It was a joy to meet o'hon ta Varorie at Nadi in September, o'fa ta Gagaj Kauturaf at Suva in December, and to see ma'piag Elisapeti Inia's photo on the News Page.

The long lives of these three and others, such as o'fa ta Gagaj Kausiriaf, o'fa ta Gagaj Titofag, and o'hon ta Kiji tells us a lot about the way these folks lived. It's something to aspire to. Upon talking to some of them, I found out that their ages range from early eighties to late nineties. This says a lot about their basic diet, given the typical health and medical facilities in Rotuma and life expectancies of 64.8 and 69 years for males and females respectively (according to 1996 FBS). Their achievements are milestones to be remembered.

This also reminds me of my great-grandmother who smoked most of her life but lived to 113 years old (she died and was buried at the Kalvario ta at Lau when I was 8 years old), and of her daughter (my grandmother) who lived to 100 years old. My grandmother's nieces (aunties Nakaora and Varorie above) lived into their nineties. Also Gagaj Hanfakagta and the late nurse Emily Makrava both lived to over 100 years.

The Rotuman diet that these folks grew up with comprised wholesome meals of a lot of fish, shell fish, fibre (from taro, yams, tapiko, papai, 'ulu), greens (from the 'ikou, vati), lumu, fruits, nuts, and fekei (with less sugar) and the occasional white and red meat. Sadly it seems that our basic diet has changed a lot with the times to more refined foods. I guess it's a good reminder, with the onset of the diseases we now face, that it may be worthwhile to revisit the Rotuman diet that I grew up with in Rotuma, and to continue to be active.

Henry Enasio
Sydney Australia