I was fascinated by the Moais, huge statues mysteriously carved out of the volcanic craters and transported over long distances and erected on the big Ahus, funeral places. The biggest of the statues weigh over 100 tons, and they are erected without modern technology at all!
One night we took a car to go into the darkness to see the Moais under the starry night, also to feel the endless loneliness of the Easter Island. Of course it was heavily clouded, but the atmosphere was spooky and mystical enough!
Next day we were invited by the President of the Rapa Nui Parliament to speak to the meeting of the Parliament.
Here Etiry to the left, the President in the middle, and the lawyer of the King to the right, welcoming us to the Parliament.
The meeting was discussing the energy situation on the Island, and after one hour they took a break and allowed us to speak to them and introduce the YMCA. It became a wonderful exchange of perspectives and ideas, and we were told about the challenges for young people on Easter Island.
Next day we were taken to the representative of the President and the Government of Chile, the Governor of Rapa Nui, Easter Island. She was a very friendly Governor and we spent a good session around her table and discussed again the situation for the Young People on Easter Island. When she heard that Etiry had volunteered to be the first President of the YMCA on Easter Island, the Governor expressed her unconditional support. “If Etiry is the leader, I will give you all my support!”
A very successful meeting was concluded under the portrait of the Chilean President, and the light filling the room was almost too much for my camera!
From the Governor we went straight to the local radio station where we were given all the time we wanted to speak to the population on live radio. Both Oscar and I gave what we had to the microphones, and hopefully a few Islanders would listen to us!
Outside the radio station we bumped into the Roman Catholic Priest, who was also on his way to give a message on the radio. So we used the opportunity to discuss youth issues and the YMCA with him. I could not resist the temptation to tell him my story about Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, a good friend of the Argentina YMCA and now better known as Pope Francis. For some reason I did not have the feeling that my story went completely well. Maybe I should have told it on radio in stead!
More photos from the nightly expedition to the 15 Moais with their backs to the Pacific Ocean – a view that I never stopped being fascinated by, a history so full of mysteries and untold stories.
Next day was devoted to the different Evangelical churches on the Island, and here at the end of one meeting with two of them.
This Moai reflects the faith of earlier generations of Polynesians inhabiting the Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as their own name for the Island is.
And again a representative for Evangelical Christianity, a very solid local leader. He was praying for us and singing for us in the bright sunshine and wished us welcome with the YMCA!
Seldom have I seen a more beautiful cemetery with lots of yellow flowers and only a handful of red ones.
Normally the Polynesians put the eyeballs in the empty eyes only during the holy ceremonies. AT the moment the eyeballs were in place, the incarnation took place and life and the power came back to the Moai and the power and blessings cascaded from the statue into the land.
The Easter Island consist of a triangle of three volcanoes, and volcanic material is all what you will find there. Breathtakingly beautiful!
At the meeting in the Rapa Nui Parliament three leaders of the youth agenda on the Island were present, basically invited to meet with us. This resulted in an invitation to see their brilliant project to build a new music school for children and youth. The story was that a famous musician, a female pianist, had had to leave the Island at the age of 9 years to find education in music. She did not want that fate to happen to any child on Easter Island, and now they had initiated this music school to serve the needs of young people, and to preserve and protect the local Rapa Nui culture.
One of the leaders sharing with us how the building is constructed in partnership with the organization Earth Ship, and that it is being built with recycled materials from the Island itself, old car tires filled with volcanic material, old soft drink boxes and other garbage, but in a very well planned way.
This was to become the water reservoir, basically collected from rainwater.
This is the man who gave the land to the project, old family land. He was passionate about the project, and eager to listen to our messages about the YMCA and possibilities for cooperation. I was deeply impressed with this project and the group of international volunteers helping to build it.
It was a fabulous feeling to walk inside from the hot sunshine and between the walls built by old tires with mud inside. It actually cooled down the air between the walls and worked like natural air conditioning!
International volunteers together with people from Rapa Nui working hard with construction of the music school.
It is not too much to say that we fell in love with Rapa Nui, the Easter Island, and all the people there, the fascinating history and the breathtaking nature. This photo came closest for me to illustrate the feeling of being on a tiny little spot of land in the middle of a very big ocean, at least 3000 km to the next habitat!
I must be honest enough to say that I borrowed this photo from a guy who was more lucky with the night weather, and who really experienced the stars above the Pacific Ocean in all their brilliance! Thank you friends on Easter Island – thank you Rapa Nui!