During the past week I travelled south to join members of the Southampton District at their celebration Day at Verwood Methodist Church. We had a wonderful day of sharing fellowship, learning and worship. Staying at the home of Alison and Les Judd I had time to relax and catch up with family and World Federation (WF) news.
It’s often the case at these events that I fail to take photographs to share on the blog until it’s too late. However, all is not lost because it gives me the opportunity to use one of the photos of Alison and myself that we shared in the afternoon session at Verwood.
Alison and I had attended the South Pacific WF Area Seminar at the beginning of July. The photo above was taken on the first evening when, along with all the delegates, we were taken to a local village for our evening meal. Following the meal Alison and I were invited to join the traditional Fijian Kava ceremony, a ceremony of welcome and celebration. We were invited to sit on a huge mat made out of beaten, pulped leaves, decorated with the words ‘A Chosen People called to Proclaim’ from 1 Peter 2:9, the text chosen for this WF Quinquennial term.
The men of the village, in their traditional dress had been preparing the Kava, a mildly narcotic drink made with the ground root of the pepper plant mixed with water which results in a numb feeling around the mouth, lips and tongue and a sense of relaxation. For many Fijians, kava is a link to their ancestral past and is the nation’s traditional and national drink. The drink itself is thought to have medicinal qualities, and legend has it that the ceremony surrounding kava originated from Tonga.
The village leader honoured Alison by placing a whale tooth into her hands. As per the ritual Alison kissed the tooth before giving two ceremonial hand claps to indicate that she accepted the Kava, taking a few sips from a coconut shell. After a few minutes and more traditional hand clapping the offering of Kava was repeated. This time Alison drank the whole offering and was heartily applauded by villagers and visitors alike.
The evening concluded with fascinating displays of traditional Fijian dance and chanting before we were ferried back to the Seminar hotel.
Alison and I were sharing a room and after sleeping soundly we concluded that Kava must be a powerful alternative to Horlicks!