Blue skies, long stretches of white sandy beaches lined with coconut trees and crystal-clear aquamarine warm waters. Days spent snorkelling and frolicking in the water, with the afternoons spent sunbathing and the nights chilling out on a hammock under the stars.
Well this was how our Christmas and New Year’s was supposed to be, that is until Cyclone Evan struck Fiji, just days before we were due to leave Auckland. Luckily, no one was hurt in Fiji, unlike Samoa where people lost their lives and livelihood in the cyclone and the following tsunami that hit in the run up to Christmas.
The cyclone hit the Nadi side of the main island, skirting along the coast as it made its way out of the area. From what we saw and heard it would seem that people have lost their homes and that the general day-to-day routines have been severely disrupted, from uprooted trees at the airport to power being down and loss of communication between some islands.
Our resort was supposed to be on Manu island, just a short distance from Nadi and in the days running up to our flight we were unsure as to what to do. Should we risk it and go or should we stay in New Zealand for the festivities and do something else? Flights resumed just a couple of days before our due date, but with it then came flood warnings around the area and even though in the end they did not materialise, we decided to stay put.
Despite losing our flights we decided to stay in our accommodation until the 27th December and then rent a camper van for a whole month instead of the original 2 weeks we had planned. We may not be relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun while drinking from a coconut, but we will be enjoying an adventure around the 2 islands, and who knows we may even spend a few days on a beach here too!
However, throughout this my heart goes out to all those having to deal with the devastation of living post cyclone and post tsunami, especially at this time of year.
And so, all I want for Christmas is for everyone to help in whatever way they can to get the people of Samoa and Fiji back on their feet quickly and show them that Christmas is not just about where you are and what you have, but it’s about spreading love and joy to everyone, especially those who need it the most – http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/pacifictsunami