When I was in Fiji recently, Karina and I hired a car for the day. We wanted to drive to places that most people wouldn’t go. We wanted to see the people of Fiji. To experience. To open our eyes.
On this particular day we met with Karl (from Malomalo). He graciously led us down the coast where we checked out the water. Karl explained that the average income for the people of Fiji is $1 – $2 per hour. But the cost of living is basically the same as New Zealand.
Our journey with Karl took us down some serious back roads which was fun. We travelled through villages that 99.9% of visitors to Fiji will never see. Unlike the Villagers on the main road, they are not sponsored by Coke or Pepsi. They don’t have signs up saying they are supported by NZAID. They are just villages.
On the way back to our resort. I took these two pictures. The first is 3 guys working collecting sugar cane. As I slowed on the railway lines I took another, because I thought the lines of the track were cool. One of the guys called to this older man and he stood and posed for the picture.
I took the picture, gave him a wave and kept driving. At the time he was just a picture. Now the picture has become so much more.
I didn’t care about his circumstances.
I don’t know his name.
He may not have had needs. He may have been happier and more content than me. But to him, I am sure, I was just another rich tourist who took a photo and kept driving.
The picture will be a vivid memory of the day I went to see the needs of the people of Fiji and forgot to see the needs of the individual before my eyes. I forgot to be.
I think we do that often.