Heivas , Ward Families, and Adventure
Destination: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Date: August 2013
Activity: Church activities, Heivas and More!
This “adventure” started off innocently enough. We took our dinghy into town, about a ten minute ride, to see the local church congregations Heiva. A Heiva is a Polynesian festival with singing and dancing. We arrived early so we could have dinner, do a little grocery shopping, and be there for the festivities. We had heard many of the members of other islands were going to be there and since we had made friends with some of the members we were excited to support them in their performances.
Our first set back came when we were confused about the venue of the event. Once we found out where it really was being held we started a twenty-five minute walk on the two lane island rim highway. We got about a mile and a half into the walk when a local saw our little band of hikers and felt pity on us. The man came running out of his house and pushed us into his four person hatch back and drove us the mile we had left down the road to the event. At this moment riding without seat belts became the safer alternative than us walking on the side of a now very dark island highway.
We were so grateful for our ride and offered to pay the man money but he refused profusely in French and sent us on our way. We were grateful to have made it to the Heiva and have the kids stop complaining about the unexpected hike we had just been on.
The event was great. Like most Heivas it starts with some singing, a narrator explaining the performances, and lots and lots of dancing. The island band on the side plays all kinds of homemade instruments and it was very entertaining for the kids. They loved watching the local primary children preform their Polynesian dances and loved being welcomed with leis when we walked in the door that evening.
We didn’t want to make the same mistake and have to walk back to the dock so this time when we saw a taxi emptying his load of passengers we told him to come back in an hour and a half and no matter what we would be ready to go. Trent got the mans name and a good look at him so we could identify him as our driver when we needed him. We had to laugh when we saw that he parked his taxi at the event and went into the festivities and participated in many of the singing and band performances during the evening. When it was time to go an hour and a half later we giggled seeing our taxi driver, Jerry, up and in full song in the middle of the auditorium. Though we may have been ready to go we now had to wait for Jerry’s performance to end!
The next morning we were excited to get over to the next part of the two day church event and headed over to Motu Tapa for the rest of the two day ward activity. The plan of the two wards here in Bora Bora is to increase their membership and have a third ward created. Wards are how we distinguish congregations in our church and the members here were ready for a third ward to be created. They just lacked the numbers for this by a fraction so they were all willing to share the gospel with their friends at this two-day activity.
Having the activity at Motu Tap’u was a great way to get people out to an island for a free meal and activities but make it difficult for them to leave once their bellies were full. The problem is getting five hundred very large Polynesians and all the food out there was quite the logistical undertaking. The ferries started at 7:30 in the morning and by the time our family arrived at 11:00 the ferries were still going.
During our time at the activity we had fun playing sporting activities, watch coconuts be shredded for its meat in timed contests, banana races, wheel barrel races, tug-o-wars and volleyball matches. Though we don’t speak Tahitian, or French we were still included in all of the events and made to feel like a part of the ward family here in Bora Bora.
Our best friend we made here in Bora Bora is a girl named Gaelle. We met her on our second day on the island and she seemed to pop up everywhere. She was so excited to learn we were members of her church and quickly informed us she is getting ready to leave for her 18-month mission to New Zealand. She was a great asset to us because of her limited English skills and her love for all of our children. At one point Gaelle even threw Colton in to the pool at the local marina because she felt so comfortable with our family.
We loved getting to know the ward family in Bora Bora. It is good to know that no matter where we are in the world we have family there waiting for us. We may not speak the same language but the church is the same and the people are all our brothers and sisters in the gospel.
Safe and Happy Travels!!