June 24 – July 14, 2015 (Total days in Bora Bora were from May 22 – July 14, 2015) – by Anne – BORA BORA, THE SOCIETY ARCHIPELAGO, FRENCH POLYNESIA – PART 2
Our days in Bora Bora, after Bora Bora Part 1, continued to be filled with the joy of nature, interactions with the friendly local Polynesian and French residents, and the ever present daily and nightly sound of traditional Polynesian drum beats and chanting! That’s because many residents formed dance and singing groups to compete in the annual cultural program called the Bora Bora Heiva. The goal of the Heiva is to try to keep certain ancient Polynesian traditions and activities alive, so they can be passed down through future generations. Every year, individuals and teams of locals practice their traditional art, music, or sport for months before the Heiva, a wonderful event that lasts over a month. The dancers and singers were everyday people from Bora Bora; the baker, the mom, the high school student, the nurse, the fireman, the cafe waitress, and hundreds more non professional dancers and singers are what Heiva is about! The most spectacular thing about Heiva was the way everyday participants and the audience wanted to keep their culture alive! Jeff, Bill, and I enjoyed attending as many of the Heiva dance and singing practices as we could, almost every evening for Bill, and perhaps twice a week for Jeff and me.
I invite you to please read the descriptions written below each photo as they will give you an impression as to what our life was like in this idyllic South Pacific island, Bora Bora! You may even feel you were there with us! We hope you will!
The photos will give you a glance at what a fantastic time we had in Bora Bora. Our encounter with a giant, flamboyantly colored coconut crab named C.T. will amaze you (God chose his colors, they were not painted on by a human)! You’ll see how the extraordinary participants of the Bora Bora Heiva excelled in their traditional dances, and how beautiful the men and women are on this tiny island. On the titles of the photos, the names Faanui, Tiipoto, and Nunue are names of the competing teams, and refer to the areas of Bora Bora that the teams represent.
Also, by looking at these photos, you will see how local Polynesian and French people demonstrated their faith in God, how we met some fellow sailing missionary families, and how another art ministry event developed. You’ll be amazed at our 4th of July celebration in a rainstorm with our American friends! You’ll also, I’m certain, be in total awe over the gorgeous natural wonders of Bora Bora, like the rainforest covered mountains, the skies filled with rainbows and ever changing cloud formations, and of course, the iconic sea!
But before you tour Bora Bora with us through our photos, please read about the Mission Joyful events in the following paragraphs, including the art ministry workshop I held. Maybe you will discover an art expression you may wish to try!
Sailing Missionaries – Jeff and I were really blessed to have met several other sailing missionaries while we were in Bora Bora! One special day while Jeff and I were in Joyful’s cockpit at Teiva’s dock in the lagoon, a family of 4 motored up in their dinghy to say, “Hello”. They were intrigued in Joyful’s hailing port of Aspen, Colorado, which along with her name, was written on her transom. The family consisted of Ken and Beatrice, and their 16 year old son, Josh, and 14 year old daughter, Gabriella. They are sailing around the world on their sloop, Elin, and doing missionary work along the way. They have the fantastic gift of running across other Christians and putting them together to encourage one another in their work for the Lord. They introduced us to two other sailing missionary families, Phil and Pam and David and Karen. Phil and Pam annually sail their boat, “Maranatha”, from Australia to the Louisaides in Papua New Guinea, to do good works there which include teaching the locals about Jesus, teaching worship leaders to utilize guitar music with singing in their worship, and doing many other missionary and humanitarian endeavors. David and Karen on their catamaran, “Sea Angel” are going to be based in a small island group in Vanuatu, where they will meet with doctors from other countries and sail them to remote islands in Vanuatu, where they can help the locals with their medical needs. You can see all these wonderful people in the photographs. We named this group of fellow sailing missionaries and ourselves, “Sailors for Christ”.
During the first half of our weeks in Bora Bora, I was able to praise the Lord with music ministry when Jeff and I stayed in a wonderful Frenchman’s villa on the mountainside overlooking the lagoon. You can see two photos of this memorable event in this section of the blog, as well as others in Bora Bora Part 1. Then, in the second half of our weeks in Bora Bora, I was blessed to have played my guitar twice at the MaiKai Restaurant and Yacht Club. They were perfect opportunities to obey Psalm 100: 1-2 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” The first time was when a Polynesian musician asked me to play some classical music on his guitar, and when I did, he began singing soft, dreamlike words in a Polynesian dialect! When I played Amazing Grace, he sang all the words in Polynesian, too. The combination of the guitar music and his voice was peaceful and melodic! Then, a few weeks later, the same musician was there playing for a wedding ceremony. Again, he asked if I would play his guitar, and I did. When I played Amazing Grace, he again sang the words, in his native Polynesian language, to this universally known and beloved hymn during the wedding celebration. It was amazing to hear his mellow voice sing those powerful words in a beautiful sounding language! That is something I will always remember with happiness! Music is a perfect way to reach people from all countries, all ages. Most people love music. It is truly a gift from the Lord!
Once again I was blessed to have had the opportunity to use my God given gift of art to serve others here in Bora Bora. The Lord wants everyone to utilize the gifts He has given them to serve others, as seen in 1Peter 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” I held an art workshop for Beatrice and Gabriella, members of the sailing missionary family on s/v Elin, where I taught them how to incorporate Bible verses in their paintings and to use the traditional tools of Chinese brush painting artists. So, in a heavy rainstorm, in the shelter of the MaiKai Yacht Club’s veranda, we set up a studio where they learned how to make ink from a Chinese ink stick by grinding it on an ink stone, to use a Chinese brush, and to paint on transparently thin, fragile rice paper. Beatrice and Gabriella were motivated students who did an excellent job of learning. They loved learning to write Bible verses onto their artwork, so people could enjoy the Word of God as well as the beautiful art work. We had lots of fun together, and are looking forward to serving the Lord together through His gift of art! You can see photos of the art workshop in this section of the blog. Maybe you can try taking art lessons from someone someday, or teach yourself! You will make people very happy if you give them a painting or drawing made by you!
COMING UP NEXT (after the photos of Bora Bora Part 2)…JOYFUL’S PASSAGE FROM BORA BORA TO THE KINGDOM OF TONGA! Come join Joyful as we sail across more of the gorgeous South Pacific Ocean to another exotic landfall! You may wish to put your sunscreen on NOW! It will be FUN!
1. Even with rain pouring down, the Tiipoto dancers joyously performed their dances at the Bora Bora Heiva.
2. Tiipoto male dancers performed war and other traditional dances in the annual dance and cultural program called the Heiva Bora Bora.
3. This pretty young lady danced for the Nunue team in the Heiva dance final. The troupe won the grand prize! They made their traditional costumes with hibiscus fiber, sea shells, and coconut fibers.
4. All the dancers, like this colorful Tiipoto dancer, immensly enjoyed performing in the annual Heiva competition. They are everyday people from Bora Bora, not professional dancers!
5. A lovely Tiipoto dancer made her skirt from hibiscus fiber, banana tree bark, and green leaves. Every dancer must construct their own clothes from indigenous materials from Bora Bora.
6. Nunue dancers perform in the dance final. These white fibers came from the hibiscus tree. All the materials came from Bora Bora, and the costumes were handmade by the dancers themselves! The troupe won the grand prize!
7. The Tiipoto male and female dancers, wore traditional garments and decorations made of fresh green leaves.
8. Nunue female dancers held large mother of pearl oyster shells in their hands to symbolize raindrops reflecting light. This was a dramatic and effective way to portray their theme of rain!
9. Nunue’s leader, Tietu, wore feathers, shells, and fibers from Bora Bora. He was an excellent, powerful, effective, and dedicated leader of the Nunue dance troupe.
10. Beautiful Tamatea wearing the Faanui dance costume her mother and grandmother lovingly made her by hand of plants, shells, and feathers from Bora Bora.
11. The pretty Faanui dancer poses with Jeff and Anne at the Bora Bora Heiva 2015.
12. The beautiful young Tamatea at the Faanui Chant (himene – singing) finals.
13. The Faanui choir troup is singing during the Chant final at the Heiva. The judges are seated in the foreground near my camera.
14. The Faanui choir after the Chant (himene – singing) final competition. They prayed together before and after each performance, as did all the dance and choir troups. I took this photo after their group prayer.
15. Bill attended almost every Nunue dance practice for a month & took photos. They made friends with him and a few nights before the final competition 75 dancers and musicians put a lei around his neck to thank him for motivating them to excel.
16. The Nunue team presented Bill with a custom made Polynesian pareo, shirt and leis to honor him. They also invited him to be their guest of honor at the Heiva final competition.
17. This is Anne’s cartoon of Teiva & his family at Bora Bora Heiva 2015. Their lovely daughter, Tamatea, danced in the Faanui finals. As you can see, one of their dogs has only three legs, & the other loves to eat entire French bagettes of bread!
18. This is Anne’s drawing of Fifi, Gerard’s French Poodle at Heiva Bora Bora 2015. Gerard kindly let Joyful use one of his mooring lines all month to keep her steady on Teiva’s dock in the lagoon.
19. In a view from Joyful, a traditional outrigger canoe for 12 made its way to compete in the Heiva race in Bora Bora. More competing outriggers were staged in the lagoon as seen on the right side of this photo.
20. Anne and Jeff ate lunch under coconut trees in Bora Bora with Joyful in the distance.
21. A rainbow near Joyful reminds us of God’s promise!
22. Bora Bora’s Mt. Otemanu was shrouded in the afternoon rain clouds viewed from the north east.
23. Jagged volcanic formations were seen throughout the volcanic island of Bora Bora.
24. We walked on this serene beach on the northern part of Bora Bora’s lagoon. The roof was made of pandanus leaves from a nearby island.
25. One day we had lunch at this traditional Polynesian style restaurant on the north shore of Bora Bora’s lagoon.
26. Lush ponds with water lillies could be enjoyed here and there in Bora Bora.
27. The water in Bora Bora’s lagoon was quite clear and clean. Tides swept through the lagoon formed by the coral reef every day. As an artist, Anne was captivated by the ever changing designs in the water’s surface around Joyful. This water is just outside of Joyful’s aft head’s port light!
28. Anne is with C.T. the flambouyant 15 year old coconut crab. C.T. is eating a coconut with his huge claws. Coconut crabs used to be everywhere in Bora Bora. Now they bring them in from other islands in Polynesia to sell to the locals for food.
29. Christoph, Anne, and C.T., the coconut crab are smiling at you!
30. Christoph and his 15 year old coconut crab. The crab kept Christoph on a strong leash.
31. The 15 year old pet coconut crab had his name written on his back, C.T. Bora Bora. They enjoy eating coconuts! If you get your finger near his pincers, it will be the last time that happens…for that finger! But you will have 9 more chances, 19 if you include your toes!
32. This is a close up of C.T. the 15 year old coconut crab enjoying eating a coconut for elevenses! Note how his owner, Christoph, is keeping his hands well away from C.T.’s giant powerful claws!
33. We had the honor to attend many rites of holy baptism at a Bora Bora church.34. We went to a confirmation service in a church in Bora Bora.
35. The church service was conducted in both French and Polynesian languages.
36. A Polynesian Christian brought his traditional conch shell horn to church every Sunday in order to praise the Lord during certain hymns.
37. A Polynesian worshiped Jesus by praising the Lord by blowing the traditional conch shell horn during certain hymns in the service.
38. Joyful was lashed to the lagoon’s floor with heavy mooring lines, as well as dock lines to shore and to the floating dock. We stored some fruit and vegetables in nets in Joyful’s cockpit.
39. Lunch on Joyful in Bora Bora – I cut this delicious French Polynesian grown individual sized cantaloupe into a little basket and filled it with other fruits grown in French Polynesia. The locals took pride in the fact that the French Polynesian Islands can be totally self sufficient from the rest of the world if need be.
40. Jeff and Anne dining at the MaiKai in Bora Bora. Anne is proudly wearing a tee shirt from one of the three American schools that partnered with Joyful in the Blue Planet Odyssey, the Good Shepherd Academy.
41. In Bora Bora, we enjoyed eating both traditional Polynesian foods as well as French dishes like this scrumptious salade Niçoise.
42. Poisson Cru au Lait de Coco (Raw fish in coconut milk and lime juice) was one of the many delicious traditional Polynesian dishes. They ate this for breakfast or at any time.
43. Anne paintied Joyful’s new Blue Planet Odyssey flag on the veranda of the MaiKai Restaurant and Yacht Club in Bora Bora.
44. Anne hoisted Joyful’s new Blue Planet Odyssey flag she made to take the place of the original wind shreaded BPO flag.
45. Teiva honored Joyful by making her a member of the MaiKai Yacht Club. Joyful proudly flies the pennant!
46. Teiva, owner of the MaiKai Yacht Club in Bora Bora, proudly displayed the USA flag on the 4th of July.
47. During a rainstorm, Sailors for Christ members enjoyed a feast and a banana split together to celebrate the 4th of July on the porch of a Bora Bora bank because it was the only shelter from the rain storm! We had planned to have the picnic under the coconut trees by the lagoon. But this was better! Unforgettable!
48. To celebrate the 4th of July, Anne serves Sailors for Christ friends a banana split. Because of a rain storm the picnic was enjoyed under the front porch of a Bora Bora bank.
49. We met many sailing missionaries in Bora Bora whom we named Sailors for Christ. David took this photo of the group on his boat, Sea Angel. From left to right- Phil, Karen, Jeff, Anne, Beatrice, Pam, Ken, Gabriella, Josh.
50. Sea Angel’s David was the other member of Sailors for Christ who kindly took the group’s photo.
51. Jeff and Anne at an extemporanious music ministry event at Garrick’s lovely Mediterranean style villa in Bora Bora. The French born artist is famous in his native country, as well as in Bora Bora.
52. Anne loved playing her guitar for Garrick in his villa in Bora Bora. He knew some of the classic Italian pieces she played for him. In the morning birds seemed to chirp in time with the music on his veranda!
53. Anne played a guitar and Henri sang Amazing Grace at the MaiKai Yacht Club.. Henri sang the words in Polynesian.
54. Anne played Amazing Grace at a beautiful wedding at the MaiKai Restaurant and Yacht Club in Bora Bora.
55. Anne taught fellow sailing missionaries, Beatrice and Gabriella, Chinese brush painting in an art ministry workshop in Bora Bora. In the art ministry class Gabriella made ink with a Chinese ink stick and stone. Both Gabriella and her mother, Beatrice learned well and enjoyed the new art form! They want to combine Bible verses with their paintings.
56. Anne demonstrated how to set up the painting area for Chinese brush painting. The glue was only used as a brush rest.
57. Anne demonstrated how to hold a Chinese paint brush during the art ministry painting workshop.
58. Fellow sailing missionaries, Beatrice and Gabriella, learn Chinese brush painting from me in an art ministry workshop in at the MaiKai Restaurant and Yacht Club in Bora Bora.
59. Anne made this card during an art ministry workshop in Bora Bora to demonstrate how to integrate a Bible verse with a Chinese brush painting.
60. Joyful leaving Bora Bora flying the MaiKai Yacht Club Pennant, Blue Planet Odyssey flag, French Polynesia courtesy flag, and the French courtesy flag from her spreader halyards.
61. Bora Bora in the rear view mirror! Tonga here we come!
62. Farewell Bora Bora! We love you! We left Joyful’s wake and good new friends behind.
63. Flat Mr. Davis is dressed for sea and ready for the passage from Bora Bora to the Kingdom of Tonga! Ahoy, Round Hill Bears and everyone! Prepare for fun and excitement with Joyful on the high seas in the next episode of this blog!