The Fijian Way



One Humanity (the story of Roslyn)

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This is the story of Roslyn, a story that speaks to the collective goodness of our humanity. A story about people of all races, religions, and republics coming together during Roslyn’s moment of direr need.

It was 1:45 in Fiji, Lindsay and I were walking our usual route on a tormentingly hot and humid Friday to find a taxi. Our experiences with taxi’s and the drivers have stood out during our first month. Most destinations take a few minutes and are relatively inexpensive. The cars bring us through a time warp to the early 1990’s and the drivers are always willing to talk to you, especially with two young Americans. A country and a people that fijians seem to love. I also enjoy the conversations with our drivers and the stories that are shared. When the drivers ask us “why are you in Fiji? So far away from America.” We explain that we’re in Fiji to help our friends and the Fijian children who are deaf and that the children are housed and educated at a local deaf school. Most of the drivers are surprised to know that the deaf exist but seem intrigued by our service. Most days the driver drops us back at our hostel and we hand over a two dollar Fijian bill and our separate lives move on. On this friday, our taxi experience changed.

Before we reached our usual taxi pick up point, we looked to our left and heard a man in a taxi ask us if we needed his service. We were close enough to the top of the street so we jumped in. From the moment I placed my umbrella against the seat he told us that he was tired. We barely heard him or just didn’t expect to hear these words, so we asked him to say it again. “I’m tired, I went to bed at three and woke up at six.” I’m looking at this middle aged man thinking to myself, ‘must of been a great night drinking.’ Speaking out loud I asked him why he was up so late. “I was in the hospital with my daughter, she has a brain tumor.” Our eyes hit the ceiling, stunned with the man’s heartbreaking honesty, and with the pain that stained his every word. ‘Brain tumor!’ we replied, so sorry, we’re so sorry. Lindsay quickly told our driver that she is a nurse and hears his pain. At a loss for words, I told him I’ll be praying for him and his daughter. ‘What’s her name sir?’ “Roslyn” as he drove around anther corner, closer to our destination. ‘Your name?’ “Babu.” ‘How old is your daughter?’ Lindsay asked, “she is seven.” At this point our eyes had gone beyond the ceiling, still stung by the moment. “She has been everywhere” he uttered urgently. “On television, in the newspapers, everyone knows about her. We’re sending her to Australia to have surgery. I’ve already raised thirty-six thousand dollars.” ‘How much is the surgery?’ we asked. “Thirty-eight thousand, I’ve already sold my car, my house, everything I own. Local businesses are working together with the local papers and have set up an account for my daughter, people have been giving for the last week. The catholic church paid for the plane tickets and have been to the hospital everyday to pray with her. My wife is catholic and I’m muslim, both religions have been so helpful. People have even been giving off the street after reading about my daughter in the papers and watching her on the news.” ‘Are tumors rare in Fiji?” Lindsay asked. “Yes very much so, not many tumors in Fiji” Babu replied as his voice trembled in desperation for Roslyn’s direr need. “Everyone is poor, everyone isn’t rich you know.” Our stop was now in front of us and we were rummaging through our wallet to pay him for the ride. As I was looking through our money, his toned changed and he told us that she’ll be okay. “We’re going to raise the money and she’ll be healed of this tumor.” I gave him the amount for the ride and the few dollars we had left over for Roslyn. We put our hands on his shoulder and said we will pray for you. As I was shutting the door I looked at him and said “trust in God.” As the door slammed shut and he drove around the corner, I looked back from a distance and muttered to myself, ‘may he trust in the God that he believes in.’ The truth is it seemed that he was not only trusting a God, he was trusting in the goodness of people to help his daughter. Our eyes still wide open, overwhelmed by the power of Roslyn’s unfolding story, we walked on around are own corner. Yet after this taxi experience something had changed. Neither the driver or Lindsay and I were moving on to our own separate lives. The truth had been spoken.

Nothing is our own, we’re intrinsically linked with one another. Babu is a muslim man, his wife is catholic. The surgery is in Australia, the money has come from business men, poor families, perfect strangers, and even a few dollars from an american couple. The news of Roslyn came from both competing newspapers, television reports and word of mouth spread throughout the city and tribal lines in the villages of Fiji. Everyone was coming together to help Roslyn in her time of need.

I’m learning many things during this season in Fiji, what I learned today is a truism for the world. Our tribal, socioeconomic, country, and religious lines of discord and division, vanish when we’re confronted with a story like Roslyn’s. There’s a place for debate and civil discussion when it comes to our ideas, and spiritual understandings, but it can’t divide us. Many of the powers that be, especially those within religion, are at work to remind us of all that we’re not. Reminding us of how different we are, of our divided history, and of the wrongs that have been done to us or to our friends and family. A unifying movement is finding it’s roots in the world that I’m seeing. Through the dividing lines, tribal wars, and common misunderstandings, deep within our bones there’s a collective goodness that binds our humanity together. It’s in these moments that I’m awakened to this reality often unseen.

Reminding ourselves of our intrinsic unity is our continued challenge. A challenge that can start with a seven year old girl who has a brain tumor and continue with erasing poverty or the lack of clean drinking water. It goes beyond ourselves and into our communities and the world surrounding us. This is true not because of where we come from or because of our religiosity. We come together to help one another because it reflects our one humanity.

It took Babu and his love and willingness to share the unfolding story of Roslyn, to remind me of this original and eternal truth.

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Comments

  1. wow, this is so beautiful! i will be praying! what will you say if you see this man again?

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 8 months ago
  2. * livefromfiji says:

    I would like to give him a copy of this. I’d want to listen and hear how his daughter is doing. Depending on what he says, depends on how I’ll respond.

    Thanks for your prayers. I’m sure Roslyn, Babu, and their whole family need it.

    This story is inspiring and it gives us hope. Also challenging because it calls us to continued action.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 8 months ago
  3. hey, there’s a sweet program for mac (and i think there’s a windows version out there too) called booksmart. it actually enables you to “slurp” a whole blog into book format, along with comments people have left on your posts. i’m going to do it with the 99things blog i’m currently working on, as well as with a few columns i’m in the process of writing about hartford. they’re relatively cheap, prices start at around 12 bucks for a basic square book in full color. :) http://www.blurb.com

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 8 months ago


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