We travelled today to a village in northern Fiji to share ceremony with their vibrant community. The joy in islander villages is palpable, the magic on which their lives hinge. We were welcomed with bright smiles and wide eyes and told their stories and history through meké, dance and song. We sat on one side, they on the other until the women came to invite us each to dance. The room collided inmovement and laughter, infectious joy that stretched my cheeks and swayed my hips, utterly and completely elevating my spirit.
Great stone mountains hold the villages and each lives as one beneath them. As we wandered afterwards through this village together, the little children ran about us unfettered and giggling. Young boys were on roofs, hammering nails instead of playstation. Old men waved from balconies as chickens and goats ran about us. Everything unhurried, happy, in its right place.
It made me wonder if maybe we have got it all spectacularly wrong, if our selfish modern imperatives are what have perpetually led us astray. Our thoroughly developed world continually questing for power and lording it over those who didn’t get there first.
Community is the significant force for good, meeting our human need for belonging in a way that makes space for the spectrum of humanity and holds its glorious imperfection. And in its purest form, it simply works as proven by the broad smiles and sparkling eyes.
The more we pull back the curtain right now, the greater the horror, buried under decades of deceit. These unsustainable crumbling structures, boozy behemoths built on far lesser gods are empty calories as we starve for connection. Perhaps we need to just simplify, hone our individual crafts and scale back our lofty empires to simply provide for those in our immediate reach. There is a very good reason it takes a village.
This is why I travel. So to make me muse and wonder about a world outside my own and to return bearing its gifts, changed for the better.
I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
~ Pete Seeger
Words and image © Kerrie Basha, 2017