S’Pacificall­y Speaking


How wonderful to know that in this day and age people can still be distracted by something as ‘old fashioned’ as a wedding! Not any old wedding of course but the wedding of a prince and his commoner wife. Two worlds apart as far as you can list the difference­s but a new dimension in keeping with ‘what’s happening now’ and a welcome break it was for many. American actress Meghan Markle married her prince, an officer and a gentleman (sometimes a lovable scallywag) Prince Harry of the House of Windsor and what an absolutely beautiful event it was. Televised in front of millions of viewers around the world, the whole ceremony was colourful and beautiful to say the least. Although I’m normally not a television viewer I enjoyed watching the lead up to the ceremony and seeing the many guests arrive including the who’s who of the entertainm­ent world and English society. It’s a different world to Flagstaff. That Meghan arrived on her own was sad but courageous and I felt it was a bit of a statement – but she looked a princess already in her simple and extremely elegant Givenchy wedding gown, tiara and her late mother in law’s favourite flowers – some picked by Prince Harry himself – of simple forget-me-nots, lily of the valley and jasmine to name a few. The normally formal Church of England wedding ceremony at St George’s chapel exploded with the fiery tongue of Episcopali­an church minister Rev. Richard Curry of the United States, a joyful noise of gospel singing and a young cellist from the East Midlands who was invited by Prince Harry to play during the signing ceremony – making the ceremony as alive as though we were there ourselves. The bride and groom’s intimacy was warm and their motorcade through suburbia was equally so, giving the ordinary folk the spectacle and excitement of their lives. Blessings on this beautiful couple and many happy years ahead – just love a wedding don’t you? So proud to be part of the the Loloma Foundation 2018 medical mission which has just ended. With nearly 140 medical personnel flying in from the United States this year (and one special surgeon from the Solomon Islands, Dr Clay Siosi) to volunteer their services, many islanders from the Yasawa group and patients who received medical care from these special visitors were very fortunate indeed. Loloma’s mission is to support the medical and dental systems in the South Pacific. They have now treated more than 100,000 patients in Fiji and a further 27,000 in the Solomon Islands. Providing medical, surgical, obstetrics/ gynaecolog­y, dental and optical procedures, reading glasses and cataract surgeries have been part of their mission including brand new dentures and crowns being worn proudly by those who have visited the dental teams. The ob/gyn teams are very popular with women in the villages as pap smears and women’s health and wellbeing matters are dealt with right in the village without them having to take a punt and road transport to the nearest health centre or hospital. Menstrual education and ovulation issues are now introduced into the outreach programme, with special reusable sanitary pad kits given to the young women who attend the sessions. All medical personnel pay for their fares and accommodat­ion and meals and volunteer their services to the Loloma mission. The Loloma Foundation was overwhelme­d and grateful at being the beneficiar­ies of the first Bottega Gold Fashion Festival charity dinner that was held on 31 May at the Grand Pacific Hotel. This is the first time that the Loloma Foundation has receive a contributi­on from the community in Fiji and humble thanks is extended to the Chair, Mr Faraz Ali and trustees of the Fiji Fashion Council for this most welcome initiative. This month whilst I have written about a fairytale wedding celebratio­n in the United Kingdom and a project of health and wellbeing successful­ly completed in Fiji, I also mourn the senseless death of a young man in Suva. At the time this page was submitted to maiLife the murder of a young man was reported. Whilst any death is sad and a great loss to family members, friends and society, this young man was gay and my friends and associates in the LGBT community feel this is another senseless gay bashing that went wrong and is becoming common place in our community. Once again I refer to the words in my opening sentence, ‘in this day and age’ – and write that ‘in this day and age’one would think that we are so socially advanced and educated that we should know better. Granted the inevitabil­ity of wars, violence, destructio­n, environmen­tal degradatio­n – all on a mammoth scale happening all around us, but small communitie­s that we feel may be more protective of one another are going in that same direction. Homophobia exists amongst us, a small minority but it exists nonetheles­s. Wikipedia defines homophobia as “contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear, and is often related to religious beliefs. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behaviour such as discrimina­tion and violence on the basis of sexual orientatio­ns that are non-heterosexu­al.” The words “often related to religious beliefs” is a big worry – whilst we have a very diverse religious landscape, Fiji is mainly Christian and Christiani­ty falls very short of “loving our neighbours as we love ourselves.” It falls short of just being good to one another, to treat others as we want to be treated - to be civilized, no more no less. We have arrived at a place in society when violence is becoming a norm. Members of the upper echelons of our society are getting away with crimes and heinous acts of violence, hence the attitude that if they can do it and get away with it then why can’t I? Those young people and those deemed ‘different’ are our brothers, sisters, children, aunties, uncles, family. Or have you forgotten already? So sad – the excuse for violence is getting easier and easier – where have we gone wrong? Where are your prayers going?

 ??  ?? Mrs BERNADETTE ROUNDS GANILAU is a former radio personalit­y and Member of Parliament. Now retired, she continues with her NGO work and runs her own business.
Mrs BERNADETTE ROUNDS GANILAU is a former radio personalit­y and Member of Parliament. Now retired, she continues with her NGO work and runs her own business.

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