The Duchess of Sussex took tea with British High Commissioner in Fiji instead of joining Prince Harry in the rainforest to protect her from the threat of the Zika virus.
Pregnant Meghan tried her hand at Fijian cooking when she helped make a traditional fruit breakfast dish while Harry unveiled a plaque dedicated to the Queen’s Canopy Project on the island to commit to protect the rainforest.
UK health authorities have classified Fiji as having a “moderate” risk of Zika virus transmission, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dawn and dusk.
The virus can cause abnormal birth defects in unborn babies, known as”microcephaly” and Guillain-Barré syndrome where babied are born with abnormally small heads that restricts brain functions.
Meghan and Harry took medical advice before travelling to the Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga, which both carry a Zika threat, and decided to proceed as long as the Duchess limited her time outside, especially rural areas.
Meghan attended a morning tea at the residence of the British High Commissioner where she met a room full of women who have broken out of their traditional roles.
They included a female pilot for Fijian Airways and a number of women serving in the police and military.
At a culinary demonstration she watched as cookery trainer Alisi Delai showed her how to make lote, which involved scraping the coconut flesh and using a hot stone to extract the juice. “That brings out the smoky flavour,” Ms Delai told her.
Ms Delai said afterwards: “I was showing her how to make lote. This is something we Fijians have for breakfast instead of porridge, or as a dessert.
“She wanted to mix all the ingredients together, to participate in making the lote.
“She also enjoyed me demonstrating how we sit with the coconut scraper.
“She found it very interesting, how we use our traditional methods of cooking, and how in Fiji we are very alive with our culture in terms of local cuisine. We like to show the local cuisine by using the local produce.”
The duchess also met a woman whose village was destroyed by Cyclone Winston in 2016, and has since earned a living by making baskets and beach bags which are sold through a not-for-profit organisation, Rise From The Reef.
Temalesi Vere, 44, who is married with five children, said three people were killed and 98% of the homes were destroyed when the cyclone hit her stretch of the coast in Ra province.
“I told her that the handicraft helped our family, and helped us to earn money,” said Ms Vere, who is a local coordinator for the organisation. “She really appreciated what we are doing here.”
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