Preach It Ebu! Simply Profound Wisdom

By May 29, 2008 culture, faith No Comments

Wisdom has a way of surprising me. Often it plops in my lap unexpectedly, pulling thoughts into focus in an area I thought I had a grasp on. In those moments something profound is unfolding. Time seems to stand still as I take in new thoughts and ideas that grate against my preconceived notions. A recent bout of this came while we were in Bora Bora last month. Wisdom was ushered in by a man named Ebu.

Ebu was the resort shuttle driver. During the 20-minute drive from our resort to the small city of Vaitape, Ebu shared much with us of his life and culture on the island. It was absolutely fascinating!

I learned that Bora Bora is quite small and is home to only about 8,000 people. Close-knit, large families extend around the island where no one is a stranger. But with such a great distance between them and mainland exports, island life is simple. Homes are open air with few of our typical “common conveniences.” Life revolves around relationships with family and loved ones; employment as we know it is secondary and optional. The lifestyle there doesn’t require earning a regular wage, as food is readily available from fruit trees and ocean life and all other needs are met within the larger family structure. Extras and material luxuries are scarce whether employed or not, so some people work, some don’t. All is relaxed and laid-back.

As we passed simple cement block homes topped with metal roofing, I felt a twinge of guilt for the grandness of comfort I enjoy—not only on vacation, but also in everyday life.

Island life on Bora Bora is simple, but the people are not ignorant of the opulence abroad. Ebu was well aware of how people in larger countries live. He’s traveled extensively and understands the dependency most people have on earning money to purchase what is needed to survive. He understands it. But he also pities it. That was the surprising part.

He pities us—we who are surrounded by all our stuff, as well as the stress and loneliness and competition that our sort of society breeds. In our society, we must strive to survive, because without money, we would have no food, no shelter, no care. All we have is what money can buy us.

That’s the pity, he said. Money is necessary for survival in your culture. Here, we have what we need—fruit from the trees, fish from the ocean. No worries here. For you, he said, you have to make money to buy everything, very stressful for you.

What wisdom. And I have to agree: It is a pity how our system creates an atmosphere of stress and a dependency on money.

I would like a life with much less of both.

Now, how that actually happens, I have no idea. Suggestions welcome.

No Comments

  • Peg says:

    This post really makes me think. For awhile, I have been thinking about how to simplify my life. It is amazing how a person in another culture can put it in such perspective.

    Thanks for stopping by, Peg. I’m wrestling with this too! Not really sure how to go about simplicity except in small steps, small things. Hope it might add up to something in time. I welcome thoughts you have on the process! —es

  • Mike says:

    My wife and I met Ebu on our honeymoon.. He’s quite the guy no doubt about it .. he drove us around to pretty much every bank in town, on a day when all the bank machines where down. all on his own time .. and bought us a couple cokes ;}

    We definitely won’t ever forget Ebu !!

    Mike—so fun to hear of another Ebu encounter! I bet there are tons of great stories. Thanks for stopping by! —es

  • Mike says:

    Just a little update I thought I’d put up here . My wife and I got a little chocolate lab puppy last month. Guess what we named him.

    Yup you guessed it ..Ebu !
    Hopefully it’s not too much of an insult to name a dog after a Tahitian man ;}

    Mike—I love it! Ebu’s personality sort of reminds me of a lab’s, so I think it’s perfect. —es

  • troy wilson says:

    my wife and I met Ebu as well on the last week of our month long Tahitian journey. Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. He introduced himself to us and showed us around. We ended up hanging out with him and his family and friends for several days. He took us in and fed us and we talked for days til they came to an end. I hope to return someday, so we can see our Tahitian family. I actually have tears rethinking those memories. Amazing person who touched our lives forever.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems Ebu is having a worldwide influence from one small island. That’s so inspiring! —es

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