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Žare Veselič
Žare Veselič is a professional photographer. Foto: Luka Bogovčič
Fidži
Occasionally the temperature in Fiji drops to 20 degrees. Foto: Reuters

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On Fiji, Žare Veselič lives on land given to him by Chieftain

He plants, prunes, rears animals
19. March 2017 ob 06:15
Suva - MMC RTV SLO

On one of his numerous travels all over the world, the photographer Žare Veselič stopped on Fiji. The local Chieftain, owning more than one half of the island, fourteen years ago gave him a plot of land of four hectares. Since then Žare lives without a refrigerator, TV set, internet – in a house by the sea he made with his own hands.

"I surrounded the island in a boat, and choose this plot. It used to be a jungle. I asked for a loan in the local shop, and bought a chainsaw. I cut down three trees, and built a house. There is no house number, no water, no electricity, but here that doesn't matter. It is made of very hard wood, and it is still as new," he explained when he took part in the Global Village show on Val 202.

Solitude and self-supply right by the sea
His closest neighbour lives approximately three kilometres away. He is taking good care of his plot of land, which is characteristic of Slovenes, he claims. His days are filled with chores – he plants, collects produce, prunes trees, rears animals.

Occasionally he goes to a shop where they write down his purchase, to be paid later – it is a kind of a loan, based on trust. "I must admit that by your criteria my expenses would amount to between 70 and 100 euros per month. I grow vegetables, and fish. Sometimes I take a hike with my dog and visit a friend, who is a butcher – and then I eat meat for three days in a row, as I don't have a refrigerator. That's the occasion for hiking, meeting people, chatting, and being foolish."

In Slovenia, he misses empathy most of all
Occasionally he receives newspapers and magazines from Slovenia; he enjoys reading books as well. "I don't have a TV, and on the radio I listen to the station which plays 40 years old music, so that I remain forever young."

During his visits to the homeland he is mostly aware of the lack of empathy. Quite soon he starts missing Fiji. "Slovenia needs a lot of time to change. People come home, open their refrigerator, watch tv, nobody speaks to anybody. So that I don't miss neither the Triglav mountain nor skiing, and the stories about partisans and the members of the Home Guard don't move me anymore."

Pleasantly warm rice grain in the Pacific
The temperatures on Fiji occasionally plummet to 20 degrees; he jokes that then ne puts on a woollen cap. "Once I talked with a person from the neighbouring island about snow, and he told me he knew about snow; he claimed that once it was so terribly cold, around 16 degrees, and »shaggy« rain fell – therefore he believed he was familiar with snow."

Žare settled on the Fiji third largest island, the Garden Island, which is 43 kilometres long, 13 kilometres wide and has 11,000 inhabitants. He describes Fiji with its 300 islands, 60 of them inhabited, as a grain of rice in the Pacific, with as much sea as Italy and France put together.

Tadej Košmrlj, Val 202