Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You Never Know What You Are Getting Yourself Into

The day started out thinking we would blast our way around the island taking photographs.  I knew across from Rutaki Primary School would be a copse of palm trees hanging over the ocean.  We found them easily.

Yeah, we found the palm trees
It was great and we got some beautiful photos.  When we ventured further down the road, we saw a group of people and many of them were in the water.  We pulled over, grabbed our cameras and headed to the beach.  

This is what we saw from the shore.

We watched for 15 minutes as a group of people were in the water started slapping at the water and walking toward each other.  It was then that we realized they were in circle formation.  

When we finally got up the nerve to ask what they were doing, we were told they were fishing.  The slapping of the hands/shirts/flip flops/stick on the water shocked the fish into the center of the circle.  There was a net on the outside of the circle and as they walked toward each other, the fish became caught in the center.  Then they would load the fish into boats, bring it ashore and start over.  

Everyone was involved, young and old.  Upon further investigation there were two villages working together for a huge dinner feast that night.  It was Easter Weekend which is a four day weekend and two villages gathered on a Rarotonga version of a camping vacation on the beach.  Since there were hundreds of people they needed to be fed.

There are blue shirts and red shirts.  Each shirt is a different village

Part of the catch.
By this time we met up with our friends from New Zealand and continued to watch the show.  We were taking some pictures of some fish when a gentleman came up and told our friend, Nico, to follow him.  Coming from New Zealand and the United States, we were very wary of this.  Nico reluctantly followed.  We followed as well as they walked down the beach.  Soon Nico was taking his shoes off and putting on reef shoes.  This is a little frightening when we (myself, my husband and Nico's wife) don't know what's going on.  We are in our paranoid state coming from our own experiences.  In our own countries we would have walked away, telling them wear to stick it, all the while gesturing with our middle finger.

Bye, Nico, we'll miss you

But, since we're not in our native countries, we figure, when in Rome - er, Rarotonga.  It didn't take long for us to realize that Nico was in no predicament at all.  He wasn't dinner - he was helping catch dinner.  The stick in his hand was used for slapping the water to make noise, not for self protection.  Jeesh, the things our countries have taught us.

Hi, Nico, Welcome Back!

The whole time all this is going, on we were being invited to their barbecue (again, not as a part of the menu, hello, we had just been to Highland Paradise when they talked all about cannibalism).  If we bought a t-shirt for $10 NZD then we could even become a part of their village.  

The whole experience left us with a huge sense of family, community and open arms to other.  They welcomed strangers to take pictures, watch their play and, best of all, taught us to not look for the negative in EVERYTHING! 

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