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Only at Galoa

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

SAILING into the calm waters of Galoa as the sun sets over the horizon, is like riding through molten silvery with red hues as the rays reflect the waters around the island.

Shouts of glee and laughter from the sea-shore spoke of nothing else except the delight of children having fun as they frolicked on the white sandy shores on their home island.

It was a fine evening provided for the senior government party travelling to the island on an official trip recently. After being slowly lowered from the government ship, Iloilovatu, we swiftly made our way to the shore for the public consultation with the villagers of Galoa. I trailed behind the rest of the crew and started talking to the children on the shore as the rest of the party found their way to the village.

Watching the children play a lively game of 'veimea', (a local game commonly played by children in most islands) I felt like joining them and feel the warmth of the sea wash away the tiredness of the long journey through the Bua marine zone.

A group of children were busy staring out to sea at the Chinese bauxite ship that was anchored out at sea.

Upon inquiry I was told that the ship was loading bauxite soil from Nawailevu, however the sight of a small crew busy minding their business further up the shore who were busy digging away along the shoreline caught my attention. Among the group of busy little excavators was six-year-old Nepani Betevua who was playing along the sand dunes.

I happened to crack a lively conversation with the young man and later knew that he was busy digging up a moat for his imaginary castle.

Interested in his description of the moat I asked him where he got the idea from to build a moat around his sand castle.

He replied coyly describing the moat from a fairy tale that he had been told during a kindergarten class on the island.

"This will also protect my castle from the incoming tide whose waves are rushing up and might wipe it off any time soon," he added.

The words of the boy struck a chord in my mind regarding the ever increasing sea level and the efforts by conservationists to protect the very islands that were also considered castles and homes to Pacific Islanders.

The very moat that little Nepani was constructing can actually be likened to the strategies that the conservationists have put up to try and stop the very waters that were threatening the sand castle of my new young friend.

I laughed and wondered to myself how much one could learn about reality when sitting down and chatting with the young ones we often take for granted...or should I say only on the shores of Galoa in the setting sun does this happem....what a lesson!

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