Mai Suva nanuma tiko ga – Precious moments in Suva

It’s time to go home. And I am looking forward to getting back home to see how my orchids are faring and wave a special hello and subsequent cuppa with Linda, my neighbor. Last night, as Pacific Islander friends were adorning us with shell-necklaces and gifts for the journey , I was told repeatedly that I looked tired. I guess that’s the truth. But it’s a happy kind of tired that comes from knowing there is work to do tomorrow as well as today. A special mention to both Helene and Kate (pictured below), my house-mates, companions and new friends.

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This week was pretty much consumed with the second part of the ePOP project, editing and post-production of the short films for presentation or broadcast. For Kate and myself there was the added framework of gathering material for our RMIT project and keeping a high level of awareness around those metrics. That and supporting the World Oceans Conference, a satellite of the one being held in New York. That said, we managed to maintain a healthy balance along the way.

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Entertaining for entertainment’s sake is one of life’s great pleasure. Co-hostess with the mostest, Kate, excelled as we had a few of the ePOP team and our RMIT mentor over for dinner. Thank goodness my curry meet local Fijian/Indian standards. Being grilled for one’s secret curry ingredient is praise beyond compare.
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Having purchased a book of Rotuman proverbs, I invented a little game where each dinner guest fishes a proverb out of a bowl and everyone tries to guess its origin or meaning. Well, this went down a treat. Particularly over the literal translations or diverse cultural interpretations (mainly, French) of the proverbs.

Helene, my previous host, had just received another kitten to keep Little Baby company and had developed a cold. Also Sarika was sorely missed, again struck down by the cold (by Fijian) standards.
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There was a richness of talent within the ePOP team (L-R above, Naleem, Koroi, Chris and Guiliem) which was a joy to be around. In particular, poet Telster Jimmy (pictured above and below, http://www.facebook.com/tjpeotrypage/) is a prestigious talent. I’m hoping we will see more of her work in the future, perhaps even in Australia. I bumped into Matt Young, who is helping prepare Fiji’s actors of the future and running stella events such as Suva Fashion Week. And Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom was in Suva but just as in Matt’s case, sadly our paths didn’t cross with enough time to catch up.
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Going on-board Tara schooner (L-R above, Paul, Naleem, Telster und me), the French scientific vessel currently traversing the Pacific to measure the health of coral reefs, was very exciting. The scuba diver in me almost lost control with the thought of grabbing a set of regs, a tank and diving off into the deep blue. The crew were very French, wonderfully engaging and gave great cake. Watching the doco about the expedition at the local Alliance Francoise was a fitting way to end the trip.

It was great to get the bus this morning (sorry to Harrison, I got the wrong one then I had said I would last night so missed you!) and there was a kind elderly gentleman who kept offering me nuts and water for the four hour trip to Nadi. Looking out of the window at the lush green rainforest, trees heavy with fruit and the occasional village, I kept hearing whispers of the song Isa Lei.

I hope that my contribution to the communication of climate change will not end here in this cold and clinical airport. Given the opportunity I would like to support the voices of the Pacific at COP23 either in Bonn, here or back in Australia. If the people of the Pacific will let me journey with them, then ‘forever my heart will sing’ of those ‘precious moments in Suva’.

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