Before I’d even gone a few steps I caught up with a lovely island woman who beamed at me and fell into step, telling me about her husband and children and what it’s like to live on this beautiful tropical island in the Coral Sea.
We parted at a crossroads where she joined a stream of colorfully clad folks climbing a narrow path up to the village church. We waved good-bye and I continued on my way, the sound of the church choir providing a magical soundtrack to my walk through the village.
I passed a local school, loving the mural that proclaimed: “White, Black, We Are All The Same.”
I wandered down the road and came across five brothers lolling about on wooden benches at the base of a massive tree. They were hilarious little chaps, answering my questions very politely before giggling like mad and hiding their heads under their shirts.
As I waved good-bye I looked back over my shoulder and there they were, peeking at me from around the tree and covering their mouths to suppress more laughter.
Although the sun was blazing hot above Nguna, a quick glance out to sea showed storm clouds gathering and dumping sheets of rain on nearby islands. I picked up my pace a bit, determined to see as much as possible before the storm arrived.
I approached three ladies bustling to church as fast as they could in the sweltering heat. But even running late they greeted me with smiles and stopped to chat. Turns out two of them were Aussies, a volunteer and her mother, heading to morning worship with their adopted island mama.
Little trails branched off from the main road, leading to exquisite views of roiling surf and distant islands. They also led to glorious shade and deliciously cool breezes off the water. Such things are pure bliss on a sweltering morning.
I loved strolling through one village after another, thoroughly charmed by the little touches employed to make each place unique: brightly painted gutters, shady porches facing the sea, and vivid hibiscus blossoms.
One of my favorite moments was spotting this woman through the trees. She looked so beautiful and powerful standing there on the rocks, her orange dress billowing in the wind as she searched the horizon looking for I know not what.
When I passed this spot on my way home, she called out greetings to me from a shady patch of sand where she was having a picnic with her husband and children. I love moments like that. 🙂
Next time I’ll share what I saw just before a mother of a rain storm blew in.
Do you like walking in the rain?