I fell in love with this place. I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with the beauty of each side of the atoll. I fell in love with the simplicity of the life they choose. In general, people on Takapoto live in harmony with nature and have learned to understand it. They awake with the sun and rejoice in the rain. They feel storms coming, can read the stars at night and predict the next day’s weather. My sister is going to make fun of me, but I was really impressed with the men there. They are incredible! They all know how to fish in a variety of ways and they work hard with their hands. Whether they are building houses, working in the coconut fields for hours under the scorching sun, or meticulously cultivating pearls, they were always smiling! In Takapoto, people will welcome you with a smile wherever you are from!
I will always remember a particular discussion with a local family. I was talking about my desire to continue traveling and discovering other islands and countries when the father gave me a confused face: “Why would you like to go somewhere else? We have everything here!” I didn’t have an answer. It’s not that they have everything, because they don’t. It would be hard to rely on weekly exports for food and on the rain for water to shower. The people of Takapoto don’t have the easiest life. Most of us live in places where access to food and water is easy and immediate. However, this family showed us their ability to see the bounty they have and to be grateful for all of it. They have learned to recognize and cherish the blessings they have. I have so much to learn from them.
It was a privilege to visit Takapoto. Even if we were thousands of miles away from my parents, being there made me feel close to them in a new way. I’m not sure when we will have the opportunity to go back, but I know that the next time I stretch my neck to see Takapoto’s shape through the cramped airplane window, I’ll think to myself, “It’s so good to be home.”
— Written by my sister Aloha.