This January, I’ve left the gloomy winter weather of Boston behind to travel to the South Pacific. My first 1.5 weeks have been in Suva, Fiji’s capital (population 75,000) working on climate change adaptation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). We are preparing to launch the adaptation program, called “Ridge to Reef,” in Tuvalu next week, where I’ll also be conducting research for my thesis (stay tuned!)
Suva is a charming city, and given it’s scale I’ve already met a parliamentarian and the EU ambassador; my colleagues at the UNDP often see the Prime Minister around town. As in many post-colonial cities, I find myself enjoying the quaint European bungalows and neoclassical government buildings, but then find myself feeling a little guilty for getting joy from a complicated and often unpleasant colonial history. Yet Suva is also distinctly Fijian, from the bustling market and loud floral textiles to the men’s business skirts and friendly greetings of “Bula!”
Although I won’t have a chance to visit the outer islands, which house the glamorous private resorts Fiji is famous for, I have had a chance to have some fun here on the weekends on the big island of Viti Levu, including snorkeling the coral reefs, boating with dolphins, hiking through the rainforest, eating lunch in a Fijian village, exploring caves, and swimming in waterfalls. Here are some photos of that too, just for fun!