Saturday, August 20, 2016 by Losalini Bolatagici
THE rain and cold weather did not dampen the spirits of 145 youngsters who turned up with their families for this year’s traditional canoe race (Veitau Waqa) held at the Suva Foreshore yesterday.
They were there to race in the second category of the event, the bakanawa (small canoe) race, which drew more interest since it was introduced last year to be part of the main event — the Camakau (big canoe) race.
Organised by Pacific Blue Foundation, it has proven to be popular and cemented the belief that there is much to be gained from the Fijian sailing tradition as they work on promoting this sailing culture so the knowledge can be shared, passed down and retained.
Foundation director of government and community relations Roko Josefa Cinavilakeba was happy with the turnout.
“It’s great seeing people coming out in numbers. This event has really grown compared with the past year,” Roko Josefa said.
Nine children became winners competing in three different levels of the category.
A new product was introduced in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in their quest to combat non-communicable diseases in the country.
Traditional foods used by sailors, how they were made and preserved to last a long journey were showcased and served free to the people who turned up for the event.
Yams and fish were cooked in charcoal with chillies, lemon and soaked in seawater, sea grapes in fermented coconut (kora) and seashells were served in coconut shells and nicely woven small coconut plates.
The food were brought all the way from the ‘organic island’ of Cicia in Lau. Epeli Draunidalo Laliqavoka of Tarukua Village and his wife, Susana, were responsible for the food.
“You see in days of old sailors used to just dress in a piece of masi and stand there with their bare body with waves splashing against them. They never got sick or cold and this was because of the healthy food they ate,” Mr Laliqavoka said.
“I always champion traditional food because we don’t get sick easily from eating them. I thank Pacific Blue Foundation for this opportunity and hopefully it will allow others to realise that our own food is best for us.”
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