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Rotumans are Blessed

by Henry Enasio (Sydney, Australia)

I'm of the opinion that Rotumans are blessed--blessed with a lot of things, including an island paradise of breathtaking scenes, silhouetted by mountain greens and white sandy beaches that flicker in the crystal clear ocean that surrounds it.

That is my opinion and no doubt some may disagree with me, but I'm willing to accept that and enter into a dialogue. I subscribe to this opinion based on what I saw and knew whilst growing up in Rotuma and on current happenings, which I will illustrate below to substantiate my opinion.

1. The Name 

Let’s begin with the name, Rotuma. In my opinion, it's a combination of two words (rotu and ma), which literally means, “church” and “belief.” Many names in our culture are closely associated with something like an occasion or an incident. So could “church” and “belief” be the English words used to describe the islanders, which when translated was used to name the island we now call Rotuma? It's also my opinion that the name Granville does not correspond to Rotuma, other than being a name ascribed by the explorers. Interpret it however you want, but remember your answer will be an opinion too.    

2.  The Land

Rotuma's volcanic soil is so rich in nutrients that it does not need fertilizers other than the mulch from leaves. Whilst growing up in Rotuma, I saw during the 13 May Cession Day celebrations, yams that weighed over 460 lbs and grew to well over 7 feet in length, taros that weighed over 53 lbs and were about 4 feet in length, bananas of different kinds that had 15 - 18 bunches each, sugarcane with stems the size of my biceps, kumara (sweet potatoes) as big as a brown coconut. You had to see it to believe it, for they were amazingly massive, even though grown without fertilizers. Plants can be thrown outside the house without having to plant them and will be ready to harvest in 6 - 9 months time, not to mention the abundance of fruits that ripen on the trees for the islanders’ enjoyment, and on which the birds and animals feed.  There is also our lush forest, without hidden dangers of poisonous snakes, spiders, etc. that can kill, or bees and hornets that will sting when disturbed.

3.  The Sea

The sea surrounding Rotuma is abundant in fish of different sizes on and outside the reefs that can be hooked, speared in high or low tides, or netted. Also there are the assorted crabs, shellfish, and seaweeds that taste very delicious and are good for the body.

4. The Fresh Water

Though Rotuma is very humid and can be very warm, there's always a lot of rain. Also there's the underground fresh water so that holes can bored and tapped for drinking water. Wells, too, can be dug for water even within a stone’s throw from the sea.

5. The Weather

Because the weather is predictable, people without much knowledge in weather forecasting can anticipate changes. Seasonal changes are minimal except for December to March, when strong winds are usually experienced.

6. The Rotumans

Rotumans are Polynesian in culture and through association with others are more diverse and relaxed than our cousins in other Pacific Island countries. We are very adaptable and quick learners, enabling us to readily accept diversity and to accommodate the best from other cultures.

Although Rotumans are few in number, they are widely spread around the world: in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Island countries. Rotumans also are blessed in education in that several have attained the highest standard possible in education by completing a PhD. There are numerous holders of Masters and Bachelors degrees in various disciplines who will one day get their doctorates. Our women have done well and have just about caught up with the guys in all fields of study and work. I just wonder who will be our first woman to get a PhD. The ratio of successful individuals to the population is very high, competitive with some well developed countries.

Then there are the occupations. Rotumans have excelled in Fiji in both the public sector, from the highest position in the Judiciary to the private sector as managers. I also know of some Rotuman women who have done well for themselves and are millionaire property owners, which I wouldn't have believed if I did not see it for myself.

Thus, armed with the above, it's my opinionated view that Rotumans are blessed unless someone who disputes it and tells me otherwise can change my mind.

Submitted 15 May 2004

From Vikatoria Schippers-Managreve in Jakarta, Indonesia

I absolutely agree: “Rotumans are so blessed.” I have travelled very widely for the last twenty years around the world, either visiting or living in countries in Europe; the Middle East; Asia; North, Central, and South America; and the Pacific. At the moment, I am living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Every place I find myself, although it may be so beautiful, so exotic, or so advanced, always makes me yearn for Rotuma--the people and the island. In all these other places, I always find something missing, whether it is the friendliness, the spontaneity, the harmony, or the wonderful feeling of belonging.

 I have not found a place, island, or people that has everything we Rotumans have. Some may say that because Rotuma is a tiny island, things and people are easy to manage. I totally disagree with this as I have been to inhabited islands much smaller in size than Rotuma, and the island and its people do not have so much as the Rotumans. I haven’t found a race so small in number that has reached out so far and wide in the world and attained so much.

Every opportunity I have, I talk about Rotuma and its wonderfully blessed people. I feel that in their hearts, all Rotumans know that they are special. Rotumans have so many gifts and talents: tolerance, respectfulness, fun loving, and the wondrous gift of sharing. They adapt so easily and are always striving to do their best in whatever situation they find themselves. Rotumans are a very happy, loving people by nature. Rotumans are wholesome people.

Can anyone tell me of an island or race that equals Rotuma or the Rotumans? I have not found it.

How could this be? I believe we are blessed by The Almighty God. So thanks for the eye opening reason: Rotu and Ma.

Submitted 27 May, 2004


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