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Archived News: March 2003

From Daily Post (30 March 2003)

Rotumans from the district of Itu'itu danced at a fundraising event for their district at the Suva Civic Centre yesterday. Several hundred Rotumans attended the function from the district.

From Dan Smith in Michigan (18 March 2003)

Maggie Tolo Smith gave birth to a daughter on March 8 in Alpena, Michigan, USA. Her name is Hanisi Hevani Smith. She weighed 10 lb, 8 oz. and is 23 inches long! The Smiths live in Fairview, Michigan, where Dan is Director of Camp Michi-Lu-Ca, a 300-acre Lutheran camp and conference center.

From Mika Taito in Santa Barbara California (12 March 2003)

Noa'ia 'e mauri!

Last Saturday, 8 March, The Seven Stars (Rotuman American Club from California) held their meeting and election at the home of Osotonu Moeava in Vallejo California. We had discussions on various issues including the upcoming Rotuma Day 2003. This year’s celebration will be held on Saturday, 10 May at the "Martin Luther King Center" in San Mateo County. The celebration is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. followed by entertainment by various family members of the club. Donations are greatly appreciated. An election for the new chairman and assistant was held. Positions are for a 3 year term. Handover will be done during our celebration dinner.

Chairman : Eliesa Osotonu (Marama Paptea)
Assistant: Nikolas Mario (Tua'koi)
Secretary: Aitu Semesi Richmond (Lopta)
Treasurer: Mereana Emose Gibson (Lopta)

The Seven Stars also elected Makrao Mario to be the purotu for the tautoga this year and our first dance practice will be held on Saturday, 22 March at the home of Makereta & Pedro Rigamoto in Fremont.

Our current chairman, Monsieur Sopapelu Susau, wishes to extend an invitation to any Rotuman living in the United States of America who would like to join us in this celebration. You can reach him by e-mail or telephone 415-333-8237

'Otomis Chairman ta ma members ne Seven Stars a'hae la naaf 'otomis hea'hea' lelei ma alalumu se hensasiag Rotuam ne rante' hun se Rotuma Day 2003.

Directions to the Celebration Hall, 725 Monte Diablo Ave. 94401

From San Francisco (North)

  • Take US 101 South
  • Take Popular Ave Exit
  • Turn slightly Right onto East Popular Ave
  • Turn left on North Eldorado St
  • Left on Monte Diablo Ave

From San Jose (South)

  • Take Interstate 280 North
  • Take Exit 85, North Mountain View; 85 North becomes US 101 North
  • Exit 3rd West towards Downtown
  • Merge on to East 3rd Ave
  • Take a right onto S/Fremont Ave
  • Turn left onto Monte Diablo

On Sunday the Lopta Community (including friends) gathered at the home of Makereta & Pedro Rigamoto in Fremont for the christening of my niece Katherine Aitu Lapekas whose parents Lia & Dr. James Lapekas are from Madison Wisconsin. We had a koua prepared with all sorts of delicious food & fekei (Lopta recipe). Katherine was blessed by Rev. Carolyn Ocheltree from the Fremont First United Methodist Church. Also present was my mum Manava, who has been with us since August 2002, and my aunt Tausia Tigarea from Fuli'u, Lopta who is here on vacation.

From Glory Brown [Titofag] (12 March 2003)

Mua and Mama’o, daughters of Lorosio and Maria of Tarasua Heights, Itu’ti’u, had a two-day reunion at the home of Mama’o and her husband at Remuera in Auckland, New Zealand, on 28 February, 2003, after many years of separation. Mua migrated with her Canadian husband to Canada over fifteen years ago, and she did not see her sister again until the reunion. Cousins Caolin Morris (daughter of Pio and Laveana Morris [Croker] from Upu) and Glory Brown [Titofag] also were present. After years of corresponding by post and email, we finally realized our dream of a reunion.

Mua, Husband & children
Mua & Daughter, Carolin Morris, Mama'o & Carolin's Children, and Glory at Mamao's Residence

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (25 February 2003, posted 12 March)

At Noa'tau we are very busy preparing to host the Methodist Conference this April 6-11. Last year Ahau hosted the conference. At Faioa the burnt out big hifau tree has been cleared out and now the ri hapa for the Conference is being built. It will be used first for our Women's World Day of Prayer as it's Noa'tau's turn to host that day. Last year it was at Malhaha. Our men are working very hard and we are doing our best to feed the workers and the ladies who cook for them.

We haven't gotten the programme for the Conference yet. All we know is that there will be a taboo (fono) on fishing for a month, so when it comes to 10 April fish will be plentiful and people will be able eat as much as they like; you can imagine that day. Friday 11 April is the "Conference Day," as they like to call it; it is a day to collect money. All the families in Noa'tau are busy repairing their houses, painting them, preparing gardens, and getting the cobwebs out. Telegraphic Money Orders (TMOs) are coming in left, right, and center.

Another interesting thing is that from the time we returned from Fiji on 6 January until today we don't have running water in Noa'tau. The D.O. assures us that the next boat is bringing what is needed to repair the water pump. Only Noa'tau doesn't get water because there is only one pump at Ahau left working, and by the time water gets to Paptea the pressure is too weak. So Noa'tau and Paptea have to rely on wells; collect rainwater, even in the middle of the night. When it rains you hear the sound of pots, buckets, and anything to store water in rattling away. So far we have been blessed with rain now and again, but there were weeks with no rain when we had to go to the sea to bathe and had no fresh water to rinse off with. Sometimes we took our buckets to fill at Malhaha in order to have enough water to fill a kettle for drinks. Until today I boil water for drinking, even if it comes from the tank. It's a test period for us and also for those who have a heart for sharing, and to prepare us for this Conference. It must all be part of God's plan!

From Monifa Fiu in Suva (12 March 2003)

Noa'ia! please find below a news article by a volunteer who attended a Live & Learn Environmental Education workshop here in Suva, representing LäjeRotuma. This experience will come in handy for outreach programs in schools and communities, such as the Mobile Environmental Resource Centre. Live & Learn is an NGO organization that works with the Ministry of Education here to carry out teacher training for environmental education in schools. They will be facilitating a 4-day workshop in Rotuma with the teachers and our youth volunteer network on the island during 14-17th April 2003.

The approach and focus this year is to involve as many people as possible, especially those who live away from home and would like to participate. The Mobile Resource Centre is an ongoing activity that arranges for visitors to the island to participate in outreach programs in communities or the schools. By participating you are agreeing to sponsor a community’s involvement in the program.


Live & Learn Environmental Education Workshop: 27-28th Feb 2003

I attended a 2-day workshop facilitated by Live & Learn, a non-governmental organization that mainly trains teachers to carry out environmental education in their schools. There are different environmental topics highlighted by the organisation’s program, including establishing Green Schools and waste management. I got to hear about the workshop from LäjeRotuma coordinator, Monifa Fiu. I am not new to the Initiative since it first started last year. One could say that I was LäjeRotuma’s cook, as I would prepare the refreshments and lunch during its workshops. I have two kids who are at school now so I have the time to become more involved than before. I volunteered to attend the workshop for LäjeRotuma to become familiarized with what Live & Learn will be doing in their workshop in Rotuma sometime in April for the teachers and the youth environmental educators (some are youth trainers from last year).

The workshop I attended was about RiverCare, an educational response to pollution and the degradation of the rivers in Fiji. Although Rotuma doesn’t have rivers or streams, we do have a freshwater catchment, wells and swamps. My participation in the workshop was a learning experience itself, plus meeting other people who are mostly teachers from schools around Fiji. The workshop was held at Curriculum Development Unit Office (Ministry of Education). The first day was spent inside the classroom and on the last day we spent most of the morning doing practical work (testing the river for pollution) out at the Waimanu River at Sawani.

I must relay a funny incident during the field trip where two of the lady teachers mistakenly ate the orange used in the experiment. To test the flow of water in the river at certain points, according to the handout of the experiment given to us, an orange was put in the water to drift downstream. In groups, we are stationed along the riverbank to time when the orange passed each group. I happened to be at the uppermost group where the orange was to drift by first. Two other groups were downstream from us. The ladies thought that the orange was for recess break and ate it, when in fact it was the experiment itself. These are teachers who didn’t read the experiment instructions and so improvised the missing orange with a guava from a nearby bush that one of the ladies climbed!! Everyone had a good laugh but there was a lesson learnt; read instructions before carrying out an experiment and be understanding when students out on a field trip, in their excitement, make a mistake. There will be a workshop next week in Lautoka, this time on Green Schools, and I hope to attend that one.

Upon volunteering for LäjeRotuma here in Suva, I recognize the commitment of the people in the Initiative; they are making sure that things are getting done on Rotuma. I encourage anyone who believes and supports the objectives and vision of LäjeRotuma Initiative to contribute in whatever way you can, and also in your prayers.
Moara Niurou

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