One of my favorite parts about moving to a different place is learning to navigate my new home and find communities of people that I really connect with. When I moved to Vava'u, I started attending a Sunday night Baha'i study group. It's so nice to come together with this group of friends. We come from all over Vava'u Lahi (and the world) for an evening of learning and laughing.
Baha'i is a faith that is, in terms of other faiths, in its infancy. It's only been around since the 1800's, but has a lot to teach. It's about the unification of everything (well not only that... it's just one of the many reasons I am drawn to it), it teaches that actions speak louder than words. One of the spiritual masters of the religion, Baha'u'llah says that "the betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly conduct." He also says that "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens". Beautiful advice.
I don't really like talking about my faith/religion/spiritual beliefs on the world-wide-web because I believe it to be a very private thing and sometimes those conversations can drive a wedge between people. But here's this: I consider myself a spiritual person - I'm still on the fence about aligning myself with one faith. I think that sometimes when we align ourselves too rigidly with something we create a feeling of separateness. I think they all have a lot of goodness to teach the world and many times it's the same message just with different packaging.
Sunday afternoon/evening we all got together at Don and Norie's to learn some more about Baha'i and to eat and hang out. One of the many things we're currently working on is developing and implementing a service project to help keep Vava'u clean. Littering/waste management here is a huge problem. I suspect that it's due to the fact that Tongans used to use banana leaves for plates and the practice of throwing them on the ground became commonplace. But fast forward time and the "advancement" of society and do the same thing with a Styrofoam plate? NotsogoodforMamaNature.
So we began the prep for our service day by creating some pretty amazing signs.
Maybe we weren't always the most focused, but we sure did have fun.
I am so grateful to be part of such a fun group of people who are working together to make the world a better place.
The full service project includes walking a very high-traffic area near Neiafu and picking up trash, hanging signs reminding people not to litter on the ground and coming together to keep our corner of the world a little bit cleaner.