There has been excitement and anticipation in the village for a few months, with weekly fundraising activities. 30 people from Mangaliliu Village, mostly ‘Mummas’ with a few younger girls and a couple of young boys have been planning a trip to Fiji. I understand it is for a Cultural Exchange… learning about each other’s village life and handicrafts they make.
Our house lady, Leisong, is one of the Mummas going along. When she was here last week I asked her how she was getting to the airport on Sunday and if she would like a lift. She said that would be great. I asked her what time I should be in the village to pick her up and she said 9 in the morning. So I set a reminder to ensure I was there by 9!
At 6am I missed a call from her, then got a message saying she was ready now… so off I went (even before I had had a coffee, apparently 9am was a guess…), the village is only a couple of minutes’ drive up the road. When I got there the grounds outside the church were a hive of activity. All the Mummas were in matching blue Island dresses for their adventure, they were loading all the suit cases into the back of a public transport vehicle. These are usually 4×4 utes with a cage and tarp over the back part, and act as buses for the locals to get around the island. They were also waiting on a couple of Island buses to transport most of them to the airport.
After about half an hour the buses arrived and everyone had said their goodbyes, and off we headed in a convoy to Bauerfield airport. 2 public transport vehicles, 2 bus loads of Mummas and someone from the village driving a duel cab ute like ours, all full of the excited travelers and some family to see them off. The 4 ladies in my car chatted and laughed all the way, I wish I understood their language. We arrived at the airport all at once and the buzz was palpable. Most of them have never been in a plane before let alone gone to another country!
There were small group photos being snapped all around me, I asked the apparent team leader if we could get all the ladies together for a big group photo… It took a few minutes, but we did it… how wonderful do they look?
It was smiles all round, and possibly some nerves among the group, but mostly excitement. I feel privileged to have shared a part of their special day and I’m looking forward to meeting them at the airport on Sunday when they arrive home, and hearing about their adventures.
Cheers for now
Darleen in Paradise