All in a day in Vavau

All in a day in Vavau

The cruisers stage a weekly Friday night sailboat race in the harbor. Knowing Lucka wanted more sailing experience I hooked her up with Mary Powell to crew. Our new crew, Tom, and I went to the pre race meeting and got on another boat—a vintage Alberg 35, owned by a great single handler, Jim.

The course wove through the harbor around anchored boats and was made exciting by fluky winds. The start, as in most cases, determined the outcome and we were a dash late across the line. It was fun to watch Mary Powell fight for top honors as we steadily gained from behind. We all met at the Vavau Yacht Club for post race rivalry. Lucka was amazed at how close the boats came around the marks—that’s racing!

Earlier at our daily trip to the market I chatted with my new friend Mapa, she invited us to her small village to attend a festival for her church. So after the race we all piled in a cab and headed for Matalika, Mapa greeted the cab as we pulled up to yet another amazing cultural experience. We were the only Pangais to attend and were greeted warmly by the villagers. The division of roles was interesting; the men sat quietly in a circle drinking cava, the teenagers stood across the street and watched, the kids danced wildly at every chance and the ladies joined them in Tongan dress. The ladies brought beautiful cakes to sell for the fund raiser and many of the dancers received money stuck on their oily bodies as per tradition.

A very stately lady of large statue asked—ok demanded –that I dance with her. Big Mama and I became instant friends. The kids took to dancing with me and it became a dance a thon with them—leaving me panting and exhausted by with a big smile. Again I was dazzled by the pure happiness of these kids. They act with freedom and are totally uninhibited yet respectful. They truly danced like no one was watching as the saying goes. They are raised in a simple life; disciplined and loved by devoted parents who seem to know when to guide and when to set back and watch. Each kid is “raised by a village” a village of relatives from large extended families that seem to give a foundation missing in so many American homes. I am far far from a kid expert but I know when I see something that works. I would take a week here above all the “how to raise kid books” in Barnes and Noble if I were a new parent.

Cautious of custom but wanting to add something I inquired as to the acceptance of Lucka and I doing a swing dance—something we have become good at—and it was met with glee. As we danced the folks tried to attach money to us. We raised nearly 30 bucks for their church and received a hearty applaud.

We left our new friends as they all bid us good bye and a warm “malo” .

As we left I told Tom to get used to being thrust into strange and wonderful situations as Furthur seems to attract them. Every day is a new adventure!