It was another day out in the country. Aleisa to be precise. So peaceful with nothing but the birds sangin their hearts out from just about everywhere and anywhere (come to think of it, surround sound’s roots were from Aleisa lol). Apart from that, you would hear the odd chainsaw roaring in the far distance or someone calling someone who’s out in the bush. And no, I’m not talking about a cell phone or land line. It was our brand of it. You could hear the “uuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” resonating. Then quiet. Then a replying “iaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” from somewhere out there in the koga kalo! That’s how you placed a call bush style!
It had rained that day and after the feau’s my cousin, and my little brother decided to brush up on our ‘ice skiing’ skills. In other words skidding and sliding around in the mua fale (front of the house) on the wet grass. So what you ended up with was kinda like abstract art of near perfect linear dirt marks criss crossing everywhere. How much is this appreciated? Well, when auntie came home that evening, her Suzuki didn’t come right up near the front steps to park like she normally would. She parked it under the mangoes, disappeared to the umu kuka (kitchen) marched back to the front steps and called us. When we got there she was standing with the salu lima ready to show us her ‘appreciation’ for our ‘work of art!’
After the magigi (hiding) we licked our wounds under the Vi tree munching on the ripe Vi’s that had fallen. My cousin consoling me as I told off my little brother while he lamented the fact we should’ve just run away to uncle Iefaka’s house and stayed there till the next day!
My uncle was visiting us from New Zeland incidentally. And you know how it is when you spend almost your whole life in the country and what your eyes are used to seeing right? Then to have uncle turn up with his panache cap, his jumper (he was from Christchurch), shoes (we never seen shoes like that before) and his Saturday Night Fever jeans (this was the late 70’s mind you). Dayum, the only person we’ve seen that dressed even close to his standards was the faife’au!
He came walking from the back of the house with his gun and saw us lot sitting under the Vi looking miserable and saw the marks on our arms and he laughed. Shaking his head he imparted his wisdom, “Kua kou valea kele, lea le mea ga kou le sosola ai ia Iefaka?” Hmmmmmm!? But all was right with the world again when he beckoned us to follow him down the drive way where he was heading towards the Vavae trees to hunt for bats.
We would huddle up and stilled ourselves like statues under the lau ka’amu as the bats circled among the branches with their own bran of orchestral cacophony! It was not an easy task staying still as we’d be slapping our arms and legs from the mosquitoes, then we’d get a bonus slap from uncle for making too much noise all the while he himself was making just as much if not more noises with shifting his stance here and there. Suffice it to say, we didn’t shoot nothing. The only thang we got was Vavaes falling on our heads and a lot of broken twigs with each ‘bang.’ And we just hated his optimism coz he was like, “Oh well, probably too much sunlight, we’ll come when it gets a bit darker tomorrow!” Excuse me? It was already pitch dark when we were slapping damn mosquitoes!
So then we filed back up the drive way (the drive way that was like, almost a mile long). Watching the glowing mushrooms on the tree trunks that were like lanterns guiding our way.
Another day out in the country. Another day’s excitement.