Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bringing Back Faith in Humanity

I'll admit, just prior to this trip to the South Pacific, I had had it with people/regulations/expectations/political correctness/the lack of running water for six weeks (I'll have to get back to that one someday) and many more (it's already making my blood boil).  I was attending a six week class on how to teach kids equally while understanding their differences.  Hello, who said I wasn't?  But it was a mandatory training (everyone had to take it, not just me - that would just be bad) so I was there - texting my husband every six seconds saying how I already did this stuff so why was I in a hot, not airconditioned room without having a shower in my own house for over a month.  In the mist of this it was election year so everyone was bashing everyone on every commercial in between the football game plays.  We had just become so politically correct that not only could you not disagree with an opinion, if you didn't agree with that opinion, you were suddenly a bigot or a racist or a communist or some other label.  You weren't safe anywhere.

Anyway, I'd had it with people (a nine hour overnight flight with my own family sure helped matters...).

Luckily, the island air whooshed all that crap right outta me.

On our visit to the first public school eleven hours after we landed, the children were singing Christian songs.  In school.  About God.  Using His name.  I kept looking over my shoulder for someone coming out of the corner ranting that "you can't do that!  Separation of church and state!"  Prayer was said before every meal; island night, Progressive Dinner, everywhere two or more had gathered.  In all honesty, it took until the next day, the next school, doing the same thing that I finally relaxed and just got to do what I don't get to to do comfortably in the United States - hear the word of Christ outside the church worship center.

I watched the school children play at all four schools.  It was recess and there were either two soccer balls or two volleyballs (depended on the school/island) and one rugby ball.  That was it.  They played in teams, usually having stripped out of their uniforms down to t-shirts and shorts so they didn't get dirty.  And when someone hit a shot wild, nobody yelled at them.  The giggled.  They laughed.  They thought it was the funniest thing they'd seen in a week.  Then someone would retrieve the ball and they'd start over.

We are photographers so we take pictures (durr) and sometimes we take pictures of people.  At home, it is usually High School Seniors or Families or Sports Teams, it's never just walking-down-the-street-clicking-away.  In Rarotonga, the first time my husband asked a Cook Island parent if he could photograph their child I wanted to run for the hills.  "He's gonna get himself arrested and we are headed back to jail but this time, not as a ukele buyer, but a convict." (To which I naturally wondered if he really did end up in jail, did I HAVE to leave the island after my two weeks were up or did I get to stand-by-my-man?).

The parent smiled and said "of course."

Over and over this happened.  The fear was not there of "what are you going to do with those images".  There was a trust I forgot existed (or had been so side-blinded by crap that I ceased to noticed it's existance).

Your view as you are dining

Which brings me to the epitome of trust.  We had been driving all around the island, totally neglecting our stomachs.  We were starved and very few places were open (or inexpensive).  We ended up at a place Trip Advisor and a few others had recommended:  The Mooring Cafe out by Muri Beach.  We were out of cash so our first question when we walked up to window was "which cards do you take".


"None," she said.

NOT the end of the story because she continued: "There is a cash machine down the road a block."

Still not done.

Us:  "Okay, we'll go get money and be right back."

Her:  "No, you eat first then go get money.  What do you want to order?"


Us: "We'll be right back, Westpac ATM right?"

Her:  "No, you eat first, then pay."

Us (obediently):  "Okay."

We order.  NZD$47.  Fairly standard price around the island for a lunch for three.

For one of the best meals I've ever eaten!  We all got Sammies and if you don't know what that is click on this link for The Mooring Fish Cafe Facebook Page and scroll down.  Must do - this is not a touristy trap thingy.  It's just real (damn) good food.

We finish our food, thank them and head to the nearest ATM.

Which was out of money.

So we head to the next one down the street (these things are everywhere) and pull out some cash (plus enough to not get ourselves in this situation for a day or so) and head back to the Cafe.  Elapsed time:  About 20 minutes.  We walk up to the counter with our cash.  To be apologized too.

Wait.  What?

The lady apologizes to US because the first ATM was out of money due to the Easter four day weekend.

We paid her and walked away with enough faith in humanity in our reserves to last a good six months.

  The Mooring Cafe is open Monday through Friday 9:30-3:30, Closed Saturday, Open Sunday 12-4.

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