22 August, 2008
The Memories of Growing up in Fiji Up to the 1970s
A friend of mine sent me this. Read to see whether it rings a bell with some of you. Reminds of the fun growing up in Fiji at the time. "This is the true story of growing up in Fiji in these years!!!!Enjoy..... TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and70's - with some additions about growing up in Fiji.....funny yet so true!! First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. And ate chillie and fished and gardened and washed in creeks and gave our fathers a hiding .... They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn'tget tested for diabetes. In Samabula the FIT kids still buy long loaf bread with curry tinned fish or tinned meat in it (my son says - you buy the whole loaf and 2 people share it by taking turns at biting out chunks). And there's no word in Rotuman for Diabetes - that's why we can still eat Fikei... Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. The Indian settlements still have the hanging cribs where the baby is left swinging in usually outside on the verandah (cos it's hot in the tin shack). And all the toys banned overseas usually make their way here anyway. Just check RB Patels... We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. And walked everywhere so you could spend your bus fare on milk iceblocks full of sugar and more than a little dirt from unfiltered water. Not to mention shortcutting thru peoples yards, cemetaries and over hills and thru rivers, helping ourselves to mangoes, guavas or oranges from any tree we came across, then getting stung by bees and having blue pasted all over the stings later. Parents would borrow money from neighbours to get by during the week. Because credit cards were never heard of parents ran up debts in the localchinese shops and paid back with no interest at the end of the week. This is how we survived and budgeted our money. Fiji is the only place in the world where you could can buy a single cigarette at a time (roll) As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick-up on a warm day was always a special treat. Isa...they should see the open carriers here - cos everyday is a warm day - every now and then someone falls off and dies, but when you're a family of 8, this is the only way you're all gonna get to town the same day.We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. And what about the "taki"? And grog drinking? What germs?...all shared here!! Mygerms yours too bro!We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYSOUTSIDE PLAYING! Next time the bus driver stops for his tea - just count the number of spoons of sugar he adds to his tea.... We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.And we were O. K. Till your mother screamed your name and you could hear it 2 streets away and you ran like hell back home cos you can just hear it her voice that one big hiding was coming your way... We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. And sliding down hills using cut up cardboard and stealing mums cotton to fly our kites and smashing bottles to make "maja" and running like hell back home after pounding the kids fromthe end of the street fighting over a kadem kite.... We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms.......... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! And some forgot to go home so each house always had a few kids over what actually belonged there. But no-one called the cops.We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. Cos we had good old caster oil and cod liver oil and all kinds of Fijian medicine for dirty stomachs, cuts, sore muscles, headaches, boils (remember the soap poultice?), running stomachs and blocked stomachs and tooth aches and worms. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. Not to mention guli-guli ganda, pani, our version of softball, marbles and hide and seek just when it was getting dark, playing "he", and flying kites andmaking our qiqis with coconut frond stems or old tyresWe rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them! Cos you just heard that they got a new board game vidividi or toy and you had to have your turn... Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Cos our parents usually swore the life out of the coach (or punched him) The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! And when you DID get home - you gota father of a hiding. I remember my friend who used to get the dog chain and she'd show off her huge bruises with pride!! And we would be so impressed cos we only had the wooden spoon broken on us or you had to pick your own stick to get a hiding with and you got really good at selecting one that was guranteed to break on the 2nd whack...............at least... This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! No wonder our skins are thicker , our livers & hearts are stronger and our sense ofhumour's truelly warped.... And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were. They're tired of hearing it....cos we like to remind them ALL THE TIME!! .......kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?! Or a rusty old cane knife ???"