We thank our numerous guests who have happily supplied, for public viewing, pictorial memories and comments of their Fijian Village Homestays. We respect the privacy of the many more who have contacted us and are now "spreading the word" about their happy memories in a more personal way. Comments will only be placed irregularly because we do not want this page to become too bulky to load.

Phone 07 38927333 for enquiries in Australia, or Int 617 38927333 from overseas. Or email us at this link.
Sharon Flint June 2011 Bula Scott,

Sharon Flint here, my aplogies for not emailing you sooner. I just had to let you know what a BRILLIANT holiday stay we had at Namuamua in May 2011. Right from the initial greeting from our host TUI who met us outside the supermarket with his 2 beautiful sons we just knew that we were going to be safe and have a wonderful time. And we were right. My children and husband and I were blown away by the hospitality and warmth we received from the village. We have made true life friends and we hope to return soon to visit this spectacular village Well done on allowing us and others to have this wonderful opportunity of experiencing a village stay with the most beautiful people in the world. Could you please report back to Tui, Inoke, Vika and Grandma Nina, mother Theresa on how inviting and hospitable they were and how my family had the best holiday of their life. My children have already told me that they will bring their children to the village one day when they are parents. Staying at Namumua was better than any 5 star resort!!!!

Kind regards

Sharon Flint

PS. Your are welcome to put this email in your Gallery for other prospective travellers to reliase this is a must place to visit whilst in Fiji. Thanks again Scott, we are still talking about this holiday to our friends a month after our arrival home.

Margo Lemcke July 2010 Hi Scott

We had a wonderful time staying with Toye and his family in Malevu village. I have some photos I would like to post to them, but have misplaced their postal address. Could you please email this to me when you have time.

Many thanks

Margo Lemcke

Eva Cochrane January 2010 I just wanted to thank Tui and your beautiful family and friends at Namuamua for our amazing trip. We have introduced your beautiful culture back here in Australia and made our friends jealous of our Wananavu trip. For anyone looking for a culturally rich experience I highly recommend a village visit for any traveller wanting to see Fiji for what it really is. We hope to come back and visit you guys soon. Vinaka and hopefully we will see you soon.

Eva (Here are some photos of our week stay at Namuamua)

Amy McDonald December 2009 Bula Scott!

First, we want to say that we are so thankful that we found your village homestay program and were able to take advantage of the opportunity that you have created through this wonderful program. Living in a village with a Fijian family was truly an experience of a lifetime. We spent 5 days with Toye & his family in Malevu village and it was the most amazing piece of our 3 weeks in Fiji. Wed love to share our experience! How can we add our comments and photos to your FijiBure.com website for others to see?

Amy

Greg Orr May 2009 Hey scott

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know what an amazing time I had in Fiji, it was full of adventure weirdness and pure delight.

I have just fallen in love with the people the photography was extremely successful. The link to my web galleries is here. Im in the midst of prepping a book of my Fijian work. I spent also 2 days in suva which was just so much fun. I even had a tour of Fiji 1 tv which was fun considering I work in tv. I may go back later in the year work permitting as I have some other things I would like to accomplish and see there..

Just had a ball. You are quite welcome to link my gallery to your site.

Best wishes

greg

Jackie Wilce October 2008 Hi Scott -

All went marvellously well with our stays at Matacawalevu and Malevu. We were made to feel very welcome and so enjoyed seeing the local lifestyle. Thank you for your help getting us there.

Best Regards

Jackie

Keturah and Morne de Klerk November 2007 hey Scott,

Sorry its taken awhile, but here are some of our wedding photos at Namatakula, 9th Nov.

We were with Simon and Judith for 3 nights and of course we wish it had been longer. Our wedding was great, we were very surprised by the effort that was put in to decorating the church and ourselves, we werent expecting anything at all! I will hopefully soon get around to sending hard copies to the village as well.

We have some great photos of our homestay experience if you are interested for the website, just let us know.

We are going to South Africa next year (Morne is Sth African) and I just saw from your newsletter that there are some homestays being established there. Are any up and running yet?

Merry Christmas!

sincerely

Keturah and Morne de Klerk

Alicja and Dave June 2007 Hello Scott

We have just came back from Fiji and I would like to share with you some pictures. I promised Emma from Namuamua to send a copy for her and I will do that for sure. We would like to thank you and all fantastic people we met in villages for the best honeymoon I would never change for any 5 star hotel. Believe it or not but more our stories and memories are from Namuamua than from wedding. Staying with Emma was incredible, also it showed us how spoiled we are in our life. I have never been so happy sitting on the floor, eating by hands and play with fantastic kids. Well, I cant forget about kava ;-) lots of kava....

Namatakula was fantastic as well and Rosie is the best cook I have ever met. I wish we could spend more time there.

Scott, we heard a lot about you and we would like to thank you for helping these people out and also showing us a real life. You must be a fantastic person!

If you need any help or anybody wants to keep in touch with us to find out about our experience please feel free to write to us. I will put some stories on my website soon. Hopefully more people will find out about home stay in Fiji

Regards

Alicja and Dave Email at this link

Sarah Swain October 2006 Three page article in Wellbeing magazine liftout "Escape Guide" headed Fijian Family Stay.

Extracts

The day begins when the cockerel crows from its perch in the nearby mango tree....

Even walking up the village's main street is a pleasure. Children come running to see you and even the adults lean out of their windows or stop chopping their vegetables on the doorstep to say "Bula!"

See the article here: page one, page two, page three

Henry and Dawn July 2006 Just a short note to say hello ( bulla ) from Henry and Dawn, ( friends of Ray Jeffress ).

We really enjoyed our time in Fiji and we would like to thank you for your part.

Now are things in the village of Namatakula?

If we hear of anyone going to Fiji, we'll be sure to mention you, to them.

Bye for now

Henry and Dawn

Frances Onions

and

Jenny Price
June 2006 Dear Scott,

My friend and I have just returned from Fiji on the 14th June after spending 4 nights at Namatakula Village and 4 nights on Denearu Island. I'm just writing to let you know both of us really enjoyed our stay at the village. We are both emergency nurses working with Queensland Health and this opportunity to get away and get back to basics was just what we needed.

Jenny and I really enjoyed becoming involved in the day to day activities of the village even though we were there for such a short length of time. We felt that we would have liked to be asked to join in family meals much sooner. Even though Simon and Judy were excellent hosts, we would have loved to be involved with a wider circle of village people such as Rosa and her husband and children. We loved our last night with the luvo but we would have enjoyed being part of that scene every night sitting on the floor in the kitchen. I think that it would have been nice to ask people if they would like to join this kind of activity maybe on the 2nd or 3rd night after arrival.

Both of us hope to return to Fiji in the near future and work at a local clinic being set up by our friend Dr Dip Chand who is here in Australia at present upgrading his skills. We are promoting your village stay with many friends at work and hopefully you will get some more business

Your truly

Frances Onions and Jenny Price

Sara Borrman April 2006 Hello.

Just wanted to let you know we went on our trip and had a fabulous time. Loise was great, very helpful. And Simon and Judith were terrific.

I do feel very glad that we stayed in the villages rather than the resorts and the money went to locals. We did drink kava with the men in the next village with the ferry driver as we stopped to let them work on the generator at the school and we did present the chief with kava but that was on account of the delay of the ferry Aisake had told us he would give it to the chief after we left. It all worked out quite well but it was all in Fiji 'no worry no hurry' style which was great for us but was not what we were anticipating. So many thanks and I had a wonderful unforgettable experience. Simon and Judith's niece gave us a tour of thier village and the beach which I'll never forget.

Sara

Nick Williams. March 2006 Scott,

Thanks for the newsletter....

I didn't get a chance to say thank you for the wonderful time I had at Matacawalevu. Even though it was only a short stopover , they went out of their way to make me feel right at home.

Kind regards,

Nick Williams.

Therese and Kevin Moloney and Family February 2006 Dear Scott,

We have just returned from our village stay at Namuamua where we had a most memorable 5 days. Friendly Simon picked us up from our hotel and delivered us to our long boat at Navua where Emma and Tomas were waiting. Namuamua Village was certainly the right village for our family. Emma, Tomas and Nina were excellent hosts. Activities such as swimming in the river, horse-riding, trekking to the water falls, rafting ,joining in the church service were enjoyed by all.

The village people were most welcoming of us, and our children particularly enjoyed the company of the village children. Food was plentiful, even if eating sitting on the floor and with our hands was a little difficult. After a couple of days they presented Kevin with a chair as they could see that he wasn't coping too well getting up and down!

Simon kindly asked us to his home for lunch on our way back to Nadi. We really enjoyed the beautiful meal and the tour around his village.

We will certainly recommend the village stay to our friends. We would give it ten out of ten for a Fijian cultural experience.

Thanking you

Regards,
Therese and Kevin Moloney and Family

Jessie Roper and Andrew Bynon. January 2006 Hi Scott

I just wanted to write to say that on our recent visit to fiji we had a great time staying with Arami and Litia in Nukuseri Village.

It was awsome to know that we where the first visitors to the village to do a home stay and they made us feel so special during our stay.

While we where there Arami took us on a mountain trek to see waterfalls, took us for a tube ride along the Navua river, took us bareback horse riding along the river and for a ride on a billi- billi to a waterfall- which we climbed and caught fresh water prawns.

We would encourage anyone going to fiji to visit Nukuseri village and thank you and everyone in the village for organsing such a great holiday for us.

Jessie Roper and Andrew Bynon.

Wayne Byerly December 2005 Scott,

We stayed with Sirelii and Mari in Naroro and had a wonderful time. They were great hosts and we can't say enough about how wonderful it is to actually learn about a culture by staying with villagers. Everyone else at the fort and village were very kind to us as well.

Speaking about the program in general, it fits us exactly. We like to do adventures that are in a controlled environment without having to be extremely physical. Also, we would want the country to be fairly safe, and not too many worries about health, food or pollution problems. It is wonderful to learn about a culture by actually living in it.

Thank you,

Trudy Byerly

Julia Broman November 2005 Scott, I just returned from Sigatoka (a part of our yearly eye medical mission trip to work in the new eye clinic at the hospital) and had the opportunity to visit with Sireli and staff again. Just a quick visit to say hello and tell them what a great time I had last year and what great hosts they were to me. As I was their first guest I feel a special relationship to the village. I loved the improvements to the administration bure, tables, and a trip up to Tavuni Hill again. Of course, most of my time was spent working at the hospital with long hours in the clinic and surgery.

What a great place Naroro is and Sireli is an outstanding host for your organization and a very kind friend to me. The Shangri-la Fijian has provided us with reduced rate housing so the 18 of us were staying there.

Julia Broman

Tahei Simpson October 2005 Dear Scott

We stayed with Toe Momonikese and his family at Malevu in August 2005, a unique experience for our family. The food was always delicious, fresh and lovingly prepared and presented. We very much enjoyed the bananas, green coconuts and fresh fish and eating the meals, prepared by Toe’s wife Sarah, in the specially made bure . Our daughter Lucy was always entertained with the children in the village, especially the pre-schoolers and Toe’s son Mika.

Toe was a fantastic host, taking us around Malevu and to visit neighbouring villages such as Marau where we observed a lale drum being adzed, Naviti District School and Yasawa High School. We will always remember the smell of the cooking fires, the mosquito nets and four-poster beds, the bunches of freshly caught fish, the boeboe plants (very much like our harakeke, or flax, in New Zealand with which we weave mats etc), the shade of the breadfruit trees, the men raking the village’s paths in the early mornings, coconuts falling “ka-thunk!” onto the ground, drinking rain water, roosters crowing from well before dawn, the big smiles and friendly greetings of “bula!” and the low-key kava ceremony on our last night.

Thanks for the few days we had to share some of our culture with yours Toe, we will always remember them fondly. Arohanui, na Charl Hirschfeld, Tahei Simpson and Lucy, Auckland, New Zealand.

Charl, Lucy & Toe - Yasawa High School; Lucy with the lale at Marau; & Lucy with friends

Thanks Scott

Tahei

Graham & Robyn Keating September 2005 Dear Scott

As promised, a small note of feedback. We would like to express our thanks for the opportunity of experiencing true fijian life in a Fijian village. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at both villages and we would be prepared to do it again but perhaps try other villages in the network such as Korosilovo or Benga etc.

We loved the basic down to earth experience of Namuamua village and the intermediate comforts of Namatakula, but most of all, the cultural experience of both these villages.

We loved our experience and the hosts at the two villages, Thomasi & Nina at Namuamua and Simon & Judith at Namatakula, could not have been more accommodating.

Please thank them both and tell them that we will write and send photos in the very near future.

Have attached a photo of the farewells at Namuamua and Namatakula, hope Thomasi and Simon think they are as good as we do.

Regards

Graham (GJ to Nina) & Robyn Keating

At Namuamua

At Namatakula

Tim & Annika Dillenbecke August 2005 Dear Scott,

Thank you for making it possible to have a holiday in villages. We spent 11 nights in Fiji and visited three villages - Rookwa, Namuamua and Namatakula. They are all so different and we are happy that we went to more than one. The hosts looked after us very well everywhere, and in Rookwa we were among the first visitors since they had just opened their village for guests. Namuamua was the most cultural experience for us since we felt part of the village community there more than in any of the other villages that we visited. Namatakula is where we finished off the holiday and just relaxed, slept in comfortable beds, did some sightseeing with Simon and got spoiled by Judith and the girls with lots of lovely food.

We really had a top holiday!

Tim & Annika
Gold Coast, QLD

Phil and Jacqui Collins August 2005 Scott.

Just writing to say thanks for setting up such a wonderful way for us to get the true feel of Fiji.

Our only regret at staying at the Naroro village for 2 nights, (4 & 5/7/05), was not staying for 2 weeks!

Sireli and Mary were wonderful hosts, and thier team of helpers at the base of Tavuni Hill made our short stay a most memorable one.

We all, including all of our 4 children had a far more enjoyable time there, than at the resort we spent the rest of our time at, and really appreciated being welcomed into a loving community, a world away from where we live in the big city of Sydney.

We were taxied from Nadi to Naroro by none other than Simon of Namatakula, so whilst we were at our later stop at the Naviti resort, we ended up having a hearty meal with Simon and Judith at Namatakula, after a tour of the village, many thanks to Tema.

Another memorable experience.

We've posted to both villages, a few of our hundreds of photos, in appreciation of the hospitality shown to us, and we attach 4 of them, if you wish to use them on your web site.

Photos taken at Naroro

We wish you and all the participating villages the best for the future.

We'll spread the word!

Phil, Jacqui, Sam, Jessica, Emma, and Mikaela Collins,
Melbourne

Janette Gray July 2005 Dear Scott,

Just wanted to let you know how much our entire family enjoyed our visit to Namatakula.The warm welcome extended to us, not only by Simon, Judith and their delightful family, but by the entire village touched us all. The visits to the church and local school greatly contributed to our understanding of Fijian culture. In fact Isabel, our 18 year old, is now investigating the possibility of doing some volunteer work later in the year in a Fijian school or hospital.I think she fell in love with the school children!

Congratulations on your efforts to establish such a worthwhile scheme.

Janette Gray

PS. By coincidence, Lyn & Ian Jelley, who were at the village at the same time as us were also booked on the same Captain Cook cruise. We all embarked on an enthusiastic promotional campaign for fijibure so hopefully we have increased interest in the scheme.

Intrepid Travel June 2005 Hi Scott

I spent the night at Namatakula with the group. It was fantastic, everyone was enjoying the experience and the feedback was great. Simon and Judith were great and Tema was looking after the group really well. The rest of the people there were also fantastic.

Jeff

Christina Theon May 2005 Dear Scott,

Thank you so much for a fabulous experience with Simon and Judith... Much appreciated and an experience we will never forget. They are such a nice family, great people.

It's so amazing what you have done - we met the man who I believe is the "chief" at the new Yasawa Island home-stay and he was such a pleasant man. Good for you... We look forward to coming back to Fiji some day and staying at a home stay again.

Take care,

Christina Thoen

Enid Nuttall April 2005 Just writing to say how much I enjoyed my holiday in Fiji. All the host families were very friendly and welcoming. The accommodation was very good and food was delicious. It was a bit of a shock to come home to my cooking.

The boat trip up the river to Namuamua was fantastic and my bum lasted the distance but I am glad it wasn't any further.

Did the little adventure trip to the waterfall on the horse (a first for me) and down the river on a raft. Went to chouir practice at the Methodist Church and visited the school and health centre.

Jenny Jacobs March 2005 We thank Jenny for these happy memories... that she sent us for publication.

Jenny visited the villages of Naroro and Naiseuseu - and celebrated her birthday at Naiseuseu.

Getaway  (Channel 9 Television Australia) - their comments on FijiBure.com

(Getaway is Australia's leading travel show and has an audience of two million)

February 2005 Getaway report

Both floors of the house at Namatakula have flush toilets and showers. Water from the Namatakula River is purer than that you find in bottles. The electricity supply is reliable and Judith's culinary skills are legendary. She serves taro, fish, meat, rice and fruit presented on a cloth on the ground and eaten with knife and fork once grace has been said.

Traditional feasts are unforgettable. Food is wrapped and cooked in leaves, buried in the ground with hot rocks, unearthed when cooked and eaten with the hands while you are serenaded by the village band.

More on Getaway's website at this link

Marg and Rob January 2005 Hi Scott

Thanks for the update.I have meant to touch base with you since our return from our village stay in Dec that you helped us arrange.

The hospitality tops in every way. Sirelli was a great host along with his "helpers" !!. We will be watching with anticipation on the 17th (for FijiBure's coverage on "Getaway"). Sounds good.

Keep up the good work, we will from our end for sure.

Kind Regards

Marg & Rob

Daniela Laich January 2005 Dear Scott,

I stayed in Namuamua a couple of weeks ago and had the best time ever. It made our (my sister was with me) stay in Fiji very memorable. Thanks a lot!

During some internet research I saw that the fort is owned and operated by a village which takes part in Fijibure.com! So I wanted to ask you if you think I might be able to arrange interviews with some of the villagers who were involved in the implementation of a University project.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Kind regards,

Daniela

Vicki Mynott


December 2004 Dear Scott

Glad your trip to Fiji went well.

Newly-harvested Cassava. We also cooked some bananas (they have several types). But there was not one pineapple ripe in Toye’s garden at that time, to his chagrin. (I was told he paid F$3 for one from the shop in the next village for our Lovo feast).

I did find my 4 days in Malevu interesting!

I had just spent time in the Denaru Island enclave: I do like a bit of luxury - but the resort scene is the same the world over........ So, to be part of a real community in Fiji was a quite dramatic - and sobering - contrast.

Toye and his family did all they could to make my stay comfortable and interesting! Their daughters slept in the guest house, neighbours brought dishes to taste, and the children were a delight!

Coconuts – this low variety is the favourite – obviously!! Coconut milk is the standard flavour. They buy only flour, sugar (the sweet buns are great), soap and fuel.I was happy to wander on the beach and the reef, go to the gardens - and rest! No snorkling and no mountain for me....

I visited the high school - and have sent photos to both the school and the family.

Thank you for the background information and planning. Everything went like clockwork!

It was evident that I contributed to this community, and I count my Malevu visit as one of the more equitable trips I have taken.

Regards

Vicki Mynott

More images from Vicki's Malevu homestay at this link



John R Nelson November 2004 My wife and I have had the pleasure of spending a short time at the home of Simon and Judith Batibasaga in Namatakula as part of FijiBure homestays. Both of us wanted to learn more about native Fijian culture and village life. Although we do have a room in a Fiji resort for the entire week, we preferred this opportunity to experience a taste of the real Fiji and the wonderful people.

I would definately recommend homestays to friends or family.  

Various November 2004 Guests congratulate FijiBure.com on first year of operation
Chris Cooper October 2004
I stayed with the Batibasaga family in Fiji’s Namatakula village only last week on Sun 26th September. We had an excellent stay with the family and the accommodation, facilities, hospitality and whole experience was terrific, and just as we had expected based on the information on FijiBure.com. Scott Balson’s work in creating and promoting this Fiji home-stay industry is worthy of great praise as I have seen first-hand the benefits this is bringing to the families and villages concerned.

Judith Turner September 2004 The whole "homestay" in a village idea is fantastic.

We are back from beautiful Malevu. It was an experience of a life time for all of us, and one I am sure we will not forget. The village people are amazing, very welcoming and friendly. We were surprised to find we were their first "visitors" as such, which made it all the more special. The kids had a great time playing rugby "Fijian" style and snorkelling, swimming and collecting shells.

Malevu was, as you described it, a beautiful place. The snorkelling, octopus catching and beaches were amazing, it was the most beautiful place we've seen.

Regards

Judy, Jordyn and Alex Turner, Stuart and Mitchell Harrigan

James Goodman and Family September 2004 Just got back from our homestay and wanted to provide some feedback:-
  • Judith and Simon were great hosts, full of enthusiasm and good stories.
  • Their home was more modern than I expected, and quite comfortable.
  • The food was of a high standard and Simon and Judith made an effort to eat every meal with us.
  • It was great getting to know Simon, Judith and Tema. It would be even better if we had the opportunity to interact with other family or village members.
  • The villages are used to seeing tourists and were all very nice to us, particularly when they heard we were homestay. Part of the attraction of a homestay is that we don't know much of the local culture, and the villagers don't know much of ours.
  • We really enjoyed the school visit, and it was nice to be asked to speak in classes. Somehow getting a warning about the speaking would have helped us.

A great idea concept. Keep up the good work, and good luck with the Fijian Tourism Minister.

Kaye Ellery August 2004 Our stay with Simon & Judith was definitely a highlight and such a special experience. Simon picked us up as promised and took us to the Forte, Sigatoka & the Craft Shop on the way back to Namatakula as you had suggested. The food was magnificent and the whole family were great hosts. We were also lucky enough to be a part of their grandson’s fourth birthday celebrations which was a special treat. We really enjoyed the village tour with Tema and she took us to a beautiful beach, showing us a burial cave along the way. Judith took us to church on the Sunday morning. Although they go to the Assembly of God, as we had discussed that I was originally Methodist so she actually took us to the Methodist church which was very kind of her. They are all truly wonderful people.

Photos from Kaye:

Rosa in the kitchen

Simon and Judith

Emma Doud August 2004 From Emma's Blog Diary...

We were met by Simon who was our homestay host. He drove us back to his family's place in Namatakula. His wife Judith met us out front and they almost immediately had us inside eating the most delicious meal I have had in a LONG, LONG time! fish cooked between plantains, octopus cooked in soy sauce, a plate of sliced tapioca, taro, and sweet potato, and meat in taro leaves. definitely slept well and woke up to a cloudy but not raining day. Then Tema took us out walking on the reef during low tide and taught us to catch octopus! find it hiding in a hole, pull it out, then turn the head inside out and rip off the ink bags. we found 5... then tried some raw sea urchin.. back home we sat around in the kitchen with the women chatting for a bit. then had a kava ceremony with some of the guys from the clan. interesting root like taste for sure. not that bad though. makes your mouth go numb but didn't really have any cool effect on me or emily. huge dinner of parrot fish, eggplant, and chicken with noodles.

Christine and son Aiden July 2004 Wow!!!

We're back from our absolutely wonderful adventure and relishing the below zero temperatures in Canberra (not!).

We're already planning our return to Namuamua.

Libby June 2004 I had a very special time with Dite and Saimoni et al. There were plenty tears on departure. I shall certainly be keeping in touch and will write a wee piece for your website if you like. In the meantime though, could you please pass on my very best wishes to the family and let them know i think of them often with very fond memories. And wish them luck for their celebrity appearance this weekend.
Limor Schwartz May 2004

Photos at this link

I had such a great time, that I have recommended this to everyone.

Mr and Mrs Phil Lou & their son May 2004 Images follow shortly

Phil and his wife are currently (May 2004) staying at Namatakula on an extended visit - what started as a three days stay has now been extended for over a week.... the extension came as a direct result of pressure from their young nine year old son who did not want to leave. (Our young son reckons village homestays beats Disneyland any day - he meets real people and makes REAL friends!)

Phil is sending us images soon.

Mary Ann April 2004

The happiest memories of a lady in her 60s - photos here

My happiest memories were the true feeling of being fully accepted as part of the Batibasaga's family - something I have never before experienced in over forty years of travel and staying at B&Bs.

A special experience was attending Church and meeting so many beautiful and friendly village people. I WILL be back!

Ed and Carly
April 2004

Visits to Namatakula, Namuamua and Naiseuseu by a couple in their 20s

Thanks again for the wonderful stay in the villages, we had an amazing time at Namatakula, Namuamua and Naiseuseu. More pics at this link

Have been checking the fijibure website frequently, it seems as though the hometays are becoming a huge hit, its brilliant. I especially like the pages on the floods in Namuamua, very informative. It was hard explaing to relatives about what we had experience, or just missed, but its easy now, thanks