I have been attending a training of trainers at the Methodist Conference Center. I was unhappy with the sleeping arrangements. I had hoped to have a private room because previous companions have told me that I snore. On one occasion in Ireland a group of about 50 of us were doing a pilgrimage walk. After a 20 mile walk on the first day I didn’t sleep a wink on the floor of the community center. The next night after an 18 miles walk I had a great sleep and woke refreshed. I did notice that the youth beside me was a bit embarrassed when I told him how well I slept. It seems that I snored so loudly that no one else in the hall was able to sleep. I was banished to sleep in the toilet on the following night.
Last night I was enjoying a good sleep until I was awoken by loud radio music from the other side of the flimsy partition. I was annoyed. “You would expect people to be more considerate in the middle of the night,” I mused. I was about to request that the music be turned off or at least turned down when suddenly it stopped. Then it hit me. I must have been snoring. Turning the radio volume up was the indirect way that my companions had used to get some quiet so that they could sleep! At least I didn’t have to sleep in the toilet!
Renting a small house in Kinoya while teaching at Pacific Regional Seminary is ideal. I can participate in the local parish sector and help in the parish by celebrating Sunday Mass. There are many Indo-Fijian Catholics here to visit. I encourage the mandali (Hindi prayer group) to continue Gospel sharing.
One of my neighbors, a non-Catholic teacher, has an irritating habit. He regularly wakes me up before 6:00 a.m. by calling from the window to ask for his bus fare. I used to give it with bad grace wondering why, since he has a good job, he hadn’t his own bus fare. He always returned the borrowed money a few days later.
Last Saturday, he approached me later in the morning explaining that he needed about $300 to buy mats to take to a reguregu (funeral gathering) of a close relative who had died suddenly. The bank was closed for the weekend, but he promised to repay me on Monday. I happened to have that much money with me, but I needed some money myself that day. I reluctantly handed over $200.00.
On Monday there was no sign of my friend. I’m afraid I can wave goodbye to that money. I see now how carefully he groomed me. But, at least, I won’t be disturbed early in the morning anymore!
Columban Fr. Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.