Blessed Good Friday!

Blessed Good Friday, folks 🙂

The Easter recount begins with last night’s Maundy Thursday service at our home church. Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday, where we commemorate the intimate moment shared by Jesus and his disciples in the Last Supper and remember the night He was betrayed by one of his own. For the record, I was not present at Maundy Thursday as around about that time, I was in a conversation with one of the registrars of the Supreme Court, discussing gender rights issues in New Delhi (a fun thing to do on the eve of the long weekend, I know).

Maundy Thursday
The congregation were quietly ushered and seated into the church hall. Apart from the organized station at the church courtyard, the first few things one notices are the set of brightly lit candles in the front area of the hall, the soft music, the neatly organized seats and the soft ambience emanating from the dimly lit hall.

A Bible reader narrated the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. After the reading, the Reverend Doctor – who is our home church minister – and one of the elders (who happens to be a scientist by profession – and the most amazing scientist I have ever met!), promptly poured water into large basins with towels ready.

Our home church minister was going to wash our feet while our church elder had the duty to wash our hands. They called us to come forward and have the option of having our feet or hands washed in water and towel dried by our church leaders.

A few of the congregation members stepped forward. One of my brothers had his feet washed by the Reverend Doctor, while my other brother opted to have his hands washed by the church elder.

I find this practice of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples very confronting. But it is from these out-of-this-world acts that I can distinguish the way the world thinks and operates on certain worldviews. John 13:12b-17 encapsulate Jesus’ point:

Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

A confronting challenge, indeed.

After the mindful experience of having our feet and hands washed by our church leaders, one of the Bible readers narrated the story of Jesus sharing the last supper with his disciples. Soon after, the congregation were promptly served by caterers with a choice of pumpkin soup, miso soup or potato and mushroom soup before a basket of various kinds of bread (from wholemeal, to multi-grain to plain buns) were passed around.  The church ate as they quietly reflected on the meaningful experience the last supper could have meant to Jesus and his disciples.

As members of the congregation narrated each Bible reading one by one, each candle were steadily put out.  The hall room was now dark – somewhat taken to portray the betrayal that was to occur in the later stages of the narrative.

It was in this heartfelt darkness of silence that our Maundy Thursday church service concluded. Maundy Thursday was unlike anything my family had experienced before with Easter worship services in the past. So you can only imagine how enlivened they all were to share deep and meaningful reflections of Easter on the road back home.

Good Friday
The road to church around 9 o’clock this morning had that calm, peaceful Sunday kind of vibe. The Greek Orthodox Church down town crowded the roadside with a street march accompanied by police supervision to re-enact Christ’s journey to the cross.

I peered out of the car window as we drove past them thinking, man, what an amazing feeling to show your faith in a densely populated metropolitan neighborhood filled with all sorts of people from rich and diverse backgrounds and beliefs.  It was such a spiritually enriching picture.

This led me to think about what our home church would be doing for our Good Friday service.

I get that it’s the long weekend which is the perfect time to pump up the volume and party like a rock-star, but the extended days off held a significant meaning to me. It was so personal that I took it upon myself to dress the appropriate attire. Turns out, wearing a black dress to the Good Friday service, was probably not a good idea. You’ll soon find out why.

When we arrived at church, two greeters each holding a small basket filled with nails, stood by the entrance with genuinely warm smiles of welcome as they politely motioned to us to pick a nail from their tiny basket. I was only met with even more wider smiles after probing the greeters with a questioning look.

I see how it is, I thought to myself.  They were not going to tell me the reason behind the nail. Well in hindsight, they only had one job to do: to give attendees a nail each. Nothing more, nothing less.

Curiosity beginning to peak, I deftly picked a nail from the basket and walked respectfully into the church before quietly slipping into one of the pews. The church was again, dimly lit – minus the romantic vibe – with the sombre atmosphere widely triggered by the soft music playing in the background by our home church musicians. Who knew you could play beautiful music from using only a piano and a clarinet? It was complementary musical duo in action.

Laying on a white linen covered table by the podium, was a massive, dark colored Cross with a purple cloth loosely draped across the arms. Purple and black are two of the gloomiest colors I know, which kind of blended in with the whole sombre vibe.

As I sat in the pew next to a brilliant youth leader (she is so brilliant, she delivered a powerful sermon last week on Palm Sunday emphasizing God’s commandment to love one another) I thought of God’s relationship with people like me – flaws and all.  I fidgeted around with the sharp, cold object in my hand whilst deep in thought.

You know, if you think about it, how can something so pure, so Holy, so awesome, offer a part of Himself to die, just so a mere mortal who is prone to weakness could live a life of joy, abundance and fruitfulness?  And I thought the lyrics to Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy in Love’ was obsessive enough, but this?

This is the only love story where the hero dies for the villain.

This was real crazy love. Nothing can top this one.

After the selected Bible readers narrated Jesus’ journey from the night he was betrayed to the Cross where He was to be crucified, it was now time for us to make our way up to the front where the cross lay.

At this point, any known sign of my serious composure was slowly ebbing away.

Apart from the subtle futile attempts to stop the torrent of tears escaping, I had to remind myself to get my shit together. I immediately regretted wearing my black dress. I should have worn something that would probably not add to the heavy sadness in the air and eventually betray my serious composure by opening the flood gates of ‘TearDom City’.

With the cold, sharp nail in my now sweaty hand, I got up and joined the long winding single file of people that solemnly made their way up to the podium where the Cross lay.

Stepping onto the podium, I stole a glimpse over my shoulder to capture the long line of people behind me with their heads hung and shoulders dropped in sadness.

It was now my turn.  Just me at the foot of the Cross.  It was such a powerful, symbolic moment for me to experience.

I lowered my gaze down to the Cross that lay before me, took a half-hearted step forward, and drove the cold, sharp nail into the styrofoam body of the Cross


before momentarily stepping aside, giving way to others to have their moment.  The walk back to the pew somehow felt longer than usual.

As we silently left the church, the Reverend Doctor stood by the entrance, as all church ministers and church leaders do for handshakes. I asked him if I could skip the handshake as I had tears, mucous and sweat in my hands.

To my complete surprise, I was met instead, with a comforting embrace.


Speaks volumes, doesn’t it? (Note to self, bring handkerchief next time)

Stay safe this Easter long weekend, folks 🙂




Motivational Monday

Since last Saturday (Feb 20th 2016), the past week has been an intense whirlwind of dark emotions. Category 5 tropical cyclone Winston stormed through parts of Fiji, leaving behind a trail of complete destruction and devastation to families who have lost their loved ones. My uncle residing in Norfolk Island notified us on Thursday that Cyclone Winston stopped by to also wreck havoc on their beautiful South Pacific Island home. Fortunately for my uncle’s family and friends of the family living on the island, it was a category 2 cyclone Winston.

You would be pleased to find that there aren’t any distressing images on this blog post as most, if not all, facebook, twitter Fijian profiles, ABC News, mainstream media (TV and radio station), passionate church sermons, emails from generous CEO’s and empathetic team leaders expressing genuine sympathy and organizing charity and putting up links on company websites to donate and help Fiji the best way they can, market vendors, shop keepers, sales assistants, receptionists, that friendly lady from customer services, neighbors (including the ones you rarely talk to), extended families (including distant ones) and expressive commuters have already outdone themselves on that subject. It will only rip you apart even more if this blog post was yet another extension to the ongoing happenings in our beloved island home. And today is not a day to feel down. Today is Motivational Monday! 😀 Yay!

So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, take a few seconds to savor these strange jewels of wisdom. Again, its primarily used for motivational purposes.  Uplifting, if anything.

It is my silent hope that when obstacles come our way, we view it as challenges that can be chopped up into smaller, sizable and manageable blocks that can be easily overcome, one step at a time. Hope this helps you just as much as it helped me get through this hectic Cyclone Winston aftermath (Lord knows I needed this).

So here it is! Enjoy 🙂


Strange Jewels of Wisdom


The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates

4 T

If you don’t like where you are, CHANGE it! You’re not a tree! – Jim Rohn


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu


Always remember that the future comes one day at a time. – Dean Acheson

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. – Captain Jack Sparrow


You got this.  Make it happen. 



Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. ― Muhammad Ali


In our prayers,


Dear Bey, Thank You!

On Saturday February 6th, 2016 Beyoncé broke the internet and dominated mainstream news.


The Forbes list most powerful female musician of 2015 and global entertainment powerhouse stunned last week’s Super bowl half-time show with her so called shit-stirring, ‘Formation’ song.

Frankly, I haven’t been into any of Bey’s music for the longest time, or any mainstream songs played on the radio for that matter. But because her so called controversial Formation song and half-time performance at the Super Bowl dominated national news for the entire past week, I just had to check out what all the fuss was about.


Seeking Formation

Searching for her Formation song on YouTube was nothing short of interesting.  Her music video was unlisted so seeking it is not for the faint-hearted.  One has to have perseverance on a curious finger to click randomly at any or every Reaction video on YouTube.  I was bored with nothing to do that afternoon, so I ended up managing to get the link to both dirty and clean versions of Bey’s Formation song.

I clicked on the provided link and pressed play.

still shot by Robin Harper

Above is the still shot of Beyonce in her beautiful Afro taken from her Formation music video as photographed by Robin Harper.

The Reaction

During the 4 minutes and 53 second Formation music video, I swear someone must have been sitting right next to me peeling from a 2 kg bag filled right to the top with raw and freshly chopped onions. And I’m pretty sure it was raining too, although the sun was high up in the sky, shining ever so brightly. It was such a weird observation to experience while watching Beyoncé’s Formation song.  If you also experienced something similar, you can trust me when I say, that I won’t tell anybody you cried so much, the heavens opening its floodgates got nothing on you.  Don’t worry, it will be our little secret.


Mockery and tissues aside,  Bey’s message here was evidently loud and clear: SELF-LOVE.  And it was a special message directed only to a specific group of people in America.  Her video was layered with rich heritage and uncovered dark history as well as mountaintop victories of her people.

But what had impacted me the most as a Fijian woman graced with the buiniga like most Fijian women, was the powerful statement she made on wholly embracing and celebrating your identity.

when your ido loves your natural featurestumblr_n0b0ut7ynL1s7opcao1_250

Strong Sisterhood Solidarity

Bey performed with a group of naturals in what appeared to be an empty indoor swimming pool.  Arm in arm and linked to each other, the choreography appears to present some sort of a chain domino effect that can never be broken or made to feel inferior.


formation link

Again, the message from Bey was quite loud and clear in this particular setting: Ladies, let’s build each other up!  And lets do this most importantly, for our younger generations who are watching us lead the way.

here for all the little ones

What I Loved Most About Beyonce’s Formation?  BEING REPRESENTED

When I got into Class 1 at an amazing and very small primary school in Fiji, there was an hour after recess dedicated to story time.  We would all crash on the wooden floor enthusiastically waiting for the smooth talking voice of the narrator coming from the portable radio to feed our little minds with whimsical tales of magical Agrabah.  We would take turns volunteering to hold the Disney storybook up and dutifully turn the page after the narrator was done reading it out loud to us.

As much as I tried as a 6 year old, I never could relate to any of these Disney Princesses.  Put quite simply, I couldn’t see myself in any of them at all.


Fast forward to a few years later when Pocahontas joined the Disney Princesses club.  I could relate to the whole family values thing but something just wasn’t right.  Why is it that the first dark-skinned Disney Princess, daughter of the village Chief, feel uneasy around the guy her father chose for her to marry?  Why did she choose John Smith instead?  Oh?  Because the other guy was “too serious”?  Hmm…it does come across to a 9 year old kid as odd, that someone who encompasses all the merits, being the bravest and strongest young warrior in the village, hand-picked by a very wise and intelligent village Chief would still not be considered good enough?


At such a young age, I began to question whether or not I should even have my natural hair neatly trimmed and conscientiously combed into a beautiful Fijian buiniga once every two months or so, by my beautiful mother or one of her amazing sisters or my gracefully stoic Bu – all of whom proudly wear their beautiful buiniga to this day.

Soon after, my parents introduced me to watching a Sunday afternoon program with them, on Fiji One called The Pacific Way and for good reason: to empower me to embrace the natural essence of a beautiful Fijian woman.  It was the first time I saw Ms. Lenora Qereqeretabua.


She was the host for The Pacific Way, a popular national and regional TV personality who also frequently graced family homes to market products and services from companies and supermarkets.

Lenora came in like a breath of freshness.  She was the quintessential Fijian Princess every little Fijian girl with a buiniga at that time, like yours truly, were silently looking for to grace the small screen.  There were so many similarities I could easily identify myself with right away.  And it’s such a damn good feeling to finally be represented to the rest of the world!


Her genuinely vibrant Fijian smile, neat presentation of self-confidence lit up something that was, little by little, deprived from 9 year old me.  But most importantly, it was how she gracefully wore her Buiniga on national television, proudly representing the natural essence of beauty found in the iTaukei people.  It was something that I knew subconsciously as a kid that it was very important to be validated and represented.

Since then, globalization introduced a wave of Westernized popular culture that became deeply entrenched with visual and virtual messages dishing out beauty standard after beauty standard to the young and old who particularly inhibit body image insecurities.  Yes, we do hide these insecurities well.

If you’re not strongly grounded with who you are, you could get swept away easily with the tide and drown in even more self-doubt and thoughts of inadequacy.

Message To My Twenty-Something Self from Beyonce’s Formation Song

As a Fijian woman, Formation was personally interpreted as a celebration of my natural physical features like my Buiniga or ‘Afro hair’, as generally referenced by acquaintances.

Beyonce’s Formation song strongly reminded me to never, ever forget where I came from and the struggle my ancestors went through in their time for me to get here.  Their struggle must not be in vain.

So it’s time to stop insulting God’s grandest masterpiece: YOU!  YOUR NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL SELF!  

And slay.



Much Love and Peace xo

~Marama Vaka Buiniga~

2016 Year of possibilities and all things new

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day”  (E. B. White)

I look back at our latest post and realize with a cringe that it was three (3) long years ago that the last post was entered and the maramavabuiniga has become a quite room of non activity.

Sometimes you look back and you realize how much things have changed or haven’t at all. Either ways you wish to either improve it or live in it and be happy in the moment.

I awoke this morning after a short illness, it is during this time that I was stuck in bed that I began to view life differently. I realise that at an age where most women are either married, have children and a significant other I don’t. Which begs the question “What am I doing with my life?” I have so many things that I aspire to either become or accomplish but in doing so I need to be certain of where I am going and how I want to get there. I believe the problem with me is that I am too afraid. I am afraid, I’m afraid of movin on with my life. I’m afraid of moving away from my parent’s. For so long I was treated as a baby, where everything was done for me, if I needed something Mom would get it for me, if I wanted something but couldn’t afford it, Mom would buy it for me and I wouldn’t have to worry about spending a single cent. I am also afraid that I might become so successful that I won’t need my parent’s, as ridiculous as it sounds I must admit that it does seem almost logical.


I realize now that in order to make anything of my myself more than what I currently am right now I need to move out of my comfort zone. I need to grow into myself and stop being such a scared cat that I can’t even stand on my own two feet.

I can do this!! I can both make a difference in this world and enjoy it, how can I do that? By just doing it and stop trying to plan my day so much that it looks like everybody else’s.


It might not make sense to most people but to me, right now, it does make a whole lot of sense. 🙂

I need to be confident enough to make my life for me!!!

Love Life, Love Fiercely.


MVB #2

14 Days Till Christmas!

It’s an hour before the clock strikes midnight when the sudden sound of loud knocking came from the front door.

Who would pay us a visit in this ungodly hour?

Mother opens the front door to a shivering Mrs. Juanita, our lovely neighbor, who now looks pale and gripped with fear, almost as if she had seen a ghost.

“Mrs. Juanita, is everything alright?”  Mother cautiously asks our tiny, frail neighbor who appeared visibly trembling in cold sweat.

Our neighbor rubbed her trembling hands to keep warm from the sudden chilly breeze that brushed past her tiny frame.  “I was – I was,” she gulped nervously.  “I was in the kitchen closing up,” she paused to take a deep breath, “and I stepped out for a second in the backyard and I saw – this – this – this man – peering into my kitchen.”

Mother attempts to downplay her tone of questioning and remain calm so as to not appear alarmed although she could have sworn her heart did a mini back flip.

“I know for sure that it was not one of your well-behaved children but I thought – I would just let you know, if you knew who that man was”, Mrs. Juanita paused to take in a deep breath, “especially since he was climbing on your tree – y’know, from your compound.”

A sudden expression of deep concern flashed through Mother’s eyes as she thanked our neighbor and reassured her that she will notify the police immediately and pass on the message to our other neighbors.

As Mother sent a slightly more calm Mrs. Juanita back to her home, the family decides to pitch in with the other neighbors to figure out what exactly has been going on around our neighborhood backyards.  Apparently two recent robberies have occurred and it appears that our wooden picket fence has a hole the size that could fit a grown man to have an easy access into our neighbor’s home – the one that got robbed a few months ago.

Prayer, time, the police and most likely with the assistance of the neighborhood watch, we would be able to zero in on our prime suspect.

The Christmas holidays is a lot of fun especially when its summer and you’re tempted to hang out with the family and friends all day at the beach.  But it would be a much safer option to considerably keep in mind the safety and protection of the family valuables and property.  Lock it up properly and notify neighbors you trust, family members even the police that you will be away from home for a longer period of time like a family vacation.

Stay safe this Christmas holiday!

Peace and love,

~Marama Vaka Buiniga~

15 Days Till Christmas!

The subtle whizzing of the air-con in the background performed a marvelous job cooling the dry and hot spell that summer unapologetically offered today. Beneath the velvety darkness that silently blankets the nation, society at large remains transfixed on the live-streaming memorial where world leaders, international dignitaries, family, friends and the beloved people of South Africa celebrate, honor and pay tribute to the legacy of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013) live at the FNB stadium of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Of the wealth of information available at our mere fingertips thanks to Twitter mostly, concerning Madiba who lived his life as a lawyer, activist, prisoner, South Africa’s first black president and the passionate struggle and legacy he dearly held for his people, he essentially taught me that whatever thing that is deemed impossible to achieve, can only be a success if I am ready to compromise and struggle for the fruition of my personal goals, dreams and ambitions into polishing myself into the best version I can possibly be.

The quote that struck me at my core as I sit here watching President Zuma deliver his public address live-streaming from the memorial is taken from President Obama’s transcript:

“And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach – think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.”

Peace and love.

~Marama Vaka Buiniga~


Christmas may mean so many things to so many people. A friend once shared that there are only two special days in her life: her birthday and Christmas – most likely because those are the two days in her life where she is guaranteed to be lavished with gifts, hugs and unashamedly smacked with kisses. 

A few others anticipate Christmas because it is the only holiday throughout the year that promises the presence of extended families from afar and boasts the abundance of food, flashes of sparkling green and ruby red lights and colorful decorations emanating the spirit of joy and celebration across the vast rooftops of suburbia, in every shopping mall, local council, city, you name it.  The atmosphere and energy of the entire town are transformed into this season of joy and giving.

With less than twenty days to hustle and bustle in anticipation for Christmas day, it would be nice to put forward a list of 16 hopes that I’d like to pray for in preparation for Christmas.

Prayerful hope for day 16:

As I go about clearing my room of all the things that I’ve hoarded over the months like recyclable jars to accommodate my mascara and makeup brushes, clothes that don’t fit in the bleak hope that I would one day fit into it, old Womans Day magazines, damaged sandals amongst other things, I am also cleaning my mind from time-wasting wishful thinking and negative thoughts and countering this with positive thinking.  Less of, darn, I won’t be able to fit into this beautiful summer dress to town! More of, “Fortunately, I have the power bestowed upon me to actually do something about my current situation, which will inevitably pass.”  Less of, yuck, weeds!  What an ugly backyard!  More of, “I need to schedule a day this week to mow the lawn”.  ACTION – Aren’t we thankful enough to God for instilling within each individual such a power of good in intense proportions?  There is a solution to every ‘situation’ (and if you’ve run out of ideas, you could always exploit the option of finding your answers in google).

You may dismiss words as mere puff but therein lies power.  What you say to yourself – regardless of whether you believe it or not – is very powerful because your subconscious is always aware of your surroundings. So once you realize that your own words has power, use it for your own good.  Start within.  Say good things about yourself, because, you are a good person. Then go ahead and clear out the mess!

As I join the rest of the world in preparation for Christmas in clearing out items I’ve hoarded in my room, may this encourage me to clean out negativity beginning within, and trust that God will take care of the things in my life that I do not have the power to change.  Essentially, to activate the ‘let go and let God’ mentality.

Peace and love,

Marama Vaka Buiniga.