Journey to Our Land


12/03 Koro Island, the Resort, and Checking out the Land
Our second morning here we went up to finally see our land. 

When Samantha decided 4 years ago to buy a piece of property on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere in the South Pacific, in a nation that has had multiple governmental coups over the last few decades I said, “You're crazy!” and I tried to talk her out of it “Our time in Taiwan has been the first time in our lives that we've had more money coming in than we've had going out and now you're going to spend it all.” I describe our relationship as a 'mutual dictatorship'. For the most part we make a great team, and we nearly always we make decisions together. But every once in a while there's a decision that one of us has to make against the will of the other. Buying land on Koro was one of those. The thing is, the few times that Sam's made those types of decisions, it's never been a mistake. After doing research on Koro, and especially after coming here and actually seeing the place, I believe this was also a good decision. We actually have something to call our own for the first time in our lives, and I'm sure that we'll eventually call this place home.

The land is just about how we'd hoped. It's about the size of a football field, it's not too sloped, it's a jungle, overgrown with vines and several huge magical trees with trunks full of 'buttresses'. 

We walked the land, and identified its boundaries with Samu who works for the guy we bought the land from. It seemed really big as we tromped around through the underbrush. There's a canopy over the whole place and only filtered light makes it to the ground. We really don't want to clear the land, but I think we'll have to get rid of a lot of the vines and little trees in order to really see what we have to work with. We'll also have to clear some of the forest canopy if we want enough light for a garden and fruit trees.
We learned a lot about what's growing there from Litia and Joeli (another of the locals who was helping us out). The magical trees are mature 'ivi' (Tahitian chestnut) trees that every year will produce hundreds of kilos of a nutritious nut. There's at least one mature 'tuvo' tree which produces a bland fruit but a tasty nut. There are several young 'rose apple' trees, which produce a massive amount of a tasty fruit that we've eaten many times in Costa Rica and Taiwan. There's also an edible fern and a Fiji wild 'spinach' called bele scattered all over the land. 

So, we should have a decent amount of food to supplement our supply of dry foods like rice and lentils. Except for the rose apples we'll have plenty of those other foods ready to eat when we start roughing it next week. It's going to be rough, but at least we'll have enough food.

So, as we walked the boundaries, we realized that the water catchment that Litia had Joeli and her sons installed the day before was not even on our land.
They put it about 10 meters into the Koro land preserve. Yes, we knew it would be temporary, but now we're at risk of having to move it when we need water the most. I guess it's a first-hand lesson about what people are saying that you have to be there every moment to make sure the job is done properly. Roughing it will be a lot rougher if we have to carry all of our water up 275 meters of hill. Luckily they didn't cut down any trees to clear the area for the roof and tank. We're really hoping that because they're locals and should know how things work, they're correct in telling us that it's ok where it is for the time being. We're supposed to get some rain soon, so there may still be time for us to have a water supply of some kind waiting for us. While we were there we cleared an area for our camp and will come up again in a day or two to get more prepared for our 3.5 months out here.

Samantha Chappell