Posted by: monsonmadness | September 15, 2011

Village curfew

Roads in and out of our village of Vaitogi were closed today at 6 p.m. as part the village’s observance of a 24-hour curfew.

It is observed each year on Sept. 15 (6 p.m.) to Sept. 16 (6 p.m.), in remembrance of a great fire that engulfed but did not destroy Vaitogi more than 200 years ago.
The fire had raged through Vaitogi lands for days and could not be extinguished, threatening the lives of residents and destroying scores of acres of crops and vegetation.

After village chiefs gathered the people together to pray for the fires to stop, a heavy down pour fell and doused out the flames.

Since then Vaitogi residents from near and far make it a point to commemorate this dark point in the history of their village.

No-one is allowed to enter the village or leave it during the 24-hour observance. Residents who cannot get out of work commitments usually stay with relatives or friends in other villages or a hotel during the sa. A village church service is always held to thank God for watching over the village.
Only EMS and police vehicles are allowed in during the curfew in the event of an emergency. The government recognises the 24-hour curfew  and does not interfere with the barricades set up by the village.

We are so grateful that our kind neighbor gave us several days warning of this curfew, otherwise we would have been stuck. A day off work and school may sound like a lot of fun to many of you, but when you can’t leave your house, and it’s as hot as it is here, believe me, it’s not that much fun.

We were saved by the generosity of our good friends the Pili’s. Sister Pili was one of the “moms” I referred to in my post \”my mothers\” Since we moved here, she has taken extra good care of us, including showing me around the island and telling me at which stores you can find certain things, babysitting our kids when we had to go through the rigamarol of picking up our car, as well as coming over to help when I had food poisoning. Patriarch Pili is just as kind. He sold us his car at a great price, invited us over for family home evening when my Mom was here, was a witness at Benjamin’s baptism, and is now letting us disturb his otherwise peaceful Thursday night by allowing eight extra people to sleep over in his home!

Our kids are so excited! We were able to eat an early dinner at home tonight, then we packed up our pack and play, some extra pillows and blankets and everything we’d need for tomorrow. We also decided that since everyone in the village is going to know that we are not at home, that we’d take our lap tops, computer and tv with us as well, just in case! Don’t really have anything else valuable. Sad, but better to be safe than sorry.

The kids were thrilled that we could have a sleepover. Tomorrow morning we will leave at 7am to go to school and work, and then after school we will do something fun as a family, go to eat at MacDonald’s, play in the play area, and be able to go back home at 6pm. Why wouldn’t they be excited? It’s a perfect arrangement for them.

Here are some photos from when we had family home evening with the Pili’s.

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