Fearless in Fiji

Fearless in Fiji

From the Archives

Woman walking though the forest at sunset, Fearless in Fiji On the sunny island of Vatoa in Fiji, I took one step off the boat onto the beach and was immediately kidnapped by giggling Elina, a fourth grader, and bashful Wadolia, a second grader. Each took my hand and led me into and around their lush village. A half dozen children looked on and expressed gleeful shrugs.

Rarely do Vatoans receive visitors on their remote island. Imagine being a child of seven years old and seeing your first white person. I must have looked so washed out to them!

The girls practiced their English on me. Every few minutes, a squeal of joy and excitement came from Elina, followed by giggles. The laughter of the Vatoa children expressed all at once a passionate curiosity, a judgment-free acceptance, an innocent simplicity, and most of all, unadulterated happiness.

The girls led me past several palm-shaded and neatly kept houses that were about the size of a U.S. home’s living room and painted blue on the outside. The adults were busy working – cleaning fish, braiding stripped palm leaves, and grating root plants.

I asked the children questions about their lives. What was their best school subject? What did they eat for lunch? What was their favorite game to play? More squeals, and they showed me their school. There were no children inside, but the walls were jammed with art projects, spelling lists, math problems, and English lessons.

There are many things the rest of the world is craving right now that the Vatoans have managed to conquer because they are isolated and off the beaten track. Their environment is quite green, literally and environmentally. They use local resources, little fuel, no cars, and have a very small footprint. They have very little need for money except when they need to buy goods from the outside world. There are no locks and no need to lock anything. They live simply, yet work hard. They all know and take care of each other, despite the usual personality squabbles. I’m sure it’s not always prefect in this paradise island, but there are abundant amounts of trust, love, and fearlessness.

Is there something that Americans can learn from this lifestyle? Sure, you can focus on all of the material things they lack if you want to. But the biggest thing they lack that we have in abundance, especially right now, is fear. Somehow, we’ve got to start learning how to turn our negative emotions or fears into positive emotions such as trust, hope, and love.

Here are six things that Elina and Wadolia reminded me to integrate into my life and being:

  • Develop and practice a passionate curiosity of things and people who are different from you.
  • Accept things and people judgment-free, unless they give you a reason not to.
  • Be transparent.
  • Live green, and keep your footprint small.
  • Be grateful for the abundance of material wealth we have in this country. Even after any recent decline, we still have an amazing and embarrassing amount of material riches in the U.S.
  • Above all, giggle.

Now it’s your turn. Help spread the fearlessness in Fiji to the rest of the world by practicing in your own neighborhood.

Send us your stories of fearlessness and we’ll post them in a new section on our web site.

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