This afternoon I was telling my mom that I probably wasn’t going to post today because nothing major had happened. Of course, things happen when you least expect them.
This evening, I was visiting with my fellow woofers in the lounge of my current home. The lounge overlooks the ocean and has beautiful views. The heat was working tonight and the fireplace made the room quite cozy.
My roommate, Noemi, and I started talking to a gentleman who is staying here with his wife and kids. He told us they are in town because his daughter is competing in a Maori speaking contest. We started discussing Maori history and the revival of the culture in the past couple decades. We also discussed stewardship of the planet and our responsibility to the earth. Noemi, who is very interested in Maori language and culture, asked about the creation stories. I wish I could adequately explain what happened next.
The man started telling us in vivid detail, with feeling, about the creation of the world. As he was speaking, I felt that I was being drawn into the story itself. I had a visceral reaction to the environment (with the fire dwindling), the sound of his voice, and the words that had been told for hundreds of years. To say this man has a knack for oral history or storytelling is to do him a disservice. I could repeat his exact words, but never elicit such a response. To hear the Maori history from this man, as it had been told to him by his parents and grandparents, was surreal. When he finished, I could barely articulate my thanks. All I can say is that, tonight, I was given an amazing gift.