Pele Moments by Ellen Bartlett
The boat sits low in the water. Low enough to make us feel like we are sitting in the gentle lap of the sea. The deep, quiet thrum of the motor, constant and reassuring, reminding us that we are dry, safe, and privileged. Pushing us forward to new places yet to be experienced. A random handful of people, happy, satisfied, and on the start of their journey to contentment.
Today we danced. We danced at dusk on the sand, feeling the weight of the night slowly sink over us. Heat emanating from the center of the circle, warming over our bodies and our spirits. Taking us to a place of familiar unknown, bringing back nostalgia and filling in the empty slots with new dance. Movement compact with decades of culture and centuries of warm-hearted generosity. Different people from every way the wind blows brought together by the warm light of the fire that the soil is always craving. Sparks of joy flying, crackles of curiosity flickering and our energy slowly, slowly, burning.
Children by Finn Morris and Yanik Scheffers
The kids are full of energy and quickly grow attached to you, they are often bustling with excitement from the moment you wake to even late at night. Each family has at least two children who are introduced to us as our siblings.
The family we stayed with was large and we had many younger siblings between us. Ronny our eight-year-old brother was constantly demanding attention and always wanted to play a game, Jaylene our youngest sister, somewhere between the age of five and six, was extremely shy and would attach herself to Yanik and I, then cling for as long as she could. Rex, our smallest brother was hands-down the cutest kid on the island. He spent the first few days with us but soon left for the mainland with his father.
Taz and Ariel’s house was a hub for the younger kids and was nearly always surrounded, which at times did get irritating. Due to the language barrier, it was sometimes difficult to communicate boundaries and ask them questions but the majority of the time it wasn't a huge problem.
Hard at Work by Finn Morris and Yanik Scheffers
The first days on the worksite, consisted of trips down the island shorelines collecting coral for the wall; mixing concrete; constructing the framework for roofs and putting together the window frames. The first half of the day, most of the class would come and go between the worksite and their bungalows, although some worked constantly, only resting when lunch came around. After lunch, there was usually a solid hour before everyone would have to return for the afternoon meeting. At these meetings there was often a firm pep talk from Nick, followed by a solid 15 minutes of hard work from the class before everyone would scatter across the island.
When the building was nearing completion more kids jumped on board to help finish off the building - carvings were engraved into the coral walls, patterns were chiseled into the wooden support beams and the final nails were hit into place.
Banners, flowers, and ribbons decorated the building when it reached completion, the islanders laid out an enormous feast of traditional meals along a huge centre table. After a two-hour ceremony of appreciation for the community's new meeting place, the feast commenced. The class lined up first and tried to fill their plates with the most recognisable foods. After us, the entire island began to gather around and form long spiraling lines.
During our time on Pele Island, it was clear to see just how much the building meant to the community. From the workers' dedicated enthusiasm to the project to the sheer joy expressed when the building reached completion - they saw the entire experience as a gift. In 12 days our class helped to create a building that would serve the community and bring joy for years to come.