By: Lauren M.
Ariki Day is finally here! We are heading into Avarua around 9am to join the festivities. Jake and Chris had an earlier start to the day because they went scuba diving! Some other members of the adventure squad left Ariki Day early because they had snorkeling appointments.
From what they tell me the snorkeling was amazing! Everyone that went saw a lot of cool fish. They also swam with sea turtles and far below them were small sharks. Swimming with turtles and sharks, an amazing adventure, and one you can find with Global Treks and Adventures.
Ariki Day was also an interesting adventure for those of us who stayed for the entire thing. The ceremony started at 9am and we all hurried into the auditorium to watch the ceremony commence. The majority of the ceremony was spoken in Maori, so we could not understand, but nonetheless it was a cool to experience authentic local culture.
After the ceremony there was food and entertainment. There was not enough food for everyone, but the six of us left managed to snag two baskets with the help of a local woman who insisted that we try the food. She was in front of us in line and when she saw the food was running out she quickly rushed us forward saying we could not miss out! This is not the first time our team has experienced this type of compassion from the locals, and I assure you all reading, it will not be the last.
The baskets were filled with chicken, pork, and potatoes. It was amazing! The woman who helped us get the food sat down with us and we had a nice conversation with her.
After our Ariki Day, snorkeling, and scuba diving adventures, we all met back at the house and had a few moments to relax before dinner. Some of us went to the beach, others played pool, and even more of us worked on developing our outlines, which are due tonight.
The same routine followed: with dinner, and eating out under the stars. We always have great conversations no matter what. We have gotten into some serious debates, but they always end in compromise and understanding.
Tomorrow is our last day. Some of us are staying a little later on the Island, but for most of us, our flight leaves at 11pm. All in all, this was an amazing adventure. We developed long lasting relationships with people who live on the Island. We made memories that will live on forever. But most importantly, we connected with each other and now have friendships with people we never would have met but not for this trip. I believe this is the most valuable thing gained from this trip. Of course we all have amazing resume boosters, and our research will be published. But the friendship, the laughs, the inside jokes, and the conversations these are all priceless. These are what make the trip worth it.
On behalf of the entire Rarotonga team, we would all like to thank our four incredible guides! Jen, Kyle, Steph, and Brett, without you four, this trip would not have been possible, and we all never would have met to experience such a remarkable adventure together. Again, thank you, or as the Cook Islanders would say Meitaki!