The cagi laba or the “wind murder” is nearing Fiji… What we know as a cyclone is referred to as wind murder here. Very intimidating!
The anticipation for the approaching cyclone, Pam, is starting to build up here in Lautoka. I was brought into the mainland on Monday, as the Yasawa group of islands tends to be a cyclone pathway. I was looking forward to experiencing the cyclone preparation routine on my island and even half joked about seeking shelter in a cave on the side of the mountain. The village headman told me he would send me up there with a blanket, a can of tin fish, a packet of crackers, and a bottle of Fiji water; however, much to my disappointment, I was brought into Lautoka because Pam poses a serious threat to Fiji.
I’ve been keeping in close contact with my village and the school so I can stay in the loop. I was informed that all the students at the primary school were sent home. It is much safer for them to be at their homes than stuck in the school dorms during this storm. The dorms, classrooms and teachers quarters have been boarded up in the preparation process.
In Lautoka, I am staying with two other volunteers. We’ve stocked up on food, stored plenty of water, and have our candles ready. In the past, when cyclones come through this area, Lautoka loses power and has severe flooding, but we are highly elevated so will be safe. We are expecting more heavy rain and strong winds. Currently, it’s raining on and off, it’s been relatively windy, and the seas are very rough. The good news for Fiji is that the course of Pam has changed slightly and she has moved further to the west. It sounds like Vanuatu will suffer the most damage.
In the mean time, we are hunkered down in Lautoka. Kristen, one of the Lautoka volunteers, and I have been playing rugby in the rain every night. We found a group of boys playing on the hospital ground every night, so we have started joining them. It’s exciting in the pouring rain! It looks like I’ll be here for at least another four or five days, so we will become rugby stars by the time this cagi laba is over.