Grand Holiday Part 2...from Fr 'Ekuasi
Greetings once again from the Old Capital!
As I mentioned earlier my holiday was simply, awesome! This was due to many things but first and foremost, just being at home brings familiar sentiments of love, warmth, and strong sense of family. Indeed the spirits of Fatai & 'Ekuasi are still very much intact at home!
I was able to clean the ma'ala and the manioke otherwise Napa wouldn't agree that my holiday was a grand one! I knew I wasn't able to clean the manioke on my own so I sought the assistance of the faikava gang. The first two that put up their hands were Fonua & Palema because they knew there would be 'wash-down' after!
The arrival of Manoa was like icing on the cake! It was certainly great to catch up with him. Everyone at home was surprised by how well and healthy he looked. Manoa has well maintained his size and even slightly slimmer. Those at home began to guess either the family starves or overworks him. Well, they were all wrong because according to Manoa he goes with Lovi to the gym almost everyday, and even walking exercise. I also noticed he was careful with his diet, not taking salt and fatty stuff. Wow, how about that for a new year resolution!!! Fr.'Unaloto should be the first one to take heed of that, oooops!!
The Matahau youth were quick to utilize Manoa's piercing voice in our kava sessions. Our church choir was also grateful that Manoa came in for the rescue during the Christmas carols and Mass, otherwise the Te'ekiu choir would have been boastful with their youthful singing. Unfortunately, Manoa had to leave just after 2 weeks due to his Visa from the Vava'u Embassy!!
The other highlights of my holiday were the sessions with the Prime Minister, Fred Sevele. First the Press Conference, then the lunch and cocktail at his residence, and finally the faikava session at Matahau. In all these events the PM was present and so were Tu'ivakano and a few Ministers of the Cabinet. No wonder Tu'ila in his welcoming speech at Matahau said, "for the first time in history the Parliamentary session is being held at Matahau"!!! Personally, there's nothing to boast about but just humbly grateful that they acknowledged the work that we do for the people of God. I joked to them at Matahau that it's nothing new for me rubbing shoulders with nobles and chiefs as I play golf together with the PM and President of Fiji!!
The Uike Lotu 2010 for Matahau proved to be a huge success in terms of getting the faithful to pray, work, and socialize together. The theme "Mo'ui Ma'a mo Ma'oni'oni (Life of Purity and Holiness)" was chosen after consulting those at home. It was an ideal one and in line with the Year of Priest, a challenge and invitation to live a life of purity and holiness.
As usual my officer, Fonua, was in full alert and active! The faifekau of the Weslyan church whom I knew from Tafahi, also agreed that my officer would operate from his side as well! On the last night during the social I called upon my officer to come forward and call out the names of those who were either late or absent from the church services and work sessions. When my officer walked up zigzagly, everyone could tell that he wasn't fully alert! Nonetheless, he was still able to call out the names and it took him almost half an hour to do that, much to the frustrations of the crowd! Anyway, he was secured as the faifekau and myself flanked him in case of a planned sabotage! Once all the names were called, their penalty was to put money on the officer while he attempted to do some form of tau'olunga! We collected enough money to pay off those who had long overdue water bills. In our final mass I told the congregation to pray for Fonua instead of making fun of him, as he was able to clear their bad debts. I had to call up my officer before the final prayer and gave him a solemn blessing. I then said, "My officer's body is sacred and he has been consecrated for a sacred duty in the Church of Matahau. Therefore, no one is allowed to touch or attempt to cause bodily harm to him"! I could see the smiling faces of the congregation in contrast to the confident look on Fonua's face. At least he feels safe that when I leave they won't beat him up!!
The anti-climax to my holiday was the fire that burned down completely Mele'ufi & Folau's family house. Fortunately, it happened in mid-afternoon because a life would have been lost had it occured at night. We tried to comfort Mele & Folau, and they know that another house can still be possibly built and thus grateful that no life was lost.
So there you are, that's the final account of my holiday. All in all it was indeed a grand one as I was able to relax, re-energize, learn, and grow by being at home and with the people in the village.
'Ofa lahi atu & hufaki,