Yesterday we said our tearful goodbyes the people of Nananu. After an all night Kava ceremony with endless dancing and inevitable yawning, the Nau’s and Mangu’s sang us off as we loaded onto a bus to Tavua. We were sad to leave the village that gave us so much and welcomed us as family the moment we stepped into their homes. In such a short time, we were able to connect with some amazing people. One of my favorite activities (that we all dreaded at one point or another) was being tickled by the kids. I don’t even think half of us are ticklish, but they still loved sneaking up on us and unleashing the fury of 1,000 suns on our feet. The kid’s laughs were normally louder than ours during this time, but sometimes Cameron used a loud fake laugh that shook the entire community center. He only used this laugh to entertain them because they refused to believe that there were no ticklish parts of his body. I know that all of us will miss playing with the children of Nananu. Especially Rex (Matt) who I think got the biggest work out of the day when he would run around picking up kids after 4 hours of mixing concrete.
In our final days at the village, we were able to see the finished product of our hard work, spend time with in our home stays, and learn the Meke dance. Some of us hiked with our families to a beautiful waterfall while others swam in the river. Basically family day was centered around staying cool on a hot day. Our families were generous and loving the entire time. The food they prepared us was awesome and abundant, and we were never able to finish even half of the prepared food. I personally will miss morning banana bread as well as tea time banana bread. The last night in Nananu was easily the most memorable night and summed up our time there pretty well. The girls performed a dance for the village at 4:00 in the afternoon after the boys performed a Kava ceremony for the chief. We then repeated this after dinner after some very confusing directions on what exactly we were supposed to do. The difference between the afternoon ceremony and the nighttime ceremony was that the afternoon ceremony has a clear end time. We were expected to drink Kava all night and dance with all the village members. None of us were afraid to show off our moves, but the Kava drinking became increasingly difficult as the night went on. Kava is a mild sedative, so after a couple of small bowls we were all very tired. We didn’t care that we would get no sleep because it was our last night and our last chance to spend time with everyone and engage in a cultural exchange. We thank Nananu for its hospitality and hope that we can return one day to a village that taught us so much about community and hard work. Will upload pictures ASAP!
Until next time,