a variety of materials, from the thatched bure to the modern stone built house. They are almost always of rectangular shape, and have sheet iron as roofing material. The floor is the space where most of the daily life takes place, rarely will one find furniture or other conveniences. Most floors are covered with woven mats.

Rural subsistence depends much on the produce from the gardens, and from fish caught in the sea. Some cash is earned by selling cash crops such as coconut and kava.

Koro Island villagers on the walk home from their farms

Koro Island villagers on the walk home from their farms

This money is used to pay for school fees, the ferry or to buy cooking utensils, lamps or other small items. A few people in the village own boats with engines and sometimes the chief owns a car. This is very different in Suva and other big cities, where there is no room to farm and Fijians living here are dependent on the few jobs that the economy offers. Many city dwellers experience hardship.

Village life evolves around work and ritual. Sharing and caring are essential to the survival of the whole. Cassva is the main staple; taro, yam and breadfruit are less common, and depend on the season. The diet is supplemented by fruit, such as coconut, banana, papayas and mango. Coconut is pervasive in the food preparation, and make most foods very tasty. Rugby is a big part of daily life in the village, as much pride is taken by being the best team on the island, and to compete in inter-island tournaments such as the Rugby Sevens which is a huge annual event, sponsored by Fiji Real Estate and TDC. In 2012 more than 30 teams played on Koro Island, making the event a huge success. Women are avid supporters at each game and at practice, which during the season is an almost daily thing.They also have the Netball competition at the same time.

2013 Rugby 7's on Koro Island Fiji

2013 Rugby 7’s on Koro Island Fiji

Visitors to the island are encourage to watch the games, and support teams as they see fit as donations for shirts and travel to tournaments are very welcome.

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