Today I played rugby with a Pali and Sabrina on the main street of 'Eua ... Sabrina had a mean spiral pass ... a young Piri Weepu in the making. Pali was still struggling with his catching game, but could be one to watch for the future.
Kids are everywhere ... in the streets, hanging out on the verandas of churches, kicking balls around the vacant lots ... harassing the herds of pigs that roam freely on the island, riding bikes and thronging the Chinese shops. With internet access absent or rare, kids on this island are still doing what kids for hundreds of years have been doing; having reckless adventures in the outdoors, coming croppers, and getting up again and dusting themselves off with infectious grins and cheeky self-confidence.
Despite their material poverty, children on this island have a warmth, spontaneity and verve that is lacking in some of the kids of the West. Kids in advanced nations have been hedged about with so many fears ... and no doubt picked up a whiff of the materialist and advancement neuroses that afflict so many of we adults. Combine that with a distrust of strangers, and our kids have been robbed of some of the delight and joyful exploration of the world that was more common a couple of generations ago.