19 July 2007
In the meanwhile, we have been to the marae 6 or 7 times, without me blogging about it every single time. When a new lesson in marae protocol was announced, Gina phoned us to ask whether we want to participate again. We play public. In exchange for food.
After 4 or 5 times, I thought it would be nice to truant, but because Frank always picks up the phone and without exception says yes to everything, my unwilling movements didn’t make any sense.
He draws his sorry face and shrugs. Sometimes I think I see an evil glint in his eyes.
A few visits ago (could be around that same 4th or 5th time) Gina began to proclaim that Frank too should do a speech next time. That didn’t happen, so we began to believe it was just a joke.
But today -in contrast to the previous times- we suddenly were recalled to the marae again after finishing lunch in the dining area. Gina’s students also came back from the dining area and obediently sat down on mattresses against the walls of the marae.
In a few words each of the students had to tell what his thoughts were about the last lesson. Preferably in Maori (a lot of Maori people don’t speak Maori), but English was okay too. Gina was sitting between us and suddenly began wildly whispering to Frank. She gave him possibilities of what he could say soon …
Now Frank was already somewhat prepared, so he let it come over him.
That brave man over there … has a very childish spouse.
For Maori not only their ancestors are very important, but also their mountain, their lake and the marae where they live closest to. So Frank stood up and told that he was the Pakeha from Holland and was born in Heiloo (a Dutch village) near the Puke Ngeru (the cat-mountain of 10 meters high) and near Roto Hukupapa (the IJsselmeer, lake) and the Ma Whare Karakia (the little white church). And that he was in this marae to learn something about the Maori culture. His translations were a kind of self-taught.
Isn’t that great?! How brave! I was proud on him.
While assenting applause, Gina started pushing me.
All previous times I never was threatened with the request for “public speaking” and so I was not prepared! Since the compulsory lecture in elementary school at the age of 10 years old, I had decided I would never speak in public again. The lecture was the first low point in my childhood, and I swore I would never grant such a request for the rest of my life. I also never did the opening speeches at my art gallery, 25 years later.
The compulsory lecture in elementary school in itself was a sufficient reason to not reincarnate after this life.
Now you got the feel for my aversion and fear. By the way: I read this is the # 1 fear to most people. Even more scary than death itself.
Together with my most adorable smile I tried to radiate a NO as much as possible. And I hardly could distract my eyes from the side door, which behind I knew our car was parked. The getaway car. I put my attitude to unyielding and made subtle, but hopefully scary looking movements with the muscles in my jaw (you know, that are so typical for serial killers and psychopaths). Happily that worked. Gina ran to Frank on stage and together they did a little impromptu Dutch wooden-shoe-dance. On a completely unknown tulips song.
I still was proud mixed with fear and relieve.
Poooooh … thanks Lord, for left alone the rest of the time. But hey Lord, next time be a bit quicker with your intervention.