The Glorious Pacific Way by Epeli Hauofa

The Glorious Pacific Way by Epeli Hauofa

In the South Pacific, folk tales, legends and stories are not forgotten, as in the rest of the world. There they are still remembered and transmitted from person to person. In the modern world, such stories lost their value, but not in Ole’s house. The guy loves these folk tales and writes them down to save for the next generations. This is hard and slow work. He dreams of a typewriter. Once Ole felt that God wanted him to go on writing. That is why he does not give up. Some rumours of this reach the official Mr. Harold. Mr. Harold is quite interested. He even invites Ole to the party at an expensive hotel, where he praises the guy for his effort. Finally Ole can get money for help in his work. But everything is not so simple as it seems.

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The Glorious Pacific Way by Epeli Hauofa

In the South Pacific the history and beliefs of the people are told in stories that go back centuries. These stories are not written, but live as spoken words, passed on from parent to child, family to family, year after year.

In the modern world it is easy for oral traditions to be lost. Ole Pasifikiwei on the island of Tiko loves these old stories, so he writes them down. But it is slow work – it would be wonderful to have a typewriter…

‘I hear you’re collecting oral traditions. Good work,’ said Mr Harold Minte. ‘I’m pleased to hear that someone is writing down these old stories before they’re lost forever.’

Mr Minte was a diplomat. His voice was friendly, but he sounded like a teacher speaking to a schoolboy.

The Glorious Pacific Way by Epeli Hauofa

‘Thank you, sir,’ Ole Pasifikiwei said shyly. He was not usually shy, except with foreigners, but tonight he was at a drinks party for diplomats in the beautiful gardens of the International Nightlight Hotel, and he found conversation difficult.

Ole spent most of the free time from his job collecting oral traditions. He felt that God was telling him to do this work, and it had become the great interest of his life.

He had begun by writing down his own family’s history and stories, then went on to other families in the village, and then to neighbouring villages. In seven years he had covered a fifth of his island country. He wrote with a pen in notebooks, which he kept in a tall pile in a corner of his house. He hoped that one day he would have a typewriter and some filing cabinets to keep all the papers safe.

People at MERCY (the Ministry of Environment, Religion, Culture, and Youth) knew about Ole’s work on oral traditions, and thought it was a very fine thing. A senior official in MERCY, who was also a good friend of Ole’s, had invited him to the drinks party to meet Mr Minte, because Mr Minte was in Tiko to talk about development, and to find out where aid and money were needed.

‘Perhaps some money will make your work easier,’ Mr Minte said now to Ole.

‘That’ll help a lot, sir,’ said Ole.

‘We have development money especially for cultural projects like this. We want to make sure that the Pacific Way is not lost. We want to help you.’

‘Very kind of you, sir. When can I have some money?’ ‘After you’ve written me a letter asking for aid…

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