If you didn’t already know, “Island Breeze” has joined us here in Townsville. Which means that Proper Way (the Pacific Island dance group I’ve been a part of) and Island Breeze (same same, but different) are now practicing together. What does that mean? Well firstly our family more than doubled in size and our boy:girl ratio went from 1:3 to 1:1. But that in itself doesn’t change much apart from the room size we use and the amount of air conditioning required to keep us from dying of heat exhaustion!
We’re actually merging two families, so two cultures really… We’re now dancing 1.5 times faster to a loud beat produced by drums instead of wooden sticks. And we’re learning heaps of new moves! If you know me well, you’re well aware that I’m far from being coordinated! Marching in steps and in time to “Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left…!” had always been a challenge… (Shame I know, after 8 years in the military, right!) So now imagine me doing complex movements with arms and legs at the same time, and having to remember the foreign names for those moves being called in a different language! It’s a holistic workout; even my brain is involved!
However, I don’t dance for the workout. Nor for the impression that I’m stuck in the middle of a war with Fijian warriors… Dancing to the sound of the drums to strategically avoid spears, “Mission Impossible” style, as it felt last week. That beat makes me quite nervous… mostly because I can’t dance that fast and I don’t like making mistakes ;) But I do dance so that I can be part of this great family. Where values such as community, respect, cooperation, encouragement, loyalty, altruism and generosity are uphold with the utmost respect. Both groups dance to impact the Nations of the Pacific, redeem cultures, and display their beauty and fragrance.
This week after our hour of Hawaiian Basics was completed, we’ve spent time learning “Toe’a Mai” / our family version of a Maori Haka. (Haka is a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity.) This dance is about unity, family, rowing together and protecting one another. As our family grows we can’t go on doing the same Toe’a Mai, we have to take into account each other’s strengths and let our newfound brothers take their place, row with us and support one another in this transition and amazing season of change and growth.
In “Toe’a Mai” everyone dances fairly closely and it’s practically impossible to go out of step as everyone is tightly rowing together towards the same goal. With this upcoming challenging season, as we move into the City Campus and pursue a new medical ship, this unity and common vision to see the Nations empowered can only strengthen our family.