Here we are!!! Vaka 125 – five warriors who have now been on the island for about three weeks, people that came from all walks of life to share their lives with the people of the Cook Islands. We have walked or been driven around the neat tidy villages with their manicured lawns and family graves out front. We have ventured further inland amongst the taro swamps and trees heaving with mangoes, pawpaws, starfruit and all the abundant fruits of the islands. We can close our eyes and smell the heady fragrance of the frangipani and the gardenia flowers of the ei’s we were shown how to make. We recall with warmth the boat trip across the sparkling waters to a white sandy beach. Unfortunately, tropical rains set in for a couple of days, but as the days and weeks have rolled on with the islands tides, we all recall with fondness the places visited and the wonderful people we have met along the way. The singing of the children in the school, the hip swaying of the dancers together with the sounds of the drummers in the shows and all the singing in the churches will echo in our ears for a long time to come. We have experienced the friendliness and hospitality of the islanders and four of us are now getting ready to go back home. It is appropriate to reflect on our friendships and OUR team- small, but steady and strong. The team that took a hands-on approach to touch lives. We came to achieve goals and have experienced that beneath skin, beyond the differing features and into the true heart of being, fundamentally we are more alike than we are different. All my thoughts will be with you this weekend as you travel back to the USA and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all and hope to meet again one day.

Ka Kite, kia orana and kia manuia! Greetings and good luck.

– Connie

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