|The green is still that new, "spring" green, even under the|
trunk of a fallen tree.
|Outcroppings like these can be over very shallow or very deep water,|
and the beach is very different at high or low tide.
The most fascinating moment when the youngest daughter, about 8 or 9, finally freed a crab from an abandoned net the family had dragged out of the water. She took it over to her 16-year old brother, who talked to her about it for a few minutes. Then she handed him the crab, which surprised me, because she had not let any of her other brothers take the crab. But she willingly handed the crab over to her oldest brother, and he in turn lobbed the crab back into the water. Then the family began gathering together, and decided it was time to go home. Within minutes the beach was quiet, as the last of the family waved goodbye to us. The rest had already disappeared into the mangroves.
I was fascinated with the conversation and the actions of these two siblings, because they demonstrated to me a change in traditional family dynamics here in Tonga. Most of the time authority rules here; fathers are feared more than loved, older siblings get their way at the cost of the tender feelings of younger siblings. But not this time. This older brother chose to teach his sister about this crab. Perhaps he explained that it was not edible, or that it was too small. In any case, her accomplishments and tender feelings were honored, and she in turn honored his greater knowledge, and allowed him to rescue the crab and return it to its saltwater home. And both she and her brother were happy. It was like watching a bit of “new green” in family relations here.
|We sat under a mangrove tree like this one.|