As you may have had the saying " It takes the whole village to raise a child", well it is true.
I am fourth generation Fijian born indian. Bristish brought Indians from India to work on sugar cane farm in Fiji. My ancestors decided to stay in Fiji.
I was brought up with three generations with extended family leaving together. My parents, grandparents, aunty's and uncles, sibblings and cousins we all lived side-by side. It was very normal and still is normal for lots of villagers not only in Fiji or India but around the world. There was always someone who took care of me and all the kids. Our extended family is our community.
I am proud to belong to the Indian culture. We have so many goodness to share. Our lifestyle and way of living has inspired western world. Alot of our traditions and practises is about nourishing our body, mind and soul. Our cultural cherishes our elders. We respect, listen and learn from them. Our elders have wisdom and knowledge about so many topics and they have happily passed it down to us. The experience, knowledge and stories my ancestors shared with me cannot be found in a book or any goggle search.
I have high respect for my great grandparents, grandparents and my parents. They have provided me with the insight, grace and fortitude for setting up a platform for wholesome lifestyle. I cherish all the advice, guidance and enlightenment they have passed on to me. A lifestyle that is so natural and vibrant with health, happiness and contentment. My ancestors have shown me that simple life filled with lots of love, gratitude, self-care, caring for others and appreciation is key to health, happiness and contentment. I am grateful for my elders for imparting a beautiful tradition and knowledge for me to enjoy throughout my life.
Food is a blessing. Wholesome fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds picked from our garden and home cooked, made with love nourishes our body, mind and soul. My Grandparents were early to bed early to bed, early to raise - Everyday at 4am, my grandad walked miles to milk the cows and carry freshly squeezed buckets of milk back home. He was always active and healthy. He made the most of each day and definitely lived life to the fullest. I have never seen him sick or heard him complaining about aches and pains. Both my grandparents were a fantastic example of showing me that eating home cooked food, moving, relaxing and self-care is a natural part of our life. We are meant to use our body to do daily chaos not to use fancy kitchen gadgets. Just by watching them, I have learnt that our body is an amazing machine and is very capable to do everything we want and need to do. We just need to keep moving.
My parental grandma taught my mum how to mindfully select spices not only for it's taste but for medicinal values which could cure certain illness. She taught us how to heal our aches, pains and any illness by using the plants around us. Grandma knew all the plants and it's goodness for our health. Sometimes I feel upset that I didn't pay attention and learnt more from her. Eating was always positive experience. We cooked together and ate together - enjoying the food, talking and laughing. When we had to much crops, we shared or swapped (barter system) with others in the village. Children were involved and taught to do various chaos in the kitchen, inside and outside our home.
When I visited my maternal grandparents, I loved going to the well to fetch water, climb fruit trees to pick and eat it straight away. Walk miles to the farm and help grandparents to pick the fresh produce to sell in the local markets. My grandparents lived in a remote village therefore there was no tap water, no electricity or inside toilets or shows however we loved visiting them because we loved it. Everything was done manually.
My great grandma used to say “ Take care of yourself. We only have one body and it is very precious." I had the most amazing life living in the village. We had everything we wanted and needed. I do cherish the wonderful memories and love the stories my ancestors shared about their childhood - Where they come from and their lifestyle.
Where are my ancestors Now?
My Greatgrand parents
Greatgrand dad – I never met him. Dad says he passed away way before I was born.
Greatgrand ma – She passed away at age 90 in 1969.
My dad's parents:
Grandad lived a healthy, happy live to 90 years. 2005, he suddenly passed away for unknown reasons.
Grandma lived a healthy life however in her 70's she suffered from blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. She had to take medication. At the age of 93, she also suddenly passed away in 2009.
My mum's parents:
Grandad was very active and worked on his farm everyday. Unfortunately he had an accident at the farm and at the age of 55, he was bed bound and never recovered. I was very young when we passed.
Grandma was also very active working on the farm with grandad. Caring for my grandad and losing him at a very early age, was very devastating for her. She did have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and was very over-weight. She passed away due to ill health at the age of 65.
I am very lucky to have my parents.
Dad is 79 and mum 75. Both are very active, healthy and busy. 20 years ago, they immigrated to New Zealand and live with my youngest brother, his wife and their two children. They love the 3 generations living together. There is still the same love, joy, sharing and caring like the way we had in our village home. Dad likes to be physically active. He still sits on the floor in lotus position..amazing. He loves helping and giving to the community.
Mum is also healthy. She loves to cook every meal, every day. Unfortunately mum has inherited few health problems therefore she is on medication however this doesn't stop her from enjoying life. Mum and dad still grown their own vegetable and spices garden in their neat little backyard in New Zealand.
I appreciate everything my village family have taught me. I feel blessed that I am fortunate enough to learn first hand as how to live like a villager.