Sega la neqa

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Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 20 Apr 2018, 07:19

Hey team! Here's another offering, inspired by the discussion on my previous humble offering regarding colloquial terms. They say write what you know, so this is a short excerpt of life in Fiji assisting with post-cyclone recovery.
This work includes swear words, and terms which read as racial but were used by these two individuals as terms of endearment (common between good friends but not appropriate in any other way). I cannot emphasise enough how much racism is not okay.

I have placed translations at the end of the work.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Come on, ya bastard…” you swear, tongue between your teeth darting out to lick sweat from your upper lip, “come on….” Fingers, slick with sweat and grease, attempt to coax the recalcitrant truck back into life. “One job. One bloody job.” Sweat sizzles at it drops onto the not-at-all-cooled engine and you swear again for good measure. Blowing seat off the tip of your nose, you raise your voice, “alright cuz!” and jerk your head back as the engine revs. “Sweet!” Hans calls back, “get in, bro!” You scramble in, kicking the stretcher over to one side as you clamber awkwardly over the tray and up against the cab; Hans waits for the slap of your hand on the top of the cab before he jolts off again.
“I was gunna grab some melon!” Hans shouts out the window, waiting for half a dozen cows to finish lumbering across the road. “Why don’tchya?”
“She might not start again. She’s pretty touchy today.”
“I’d be bloody touchy too if I had your fat arse sitting on me all day!”
“That’s not what your mamma said last night!”
“Oh for-! She doesn’t like skinny white boys like you!”
Hans just laughs, waving at the herdsman and bumping further along the road, leaving the watermelon sitting sweating in its plastic bin.
The dust is sticking to the sweat on your face and the noise is too much to talk over. You stare out at the rolling green hills through the brown-red dust. Three dogs run alongside. The oldest – a bitch – nearly snags her dangling tits on a rock as she bounds along. Her ribs are as prominent as her offspring’s, but nobody’s about to neuter them. Poor buggers.
The dust picks up as you grind up the hill and you grin and wave at the people you pass. They know you’d give them a lift if you have space but today you’re bringing stuff back to the airport and the tray is full. The cab is full too, come to that, but nobody really expects an actual seat. That’s why you’re bumping around in the back. The gears whine again briefly, the tray jolting forward a few more times before settling back into a steady vibration. There’s less dust as you climb, and you lean forward to see why. Up ahead, a few bends away, is the water truck, spilling and dripping as it bounces. There’s still a couple kids wrestling their heavy plastic bins back to their lean-tos and there’s more and more doing the same struggle as you gain on the truck. Hans’ shoulders look tense through the plexi-glass. The truck has never liked these last couple corners. Not since the van spun out and it pulled in behind and cross-loaded passengers; two bad cases of whiplash and an ugly lot of internal bleeding. The broken nose had stayed in the van. Sometimes it’s like the truck itself knows the carnage from these roads, even though the scientific part of you knows it’s probably Hans’ subconscious.

Hans, bless him, roars past the water truck as it pauses, raising a hand and tearing down the hill. You return to clinging and wondering how long before you lose teeth. Eventually you cross the bridge and get to the new stretch of road that leads to the airport; judder over the terrible dirt track that leads to the hangars. “Bloody pakeha drivers!” you grumble, kicking your toes against the tyre and jumping down, “and bloody stupid Diggers too.” You add for good measure as you barely escape tumbling into the now open gutter, “where’s all the grates?”
“Buggered if I know.” Hans slams the door and pockets the keys, “probably just took them ‘cause they weren’t nailed down.”
“Nah, look, they’re over there. Take a geez! They’re doing bloody PT. Mad bloody Diggers. Don’t they have any real mahi to do?” On the patch of dusty earth that may, once, have contained some vestiges of grass for rugby, a pile of Diggers are doing some sort of circuit training. Their weights are a mixture of jerry cans and the grates off the drain that runs down the outside of the hangar. No-one seems at all worried about losing a precious vehicle into a three-foot high open drain. No wucking furries, you mutter, but mostly internally.
Hans shoves the stretcher on the ground and starts loading it with the remaining stores. “Classic Brownie. Always bloody complaining. Get a bloody move on.” You roll your eyes, grab the last pile of bandages, shove it on, and wait – pointedly – to pick up the stretcher. “Done, you shonky bastard? You wanna be careful, one of the locals hears you using that nickname you’ll be eaten in your sleep.”
Hans looks supremely unconcerned till there’s shouting inside and a livid voice shouts towards them, “Hurry the fuck up! MEDEVAC!”

“You know who’ll need a MEDEVAC soon?” you enquire idly, lifting with Hans as smoothly as if you’ve been doing it day in day out for a fortnight, “that old bully. Menace to bloody international relations. Does he realise we aren’t Army? We aren’t even from his country.”
“Now who wants to be careful? You’ll get beaned with one of them grates if you don’t watch it. They love that shit.” Hans, leading, wrestles the stretcher past the two pallets of water and into the back of a waiting helo, “you wanna stow everything, Doc? I’ll grab our kit.”
You give the crewie a glance, respond to her smile, and nod at Hans, “don’t forget the bikkies. See if there’s a ball, too.”
“You’re a big bloody softie, you know that?” He’s already striding off before you jump on and start re-orging everything.
“Is that-?”
“Nah, Doc, that’s just taro. We got heaps on yesterday then the bloody big-wigs jumped on and we had to switch the mahi for the greasing. Missed a couple.” She kicks the semi-rotten taro out moodily, “waste of bloody space. We coulda got the last load in and beaten the record.”
“Stink.” You agree absently.
“Yeah” she lines up the cables and checks their own gear, “it is pretty stink. Old shouty-pants out there made the call. Bastard. Too much hui, not enough do-y”
Hans comes panting up, flicking sweat off his fingers and shoving a deflated rugby ball into his shin pocket. “He’s a good bastard.” The white man grunts, “gave me their spare bloody ball. Reckons they can get another one on the next airbridge.”
“Who’s that?” you take your helmet and shove a muesli bar into your chops.
“Gav.” Hans suddenly seems to realise what you’re doing, “oi! That’s my kai too! They only had a couple! If you’re hungry you’ll have to have this bloody muck – no offence.” He adds hastily, realising he’s potentially upsetting the military person by not wanting her military food.
“None taken” the crewie waves it off, chewing her own snack meditatively as she moves to the rest of the airmen. “Even the veggie tagine is suss.”
“Thought you were chocka after that massive breakfast you inhaled. Sure you aren’t Russian?”
“Eh?”
“Vlad the inhaler.”
Hans rolls his eyes, “that isn’t getting any funnier. Cheeky darkie.”
You hit him, fondly.
The captain comes over, slurping down coffee and double-checking the paper in his hand at the same time. “Right you two. Piece of piss. Out to Lau and back. Here’s the NOTICAS, Doc.” He hands you a hand-written message and you nod, glance at it, glance at Hans. “Piece of bloody piss, mate. Just some heat exhaustion.”
“Aww, ay?” Hans grabs the seat by the door, “gutted.” Ever the sympathetic one, is Hans.
“Weather’s good as gold. We’ll keep the doors open on the way in.” The captain glances at his right-hand crewie, nods, and jumps in. As you and Hans buckle up, the airmen start their beast. Hans holds out his hand and you can’t hear him but you can still see him mouthing the words ‘gi’s a squizz’ so you hand over the NOTICAS and watch as he reads it through and nods to himself. Settling back to work mode, dropping the bant. He’s a hard case, but he’s the best bloody medic on the island so you could be doing a lot worse. You shove the empty wrapper into your chest pocket and clip your comms line into the inter-plane. Volume adjusted, you rest your head back against the headrest. Today could be another hard yakka.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Translations:

Sega le neqa - don't worry/ no worries (Fijian)
cuz - cousin/ mate (Kiwi)
Pakeha - white person (Maori)
Digger - Australian Army Soldier (Australian)
Geez - look (from 'gaze' - English)
PT - physical training (English)
mahi - work (Maori)
MEDEVAC - medical evacuation (English)
crewie - helicopter crewman/ helicopter loadmaster (English)
hui - discussion (Maori) the phrase 'too much hui not enough do-y' roughly translates as 'stop jawing and do something'
kai - food (Maori)
suss - suspicious (Kiwi?)
chocka - full (Australian)
cheeky darkie - reference to a scandalous moment in NZ media where this was not use appropriately. Sometimes adopted as a term of endearment between good friends.
NOTICAS - Notification of casualty (English)
bant - banter (Australian)
yakka - work (Anzac English)
Last edited by id_ten_it on 20 Apr 2018, 23:18, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby HostileCacti » 20 Apr 2018, 08:36

They say write what you know, so this is a short excerpt of life in Fiji assisting with post-cyclone recovery.


I realise now that that saying, for me at least, could also be: read what you know. :shock:

I have read the text over and over, consulting your word-list (I can't find all the words though? Yakka? But maybe that is because I haven't slept a whole night for two weeks??) I think I almost get it now :lol: God I'm slow today....What I'm trying to say is that this is really good :D (I would never have read a text I didn't like over and over)

Oh dear, yes I'm normally not as confused as this :?:

I like your style of writing! :D
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 20 Apr 2018, 08:52

Thank you HC!

I didn't include yakka cause I...didn't. 'hard yakka' means hard work. Unsure where it comes from.

Thank you so much!
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Tracer » 20 Apr 2018, 10:18

Just brilliant! Having worked in an Ops environment (long ago but for a long time) you capture exactly the banter, insults, black humour and all the -isms that would have some folks offended but are not said any way to give offence.

You also describe the heat and hard work so well that I was nearly wiping the sweat off as I read.

No idea about yakka (definitely not English) but suss and chocca have English origins. I do love your linguistic variety.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 21 Apr 2018, 21:12

Thank you! I'm so glad it sounded realistic and I'm glad I could warm you up.

Yakka is apparently an anzac sort of word (I've updated the OP) which probably originates from an aboriginal word - the jury is still out on that one.
I'm glad you enjoy the taste of different languages! I was toying with a continuation but my Fijian has really deteriorated so that stalled quickly.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Kismet » 21 Apr 2018, 21:33

I'm enjoying all the 'foreign' English terms. Some I know, and some I can work out from the context but others are completely new to me. Most interesting are words I am familiar with which are used differently. Cuz, for example. I'd probably only use cuz for an actual cousin, and only one I liked. In a similar context to yours, I'm much more likely to use lad / lass but the favoured term here in Cumbria, would be marra.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Foolscap » 22 Apr 2018, 08:32

Thanks for posting this...fascinated by the mix of origins of terms, and you write so vividly:-)
And yes...black humour essential in such circumstances.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 22 Apr 2018, 09:32

Great story! I'll have to brush up on my Fijian, although I do know what taro is, as it grows wild in the creek down the road. In my regular walks I often see some of our local neighbours [Islanders etc] who wade around & pull quantities out for the home kitchen table. Although, I believe it is is an acquired taste. Having boiled it some yrs ago [not nearly enough apparently!!]
I was struck down for some hours by the usual burning, irritation & swelling of the throat for the uninitiated taro eater. :shock:

I've heard several explanations of where ''hard yakka" has come from over the years, but this is one I hadn't known about, & if true, originates from where a couple of us Australian Forum dwellers live, lol. 8-)

http://www.abc.net.au/education/learn-e ... ds/8248664

['Yakka' means physically draining work. It comes from 'yaga', meaning 'work' in the Yagara language of the Brisbane area.]
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 22 Apr 2018, 09:55

OzBiggles1963 wrote:Great story! I'll have to brush up on my Fijian, although I do know what taro is, as it grows wild in the creek down the road. In my regular walks I often see some of our local neighbours [Islanders etc] who wade around & pull quantities out for the home kitchen table. Although, I believe it is is an acquired taste. Having boiled it some yrs ago [not nearly enough apparently!!]
I was struck down for some hours by the usual burning, irritation & swelling of the throat for the uninitiated taro eater. :shock:


I prefer it fried I must say, or boiled in coconut milk. I hadn't heard of burning/ swelling of the throat from eating it! Sounds most unpleasant.

The origins of yakka was something I hadn't heard before - very interesting especially for those of you in that part of the world!

Kismet wrote:I'm enjoying all the 'foreign' English terms. Some I know, and some I can work out from the context but others are completely new to me. Most interesting are words I am familiar with which are used differently. Cuz, for example. I'd probably only use cuz for an actual cousin, and only one I liked. In a similar context to yours, I'm much more likely to use lad / lass but the favoured term here in Cumbria, would be marra.


What is the origin of 'marra' Kismet? do you know?
cuz (or 'cus') is pretty much interchangeable with bro I think. lad/ lass being more for children and only in certain parts of the country. Words are so much fun! :D

And thanks Foolscap :D again, I'm so glad it rang true but also wasn't too much.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Spitfire666 » 22 Apr 2018, 10:25

I've never heard of 'marra' either. (I live in south east England.)
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Kismet » 22 Apr 2018, 10:54

'Marra' is a very local term which is used all the time here in West Cumbria, but not past the County borders. It's a general, catch all term meaning good mate or special friend, usually used by a man in relation to another man. 'E's my marra.' No one knows where it derives from, though I've read a lot of guesses.

'Lad' and 'lass' are used for adults here in Cumbria, as well as children, and can be used by a young person talking about an older one, although if the age gap becomes too great, the person referred to becomes 't'owd lass' or 't'owd lad' (the old lass or the old lad). T'owd lad / lass can also be used to refer to a person's husband / wife or father / mother or grandfather / grandmother. It's usually clear who's being referred to from context.

Taro sounds interesting. Is it meant to have a fiery taste or was that a result of not being prepared properly? I sometimes wonder how you are still with us, OzB.

'Hard yakka' I like. A nice, colourful term. I like 'too much hui and not enough do-y' too. Another pithy phrase. I also liked your description of the circuit training Australians utilising found objects to assist with their workout.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 22 Apr 2018, 11:21

id_ten_it wrote:
OzBiggles1963 wrote:Great story! I'll have to brush up on my Fijian, although I do know what taro is, as it grows wild in the creek down the road. In my regular walks I often see some of our local neighbours [Islanders etc] who wade around & pull quantities out for the home kitchen table. Although, I believe it is is an acquired taste. Having boiled it some yrs ago [not nearly enough apparently!!]
I was struck down for some hours by the usual burning, irritation & swelling of the throat for the uninitiated taro eater. :shock:


I prefer it fried I must say, or boiled in coconut milk. I hadn't heard of burning/ swelling of the throat from eating it! Sounds most unpleasant...


Indeed it was. I was unaware you shouldn't eat raw taro, or taro that has not been boiled or cooked sufficiently to remove all the calcium oxalate compounds, which appear as a purple liquid [when boiled], which needs to be drained until the water is clear. 2 small mouthfuls & I was very uncomfortable, thinking I had had an allergic reaction. Apparently locals & those who have consumed much in their diets as a frequent food, develop a resistance over time to the numbness etc. Live & learn, lol. 8-)

"Raw taro contains calcium oxalate, and you do not want any part of this compound. Think of it as tiny knives that cover the leaves and root of the taro plant. When you eat uncooked taro, the calcium oxalate makes your mouth feel numb. Eat too much, and you'll feel like you're choking."

https://health.howstuffworks.com/food-n ... t-raw4.htm

EDIT: And yes Kismet, I also wonder [many times...I haven't even begun to tell stories of motor bikes & craziness, lol] daily how I ever managed to get past 25. Wisdom, or just plain good luck, comes to some people very late in life. :roll:
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby StoneRoad » 23 Apr 2018, 14:59

Kismet wrote: <snip>'Marra' is a very local term which is used all the time here in West Cumbria, but not past the County borders. It's a general, catch all term meaning good mate or special friend, usually used by a man in relation to another man. 'E's my marra.' No one knows where it derives from, though I've read a lot of guesses.

'Lad' and 'lass' are used for adults here in Cumbria, as well as children, and can be used by a young person talking about an older one, although if the age gap becomes too great, the person referred to becomes 't'owd lass' or 't'owd lad' (the old lass or the old lad). T'owd lad / lass can also be used to refer to a person's husband / wife or father / mother or grandfather / grandmother. It's usually clear who's being referred to from context.

<snip>.


I hadn't heard 'marra' until I moved up to the North-East of England. It is usually, as Kismet says, a term for mate or special friend and quite common in certain areas, even now. I think that I have also heard it in another context - in a book set around the Clyde; I'll check on that when I'm back home as I'm in Whitehaven at present.
As for derivation, I think it might be norse in origin ... again, I'll check when I'm back home.

Lad and lasses; I remember that from my (mis-spent) youth, so I think that is rather more universal in usage now than it used to be. The adjectival age factor as in "t'owd" for Cumbria changes with the region.

I'll edit for further details ...
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 25 Apr 2018, 09:00

I look forward to coming over and hearing someone say 'marra'! I think with us that lads and lasses came over with the Scots and so is more common down in the south of the country (Where they mostly settled), but as I said, not for an adult. We wouldn't use 't'owd' either - though you do hear it from some migrants - more likely to hear someone refer to their wife or mother as 'the old woman' or father as 'me old man' .

OzB, we're all glad you found some good luck I'm sure!
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 08 May 2018, 04:09

I, er, was procrastinating doing work. Have another chapter.
As always, banter passed between characters in this story is used for effect within the story and does not reflect my own personal views. I hope I am neither racist nor homophobic. This pretty much continues from where chapter one left off.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“We’ll keep rotors running.” The Captain is leaning forward, presumably checking instruments or whatever Captains do when they’ve landed their aircraft but aren’t about to turn it off. You and Hans carefully unbuckle and jump out, Hans turning around to take the first end of the stretcher and grinning at the left-hand crewie. She keeps grinning even as you step forward to take the other end. Five minutes later and you’re helping the patient lie down and checking his vitals. Hans is noting things down and then takes over as you stand and go to the crewie. “Good to go” she confirms your call and relays it to the Captain, hand looped lazily over the rail at the top of the door, knee bent and resting on the floor, other foot on the step. You envy her the breeze that flaps her Mae West, but with both doors open this is as much relief from the heat as you’ll get today.

By the time you get back to the patient – only a few seconds – Hans has finished taping things into place and is seated at the patients head and double-checking the ear defenders. You plug both your comms cords back into the panels and flick the mic boom back into position. “Notice anything unusual?”
“Not a thing” Hans transmits back, “looks like he’ll be fine with the IV.”
“I agree.” You bare your teeth at him and pull out the paperwork that has to be filled in and attached to the new patient. “He’ll be back to playing rugby in no time.”
“Bloody A. Why anyone’d want to in humidity like this….”
“It’s wetter than a blind lesbian at a fish market.” You agree, noting down the patients’ BP.
“oi!” The crewie isn’t even looking at you; she must have jumped comms nets, “just cause your missus is trying to grow some sort of marine reserve.”
“What, doesn’t your missus enjoy the fish market?”
“My missus knows she’s onto a good thing.”
“Fine. It’s wetter than Hans’ Mum last time I saw her.”
“Better. Mind your bloody language.” She turns and you see her grin just before Hans swats your shoulder.

You all sit in silence for a few minutes, Hans gently checking the needles are still properly inserted in the potentially dried up vein, you completing patient records, the two crewies chatting animatedly but inaudibly – jumped net again. The breeze lifts sweat off your face, makes Hans’ hair lift around the edges of his collar, slaps the comms cords of the other crewie against his thigh. There’s blue water out the door and the air smells of humidity, sea salt, and possibly coconut. People pay lots of money to experience these sorts of moments. Moments of clarity, of purpose, of relaxation and rejuvenation. There’s so many health buzzwords that you wonder if you should chuck in the actual medicine and start up a business selling happiness, so called. Probably not your brightest – all that yakka to rip some bugger off. No mana in that.

“Doc” his voice is urgent and you turn to him, the crewie on his knees at the foot of your patient, “there’s a breech birth. We can be there in ten minutes. They don’t have anyone else.” His young face is pale behind the visor, deft crewman’s fingers curled around the support of his seat as he looks up at you. Hans’ gaze hits you side-on. The patient between you lies still and on the mend. You swallow, nod, reach out and touch Dave-o’s glove, “change course. Get as much gen as you can.” Maybe you’re imagining it or maybe his fingers twitch against the metal pole. Maybe it’s just the heat. He stays there, in front of you, for a few moments even though he’s talking to someone else. The information comes, slowly, relayed through a series of phones and radios, between the desperate daughter kneeling in the mud next to her mother, and the young man kneeling on the taro-smeared floor next to you. Hans continues monitoring the Grunt.

Halfway there. Dave-o has returned to his side door.

Three minutes to run. Two crewies, elbows on knees, looking out the door. Two pilots, in the cockpit, looking out the front. Two medicos, planning patient care, looking at their kit. One Grunt, strapped to a stretcher, slowly starting to sweat.

Thirty seconds. “100 feet” you know the calls now, and are thankful for them. The great grey bird descends with all the grace of a bowling ball. Hans triple-checks the IV line and drapes a new ice vest over the Grunt. You scrub your hands and pull on gloves.

Touchdown. Running. Sweaty brown faces relaxing as you run. Desperate brown hands dragging you forward. Panting. Struggling to pull in the air which is so thick you could eat it. Dropping into the mud. What a place to be born.

“Bula. Bula Vinaka.” You’re already reaching out to the mother, touching her shoulders, her hips, “Na yacaqu o Tane. Koi au e dua na vuniwai.” That’s about all you can say.
“I speak English” the girl whispers, “I learn at work.”
“Caka vinaka. Tell your mother I’m going to look now. Hans!” He looms, sweat and white skin reflecting the constant sun, “get her something to suck on. She looks exhausted.”
The girl folds herself like silk at her mother’s head, petting her face and telling her in a liquid voice. You wait for her to nod before lowering yourself down, wincing in sympathy. This has not been an easy birth. Once the mother is sucking on the glucose Hans has given her, you call him down too. One of you will need to turn the baby. It should have been turned earlier. Is there a protocol for this?

***

“I can’t believe we didn’t think “I’m going to reach inside and rotate the baby now” was something we’d need to say!” the mood is ebullient, jovial, elated, and a thousand other feelings that raise everyone above the heat and sweat and destruction. “We’ll include it next time” Hans vows, laughing, even as you slop water out for him to wash his hands of muck and mud, “along with “how long have you been fully dilated?””
“Not topics that come up with your average Grunt.” You agree, handing him the bottle and letting him tip it for you to scrub out too. “Old mate’s sitting up too. Bloody pissed he missed out, it seems.” The old man who was napping under a coconut tree looks quite worked up.
“Io. Bloody Dave-o though. What a trooper.” You both glance over to the splash of bright blue tarp, where muddy bare feet and muddy black boots stick out. “He’ll make one hell of a Dad one day.” The last of the water is trickled into Hans’ mouth and you can’t even find it in yourself to blame him. How can a place this wet make you this dry?

“Guess we have to pick him up and head back.” The lanky pakeha adds, “since we can’t really fly the tamariki right now.”
“Yup. Get a proper midwife to come and take a look. I’d hate for something to go wrong now.” There’s a pause, both of you reluctant to break the moment, but then you nod and turn, walking slowly over the muddy ruts towards the blue that’s the same colour as the lagoon at midday.

“Bula!”
“Bula!” Dave-o murmurs back, bare-chested and as bright-eyed as if it’s his own daughter wrapped in his sweaty t-shirt. “She’s tuckered out Doc” he adds, unnecessarily.
“I can see that mate.” You smile, watching for a moment. The light is murky under the tarp, diffuse in the way of an old film, and Dave-o’s young chest is glimmering with sweat. Against his shoulder lies the exhausted new mother, dusky with effort and glowing with love. Against her chest, wrapped in the cleanest cloth they could find – Dave-o’s black tshirt – is her new daughter, hands grasped tightly in her mother’s hair, eyes closed, and utterly impervious to the danger she faced a scant hour ago. Her older sister can be heard outside, spreading the good news. You grab out your phone and take a photo, and when neither mother nor baby wake you take another for good measure.
“We have to head back. That Grunt needs to be checked in and you guys have an afternoon delivery to do, if you’ll excuse the pun.”
“I know. I just hate to leave them….” Dave-o smiles shyly, “makes you think, right?” and you suddenly remember that his Mum died when he was four, and his father re-married by throwing himself right back into the Air Force, and he’s barely out of training. “Io. You’ll be back, don’t fret. I’ll get Ruth.” His eyes watch you back out of the shelter and stand.
“Hey doc?” you bend down again. Dave-o is pink and bashful, “you know the words to Hine e Hine?”
“Course.”
“I…I reckon we should sing it. When we go.” You had a puppy that looked at you like that.
“Cracking idea. I’ll tell the others.” His sigh of relief blows nearly blows out the tarp.

It’s a surreal moment, the six of you standing around in the mud, sweat pouring off you down into the waistband of your pants, singing a lullaby from across the sea in a language the people here recognise but don’t speak. Tears are flowing freely from the dark-as-chocolate eyes of your new friends, and slowly one and then another answers your song with one of their own. It’s the only thing they have left to give, their meagre belongings now sitting open to the sky; the tarp that sheltered their things now covering their newest arrival.

“Vinaka. vinaka vakalevu” Ruth cannot stop crying and whispering the word. You all give her a hug, kiss her cheeks, hongi your noses together. It’s a bizarre mash of cultures and everyone’s laughing and crying and waving before you and Hans clip back into your seats, the two crewies kneel inside their respective doors, and the great black rotors go from four individual blades to a deadly spinning disk. Dave-o has his overshirt zipped up over his bare skin. As you take off, the blue tarp flutters in the downdraft and you think you see a brown hand flapping out from the side.

“Well” says the left hand crewie, unclipping her face guard and looking back at the two of you, “I guess we’ll be coming back here.”
“Damn straight” Hans avers. You don’t reply. The Grunt has just blinked his eyes open, and a bead of sweat has rolled right into them.
Today is a bloody good day, and it’s not even lunch time yet.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Translations:

Mae West - a life vest (but we knew that from Biggles, right?)
Bloody A - I agree (Kiwi?)
Missus - significant female other
jumped net - refers to the habit of aircrew to establish different networks of communication within the aircraft, one for the official stuff, one for general in-aircraft banter etc (English)
mana - honour/ dignity (Maori)
gen - information (English. Also familiar to us Biggles fans!)
Grunt - Soldier (English, generic)
Bula (vinaka) - hello (welcome!) (Fijian)
Na yacaqu o Tane - my name is Tane (Fijian)
Koi au e dua na vuniwai - I am a doctor (Fijian.)
Caka vinaka - great job! (Fijian)
Io - yes (Fijian)
Pakeha - white person (Maori)
Tamariki - child (Maori)
Hine e hine - a traditional lullaby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgCcN24DP50) (It is traditional in many pacific cultures to enter and leave a meeting between groups with a song which captures the essence of the meeting.)
vinaka vakalevu - thank you very much (Fijian)
hongi - to press forehead and nose together with another to share breath/ life force (Maori)
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Tracer » 08 May 2018, 08:47

Magnificent. Thank you.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Foolscap » 08 May 2018, 13:46

Very well done:-)
Vivid writing.
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby Kismet » 08 May 2018, 23:50

I think Foolscap has found the right word. Vivid. This is soooo vivid and I love all the local words.
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Re: Sega la neqa

Postby id_ten_it » 09 May 2018, 09:25

Thank you all for your kind words! I'm glad you found it 'vivid'. What a lovely compliment.
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