Plant the seed
Worrying about where your next meal is coming from is not one of the problems you encounter when travelling with a chef. It is a problem however for many of the local Fijian people: who may earn as little as $3 per hour - or even less in some cases. Stretching their weekly wage around the market so that they can feed their families is a very real challenge and the standard of living is very humble in some places - both in the city and out in the villages.
Today was not so much of a photography day - we went to a number of meetings with local universities and training institutions who are charged with educating the local hospitality and tourism workers - the chefs, cooks and hospitality staff.
Colin has been working in the islands for over forty years and all that time he has been expounding the benefits of eating local: using locally grown produce to create a contemporary island cuisine. That's what our book is going to be about, and it's also what he teaches here.
The book is about giving something back to a country after many years of working in it, with the hope that local people can pair the amazing food available with the other big industry - tourism - to grow the economy and lift the standard of living for everyone. As Colin said today: if you want the fruit, you have to plant the seed.
Listening to it all makes me want to dive in and help: there is so much potential sitting here in this beautiful place, and potential unrealised has long been candy for me.
In the meantime, at the end of the day - and before the Friday traffic went crazy - we went for a drive so I could capture a little of life in the streets. It's strange what catches your eye. I'm developing a bit of a fascination with the buses: I love their open sides and how colourful they are. Suburban street life in New Zealand doesn't particularly interest me, but here it does, though I battle with the feeling I'm intruding on people's lives with my lens. Photography takes bravery sometimes to capture the essence of a place - especially when my European looks make me stick out like the proverbial pink papaya.
Tomorrow we're up early to hit the Saturday markets, and will then relocate again for the rest of the weekend. Guaranteed to be a big photography day!