From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (1 November 2003, posted 22 November)
The men from Kalvaka are very busy. They and the Ut'utu men are digging trenches for the electrical lines under the supervision of six men from Fiji. At this side of Noa'tau the lines are already prepared. Two generators will soon arrive, one for Else'e side and the other for Elsio. Each side will run their own generator and look after its expenses. We're going to have street lights also. At this moment we are having discussions on how and when they will turn on and off and the cost to the families that can't afford $10 a month plus. Anyway, it will be good to be able to read in better light than pulol ne lag heta, ne pulol benzine heta.
Note regarding the Alan ma Jan Literary Competition: The deadline for submissions has been extended to mid-2004 following consultation with the folks on Rotuma. It seems that December is a bad time for the schools to add projects such as ours because of national exams & other pressures. By extending the deadline to May or June it will allow the schools to include creative writing projects in their curriculum, which should help to increase the quantity and quality of submissions. The extension will also apply to the general competition categories. However, we will be happy to accept submissions at any time prior to the new deadline, which will be announced when the folks on Rotuma have determined what will be optimal for them.
From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (17 October 2003, posted 2 November)
We held our Fiji Day celebration on 10 October in Ahau. On the day before, the government boat, Nai Tokelau, arrived from Fiji with the Minister for Works and Energy, Mr Savenaca Draunidalo, and some other government representatives aboard. Among those who came on the boat were Marieta Rigamoto and her husband Robert, Dr. Jimmy Samisoni, Leo Smith, two palagi gentlemen from different branches, and some ladies from the Department of Health. Dr. Konusi was already here on Rotuma, but returned with the party. They seemed to be happy to be in Rotuma and enjoyed their stay here.
The Minister for Works and Energy opened the Rotuma High School Bazaar by donating F$5,000. Itu'ti'u district danced after lunch. Devotion was by Rev Voi Taukave and the closing of the bazaar was by Firipo David, who donated F$1,000. Altogether the bazaar collected a little over F$10,000.
On the following day, which was Fiji Day, festivities were begun by the raising of the flag and singing of the national anthem. Minister for Works and Energy, Savenaca Draunidalo, gave the main address. Before lunch, entertainment was provided by the Noa'tau men and Oinafa, which performed a rijaujau. After lunch the two districts of Fag'uta performed a mak kalo'a, which was very nice and colourful (see photo below). This was the first time since 1981, when Rotuma celebrated the 100th anniversary of cession, that the rijaujau and mak kalo'a were publicly performed.
The Losa band played for the celebration and we are happy to have a real live band here in Rotuma. I think the drummer performed particularly well. The emcee was Gagaj Tamanao from Itu'muta.
The government party departed Oinafa wharf the following day after inspecting the water reservoir, coastal roads, and new rural electrification projects.