The Story of Fijian Shadows, Living through the Coup of 2000.
In 2000 I went to work at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. I was very excited at the prospect of living and working among so many different cultures and anticipated being there for 3 – 6 years. Unfortunately, after only four months a coup erupted, parliamentarians were held hostage in the parliament buildings and a huge village of rebel supporters grew in the parliament gardens. A situation that I naively thought would be resolved by the army in just a few days went on day after day, week after week, month after month. Every time we thought an agreement would be reached between the army and the rebels, violence broke out again. We were living in a situation where we did not know when it would end or what the outcome would be.
I stayed in Fiji for two years and have now written my memoir, trying to come to terms with living through those turbulent times. I have tried to balance the story of my work and life in Fiji with what happened politically and how it affected me. The stress of the total disruption of everyday life, with curfews, food shortages, roadblocks, two hours of electricity per day, water supplies threatened, escalating violence and just not knowing how or when this would all end, eventually ground everyone down. Our short escapes to experience the beauty of Fiji reminded us that Fiji could be a paradise.