THE village of Gahi (pronounced ngahi) on the island of Wallis became home away from home as members of Team Fiji made a one-day visit to the seaside village yesterday.
Members of the athletics, weightlifting, tae kwon do, sailing and va'a made the trip with Litia Senibulu leading the delegation.
"It was a very touching visit, they let us into their village and made us feel part of their family," she said.
Members of the team had expected a Sunday church service, but to their surprise, they were told that they would dance instead.
Field event specialist Milika Tuivanuavou said: "It was fun, a bit tiring, but fun."
Women's volleyball coach Kenneth Lidise presented Fiji's sevusevu to the chiefs and elders of Gahi Village. The team was later joined by referees who will officiate at the sevens tournament at the Pacific Mini Games.
And in a touching farewell, the villagers gifted each Fijian a traditional belts and necklaces made from shells.
Chief Halakilikili Tu'ulaki told the athletes and officials that the belts were nothing short of a gold medal.
"I would have loved to have Team Fiji stay with us a for a week at least but I know that's not possible," he said.
"A simple request that you wear these belts next Thursday as you depart Wallis."
In an emotional farewell, both, the team and the villagers sang their good byes and the team was wished well for the competition this week.