Balder and Joost, both live in Amsterdam when they're not travelling the world. While they know each other for years, it was still a big challenge to travel together. Preparation of the Tokelau Voyage started months ahead by choosing the right schedule, and the right time to go. They prepared and packed and planned to visit an island resembling Fantasy Island or Bounty Island? (no link to the chocolate bar). The diary starts in Apia, capital of the country of Western Samoa.
Part 7: Fakaofo - Rugby training.
Every now and then the three atolls of Tokelau (Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu) have their own private competition, the Inter-atoll games. This competition is a big feast, with traditional dance and singing. The main event is rugby, a sport that every young man on the islands is practicing. On Fakaofo we witnessed one of the training sessions for these games.
Before two teams will confront with each other at the Inter-atoll games they will challenge the opponent with a traditional dance and singing. This is done to create an extra tension for the play. This dancing and singing is done by men and women and takes 10 to 15 minutes. It looks like a small play with varying singing dancing and for example stick fighting accompanied with drums. The whole play is very impressive and that's the goal, to make an overwhelming impression on your opponent so he will fear you.
The field where the training was held was just coral sand and with less or even no protection the two teams faced each other: the red shirts against the variegated ones. The game was played very harsh and was very impressive to see. The whole village was on the field as a player or as spectators. Even the training was a feast. These boys were well matched for each other.
The Tokelauean community takes these inter-atoll games very serious, for example on the Island of Fakaofo it was prohibited to even have a beer at home. No beer or any alcohol, because everyone should be in the best shape possible for the games.