Monday, June 23, 2008

Is tribewanted still going strong?

from w, I don't know if this is really a recent post, or they gave up on blogs on their site a month or two ago. Anyway this is about Tevita, community manager on Vorovoro Island.

Tevita's challenge to Fiji

By Jale, Vorovoro, Fiji Posted 5 days ago
(as interviewed and scribed by Adam Pacey)

As the Community Manager, Tevita passionately describes himself as the bridge between Fiji and the world as they visit Vorovoro through the Tribe Wanted project. There is no doubt it is a role of tremendous responsibility but also one which Tevita finds exceptionally rewarding. With his finger directly on the pulse of everything that is happening on Vorovoro Tevita decided he wanted to provide a monthly blog to allow everyone to share in these rewards and hear how he sees and feels the project progressing. Welcome to the first of those blogs.

First and foremost, the most important message that Tevita wants to get across in this opening blog is how strong the community spirit is on the island. That is not the spirit of Team Fiji and the spirit of the visiting Tribe separately, but it is the spirit of Vorovoro as a unified and thriving Fijian village. As Community Manager Tevita is constantly alert to the mood on the island and throughout his community, and he is keen to stress how tremendously proud he is everyday seeing the village pull together as one to work on the ongoing projects and further the two way cultural enrichment that is happening here. It is important to him now to keep this momentum going so all the world can experience it. Just last week, for example, the Tribe and Team Fiji decided for the first time since the project began that they wanted to eat together as one at regular intervals. Sure enough a couple of days later and a delicious banquette was laid on for all in the Grand Bure. It was a great evening, enjoyed by all, but best of all he says it was not prompted by him or by the Tribe Wanted staff it was a community driven intiative that came about through a genuine feeling of togetherness and simply because it felt right. That is the Fijian way. Tevita sums it up perfectly by saying it is just like building a Bure – your foundations must be solid and the rest of the building will be solid and long lasting. On Vorovoro the community spirit is the foundations and he is very happy to report the foundations of Vorovoro are very solid.

Tevita looks upon Vorovoro like any other Fijian community and he constantly aims to ensure that in work, rest and play it operates and functions as such. This is working. It is really working both for the world and for Fiji. There is no greater testament to this than when other Fijian Chiefs visit Vorovoro and are both surprised and impressed by the truly traditional Fijian reception they receive and how accurately Fijian customs are being followed. Throughout Fiji, Tevita has observed the gradual fading and disappearance of the traditions and cultural richness which he and his team is now nurturing so successfully on Vorovoro. Perhaps only 10% of Fijian villages are still practicing these traditions he estimates and goes on to say that if there were a competition on Fijian culture and tradition across Fiji he is confident that Vorovoro would do very well! It is this he says that leads visitors to the island to constantly ask himself and Tui Mali “how did you achieve this?” or to call them ‘lucky’. Tevita’s response is simple … “what is happening here comes from the heart”. He explains that every member of the community on Vorovoro is passionate about what is happening here and is keen to learn and participate, and once that passion is in place then the rest is relatively easy. To learn a Meke, or Kava Ceremony etiquette, or the traditional Fijian greetings only takes moments he says, but their cultural importance is timeless. So the question is not really for him or for Tui Mali, or for Vorovoro but it is for the rest of Fiji … when will the rest of Fiji feel the same passion for their culture again. The people of the world are interested and are learning Fijian culture and traditions now … the people of Fiji should be proud and embrace their tradition and culture too. That is Tevita’s challenge to Fiji.

Everything is moving in the right direction and the coming month has plenty in store. New pathways and landscaping to protect the grass during the dry season, the finishing touches to the new Team Fiji bure, clearing up and raising the new gardens and Fruitopia, amongst many other things are all positive improvements and take us ever closer to being a fully self sustainable Fijian village. Culturally there will also be good progress and Tevita is particularly looking forward to developing and practicing new Meke’s and to the tribe getting to grips with the full Kava mat ceremony which it is planned will be performed for the first time at the Tribe Wanted 2nd Year anniversary.

Finally Tevita says he is very excited about the Fijian language lessons, that started today. As the method by which mankind communicates thoughts, ideas and feelings and, perhaps most appropriately, passes on culture and tradition he has no doubt this will be an important addition to the Tribe Wanted experience.

And this is something new! I've never seen the Mali women with hula hoops before!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TribeWanted is still going strong as ever. As a matter of fact we've even had to turn away people at times when they wanted to go to the island because the island was full to capacity with members!! People are still posting on the TribeWanted website as well. Check it out!