Lutu Cultural Trip

The Staff of Erasito Consultants Pte Ltd (ECL) accepted an invitation and embarked on a Cultural Day Trip to Lutu Village in Naitasiri on Saturday, 07th March, 2020.  The 07th of March seemed like an opportune day to have a Company trip for the ECL and Beca Staff and their families to allow the diverse backgrounds of both groups to appreciate the traditional I-Taukei culture and way of life.  It was agreed that the day’s trip expenses would be jointly funded by the Staff and Company.  It was a agreed that a Television Screen and a C.D Video (DVD) deck for the Lutu District School Kindergarten (Preschool) would be purchased together with a few household items for Josefa Ligauli (a former Fiji Swimmer and Lutu Village Representative) as a form of giving back to the community which the Company has done in past years.

It is a norm in any traditional I-Taukei cultural gathering that the two “MUST HAVE” items are Food and Kava (grog).  I was assigned the role of the Cultural Day Trip Coordinator and my tasks included monitoring the expenses, organising the food menu, arrange the day’s activities and organise the necessary travel arrangements.

Input from the Staff together with advice from Josefa Ligauli contributed to the successful preparatory stages of the trip.  This included advice on the cultural sensitivities that the Staff were required to comply with upon entering the Village and observe during our stay at the Village.

Everyone was excited and looked forward to the day trip.  The necessary arrangements were confirmed, the food items and gifts were taken up to Lutu Village the day before our trip.  I had the pleasure of delivering the food items which unexpectedly was not a simple “Hello”, drop-off and “Good Bye”.  A small kava mix hosted by Josefa Ligauli followed shortly after the delivery was made as a form of appreciation and to acknowledge the day trip that everyone was looking forward to the next day.

Saturday, 07th March, 2020 arrived and everyone met up at the Suva Office for a short briefing before leaving for Lutu Village.  There was excitement amongst the Staff and our families as we drew closer to Lutu Village.  Upon arrival, everyone put on their “sulus” to display their respect towards the cultural sensitivity of the i-Taukei culture.  That was an amazing scene!  Everyone settled in at Josefa Ligauli’s house awaiting patiently for what was to follow.

The commencement of the traditional welcoming ceremony (Sevusevu) got underway with our very own nominated Chief Spokesman, Naibuka Naicegulevu (who also hails from the Naitasiri Province) leading the brigade by offering the Company’s Sevusevu to the Village elders and receiving the Village sevusevu.  There was a lot of tasty, earthy drink (“kava”) during the Sevusevu session.  Whilst the Kava session was full in swing with enthusiastic kava drinkers, the remaining Staff (i.e. the not so enthusiastic kava drinkers) and their families were invited to witness the covering of the Lovo and were entertained by Joe’s wife and children, whilst also spoiling our Staff with delicious cassava pies and juice.  Our Staff helped with the food preparation.

After witnessing the covering of the lovo pit, the Staff presented the Television Screen and DVD deck to the Lutu District School Kindergarten (Preschool) Manager.  The Staff and their families visited the School followed by a guided hike through the farmland, slipping and getting our feet stuck in the mud (much to the amusement of others) and finally being greeted with a glorious sight of the waterfall.  The waterfall presented a beautiful scene and everyone, including the children, enjoyed the waters as it worked as a stress relief by offering a light massage beneath the fall of its cold waters.  Following about two hours at the waterfall, we trekked back to a much awaited lunch.  The menu was delicious and everyone enjoyed the lovo.

Time passes by so quickly when you’re having fun.  Following another round of kava and we were ready to head back home.

The Staff presented the Company’s farewell (I-Tatau) to the Village elders to acknowledge and thank the villagers for hosting the Company Staff and their families to a wonderful day of activities and lunch together with the kava session.  Some of the Staff and their families visited the Village Church situated well above all the houses on a hill top.  The view from the hill top was worth the climb with a stunning 360o view of the village, Wainibuka river and the school.

I must say that the experience gained from the trip was well beyond our expectations.  There were numerous positive feedback from all the families of the Erasito and Beca Staff regarding the trip.  From the laidback lifestyle, to welcoming friendly faces, exquisite taste of kava, hearty meal topped off by beautiful surrounds.  Truly an amazing experience!  We all look forward to our next cultural trip which will most likely be to Rotuma at the end of year 2020!

Author:  Tomu Nakanacagi

March 2020

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.