Cyclone Winston struck the sacred island of Naitauba four months ago. During this time service to the island has been extraordinary. Much restoration on a basic level has been accomplished; much still remains to be done. This will take years rather than months. Here on Naitauba the steady stream of retreatants that come each week is deeply appreciated. Every single person makes a significant difference. In this moment of dire need, everyone is very happy to help, even those volunteers who are just discovering Adi Da but have special skills that are desperately needed now. Despite the devastation, Adi Da Pervades every inch of this Holy Place and everyone who comes here feels his presence. With the guidance of the island’s cultural leadership, there is a very high level of participation in the Sacred Life on Naitauba, including the holy day celebrations of Adidam. This past week included a wonderful Celebration of Adi Da’s Image Art that included screenings of his artwork and a contemplative visit to his art studio Picture Perfect.
The clean up of the immediate, surrounding area of the core of the Matrix, the location of Adi Da’s residence, is largely complete. The pristine, intimate quality of that holy place has been restored and Adi Da’s presence can be felt, but as you can imagine, there is still much service to be done at every level as the work of repairing the many damaged buildings on Naitauba continues.
In our last update, we included a photo of a severely damaged residence in the village of Qaravi, showing how the Cyclone destroyed its roof and porch:
Below is how it looks now two weeks later:
The repairs are of very high quality. Everything is reinforced, bolted, and strapped down to resist cyclone force winds. A crew of retreatant carpenters as well as other local carpenters from Suva and Taveuni, have been working on this and other projects. What first appeared to be a roof and porch replacement has turned out to be a major reconstruction of almost the entire structure because the existing walls of the building were rotten. Progress in repairs is being made, but slowly, as in the example of this building.
As we frequently say, many more carpenters are needed. The good news is that we are expecting a large local crew to come back from a neighboring island in the next few weeks. They will complete roof replacement and other repairs to key buildings like the joinery shop and the garage in Ciqomi. After that they will begin a very critical, new project: the building of a Category 5 rated structure to house temporarily the sacred articles from Adi Da’s two residences on the island. This new structure will ensure that these sacred articles of Adi Da’s work are safely secured on higher ground before the next cyclone season.
Also, in the first weeks of July, we are expecting a barge from Suva that will bring a large shipment of building supplies, including materials to help repair and secure the many damaged buildings at the Matrix. Skilled devotees are also expected to come on retreat at that time to help with the Matrix projects.
We conclude this update with a note from a former devotee of Adi Da’s, who recently came and served a great deal.
“I’m seventy-seven, so when a devotee in the Boston asked "Who will go to help in the cyclone relief on Naitauba?” Much to the surprise of my partner and others present (even myself!), I said that I would go. Later, I asked myself, "Really? Are you sure? Are you in shape enough and totally willing to serve in the hard work that they need fulfilled?” The answer was still “Yes! I’ll go to help.” It was the best quick decision I’ve made in a long time. The experiences of this month have overwhelmed me more than I could have imagined. To spend time with devotees and to be of service on Naitauba as a painter has brought me back and closer to Adi Da than ever before.”