"Excuse me, are you Emma?"
When I was having my final breakfast in the ð¨ð° all alone at a massive touristy hotel complex that I didn't enjoy staying in, and imagining each of the people at the Backpackers around this big table facing the sea, smiling to myself at the thought,
Lanie came over to me and said, "Excuse me, are you Emma ? You were taking pictures in Mangaia"
Oh my gosh yes!
"We saw you walk past and we thought it was you~â
It was the bunch that came over from Mangaia for the youth church conference.
They are all staying here. Taking up half of both upstairs and downstairs of the hotel rooms in the block just in front of mine.
We were practically neighbours.
The girls were making Tik Tok videos in their rooms with their sliding door open.
As each hotel room block is named after an atoll in the Cook Islands,
I said to them, âThey should've put you all in the Mangaia block!"
I joined them at Tangimama's table,
And she remindes me that I said hi to her at the Ministry of Tourism building when I came in for the 3D map.
Because I had just returned from Aitutaki the afternoon before this, I recounted with Tangimama about my favourite taxi driver Teuira who came to pick me up again at the airport, who is from Aitutaki himself, offered to sell me his land just a little further down from Pirai lookout.
I appreciated such a quick and generous offer,
But, I didn't like that land is traded like that
Tangimama told me that Mangaia is in fact 1 of the only 2 islands in ð¨ð° where land cannot be leased.
ââI knew Mangaia was special in its own ways.
I said to her that I really appreciate that that is the way,
and it should be kept that way.
Our ancestors' land should be kept as ours.
It's not something one should easily give away for Money.
I can happily rent something for a short term tenancy contract, but never sell it.
People's greed can really overtake the eternal value they should be placing on their ancestral land.
Especially when you would have so much connection with your land if you keep it as yours, and take care of it as it is yours.
To pass it on even as a 60 year lease is sad
And makes us lose connection with that piece of land and soil and what it carries.
I was so glad to be found by the Mangaia crew.
They brought me the sense of community I was missing when alone in a giant hotel.
I didn't like Edgewater Resort at all,
Until this encounter with them.
Also, Lanie came over just after I saw my first ever rainbow.
What was amazing was,
That rainbow kept returning even an hour later
I was grateful.
It was a good sendoff for me seeing the ones that came from Mangaia.
So I checked out and set off for the Backpackers,
I was sure they Hedge and Lily were due to return home today too,
So I hoped that I might catch them there before we all headed home.
Thank you ð¨ð° once and again,
thanks to the lovely peopleð´
I really appreciate you all.
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