By Tony Snowsill.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“As a man thinks in his heart so he is.”
– R.E. Burns.
Yes we have a great affinity we of Viti, of Fiji.
An affinity that others cannot comprehend.
An affinity others do not share with their friends, new and of long ago.
An affinity which we Kai Viti’s can re-establish in a moment
despite years of separation.
An affinity that surprises others because men can gently touch
and hold hands with fellow men , or women
as a sincere expression of affection.
This mysterious affinity we possess has to do with-
being comfortable in the company of fellow Fijians.
knowing that such friends come from similar backgrounds
that have been molded by our similar childhood experiences.
knowing that these friends do not seek to categorize you
because they already knew you, or, of you,
and maybe, but not necessarily, your family.
something akin to a blood relationship – a family bond – a kinship
which allowed for freedom of thought.
knowing that one would not be judged forever
on what one thought and spoke about on a particular day.
being compassionate and sensitive to each others needs and aspirations,
a deep-felt yearning to be with each other,
to communicate with each other,
to affectionately touch and embrace each other.
This affinity causes us a relentless pain deep in our chests, in our hearts
when we cannot do these things.
Yet, this affinity, which is so difficult to define
also involves a certain “Mana”
derived from our Fijian influenced lifestyle
of our early association or upbringing-
the mixing of races in a confined area-
similar community interests as youngsters-
a relationship of shared understanding, and
within certain confines, trust and understanding between
people and peoples who were children together in Paradise.
This Mana is a relationship of affinity or harmony
between kin where whatever affects one, affects the other.
This Mana/Affinity is a natural rapport, resonance, and sympathy
of feeling, all working together to affect our kinship.
We are kin, matagali.
Our village lands are the Fiji Islands.
So it is that our Mana goes beyond our conscious understanding.
Our Mana –
binds us together as we have a sub-conscious conceit or pride
and an unconscious sense of belonging to each other.
allows us to give off an unconscious positive influence upon our fellow Fijians
and provides us with a certain “magic” between us all.
provides us with a mutual sense of prestige, power, pride, identity
and a sense of “one spirit” because we are of similar nature, upbringing.
is a spiritual power or magical energy and a force which works better
when we as Kai Viti’s are together, communicate or reminisce.
provides us with a self-esteem which few outsiders can comprehend.
has given us a dignity, instilled by our Fijian upbringing, to which, we as Kai Viti’s,
must not only aspire, but achieve, to find fulfillment in life.
However, above all, our affinity and our Mana allow us
to laugh at each other and laugh with each other
and to express deep personal thoughts to each other without
fear of being unfairly judged for what we say and feel.
Our affinity allows us to reminisce and comprehensively communicate with
each other devoid of fear of feeling awkward or mis-understood.
We are one tribe/matagali married in a harmonious relationship when it
comes to communication between each of us.
Interestingly, often we cannot successfully live with each other in marriage.
Our affinity allows us to express our togetherness;
hold hands in friendship, touch sensitively and affectionately,
be we male and male, or, male and female;
to express our deep felt emotions together, and,
importantly, to cry unashamedly together;
to truly feel each others losses and happiness.
And we need each other, our association our time together to reminisce
to help us find contentment in our lives.
And we do cry together,
not always with tears
but deep in our self, in our hearts where the pain is greatest.
And it is the same for males and females.
And the pain can destroy us.
Our parting is best summed up by saying one word which I leave to you
to translate because I can find no English words which
fully convey the full sense of emotions this single word expresses.
Like Isa Lei this word has boundless meanings.
Personal meanings to each of us.
Meanings which our native land, Fiji, has instilled in and upon us,
We of Viti…the Mana of Viti being within us helping us
to understand this single word and its depth of meaning.
A word filled with joy and longing for an ongoing
friendship which we cannot ignore especially once it has been
re-kindled after many years of our being separated.
And that word being
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