The Samoa Voyaging Socety (SVS) works to promote positive Samoan cultural values, respect for the ocean and nature, individual and social responsibility, discipline and integrity.

The SVS considers that the reintroduction of traditional sailing in Samoa will provide opportunities for youth development (sports, leadership), environmental awareness, cultural development and, potentially, tourism opportunities such as whale watching and adventure tours.

SVS is developing hands-on educational and training programmes in traditional sailing and navigation. The programmes will target young Samoan youth including school children, school leavers and other interested groups. The task of learning traditional sailing and navigation skills also develops leadership and discipline among the youth, leading to well-rounded young people capable of contributing positively to the growth of this nation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Suva - Land of clouds and cheap taxis

It is Sunday morning and we are a day late leaving Suva, hey what’s new? This is Island time right? Island time, a concept we boast about to a certain extent. What does Island time really mean? Well some might use it as an excuse as I do now being a day late with our blog...oops.

Island time is a concept well valued throughout the Pacific; in fact I might suggest this is worldwide on many small islands and villages. Trying to clear the Vaka out of Mexico we were told at 3pm (after 4 Vaka had already cleared and we were in the queue for an hour or so)..."maniana, come back tomorrow" . So we did just that - we came back the next day. Island time, I think it is an important part of our way of life and a part of Pacific culture that should be appreciated and practiced, but in the right way and for the right reasons -not as an excuse for delayed blogs.

So what is Island time? On the Vaka we have strict times for our watches, 3 hours on 6 hours off, we have strict times on the fo'e, 30 mins at a time, and we have times for meals. But surrounding all of this structure we also have a concept of island time. The ocean has a rhythm, the waves and the swells keep time to a heartbeat of our globe as she spins through time and space.

So what does this teach us? If we listen closely enough to nature we learn. When we spend time on the ocean we hear the heartbeat and we feel the pulse and we live according to that pulse. We slow down from our life on land. We can remove ourselves from traffic and ringing phones and unnecessarily hectic lifestyles. We can enjoy the beauty of a sunrise and the hopes of a new day, we can watch the clouds drift by, we can hear the wind in our sails and the waves on our hulls, we hear the birds. We feel the cool of the rain and the warmth of the sun. We take time.

Suva fades into the distance, hidden under of blanket of grey wet clouds, I can imagine the $4 taxis, beeping their horns, racing around pothole ridden hairpin bends - hang on boys! The acrid scent of the mornings food and old cigarettes, contradict the clear no smoking signs hastily painted on the dashboard or back of the headrest. Cheap taxis and rainy days of Suva. Bula.vinaka vaka levu.

On land, I think sometimes we fool ourselves into being busy and racing through life to an early grave - for what? Why? Chasing the dollar, a promotion at work? Working 80-90 hour weeks? Do we stress ourselves without good reason? I know many of us do.

Here is a lesson the ocean teaches us. Slow down, slow down to the pace nature intended. Make time. Take time. Have time. Island time is a way of life that we must embrace.  We must make time for our families and friends, especially the children. We must take time for ourselves, to enjoy the natural beauty of our islands, swim in our lagoons, eat well, sleep well and live well. Then we will have more time on this earth.

Island time is natural, when we are hungry we eat, when we are tired we rest.  I believe the ocean teaches us to slow down to her pace, to her rhythm. Then we can appreciate our environment, we open our senses to what is around us and then we care. We really care. This is the lesson.


No comments:

Post a Comment