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Fiji Time: 8:40 PM on Thursday 24 April

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'Fiji is paradise'

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"FIJI is paradise."

This is the observation of a group of American students who spent a week in Naboutini Village in Saqani, Cakaudrove.

The 18 students of Fresno State University travelled to the village to learn about the iTaukei way of living, and they couldn't get over how, although the living standard in the village was not like that of the States, the people were happy.

Student Maria Ortega said her first visit to Fiji had been her best life experience.

"I love this country and I love the people. They are so friendly and they look after us well," she said.

"Back home we hardly hear people laughing out loud but here in the village, people are happy, they are laughing and they just enjoy life.

"And when we see them happy, we also feel happy."

Fellow student Song Vang could not get over the yaqona sessions.

"I love drinking yaqona — I sit with the villagers every night to drink yaqona," she said.

"And the local food is the best I have tasted, so far especially the lovo.

"Fiji is blessed to have friendly and kind-hearted people."

Team head and Madventurer company owner John Lawler said the purpose of the visit was to show students the iTaukei lifestyle.

Mr Lawler, whose company organises such visits to Fiji, said the iTaukei people were very friendly.

"We have enjoyed our stay in Fiji, especially in Naboutini, and we will certainly return and continue our community work with the people of Naboutini," he said.