My skin was neither dry or moist at the end of our hike to the top of the falls in Waningandru. I pushed my unruly mane of hair out of my face, and slipped my feet back into my water shoes.
I looked down at the deep blue-green water from the rock I perched upon.
“Your turn,” said Jonah, chuckling as he stared back at the other boy.
I could not determine if he was excited for me or if this statement was tinged with a bit of impatience. I had taken the longest to walk back down the falls, and I was the last American left on that side of the rocks. We were supposed to be back in Naboutini, a 20-25 minute walk from this village, for our next meal.
But since everyone ran on Fiji time, we weren’t really in a hurry. He probably sensed my hesitation and just wanted me to loosen up and have fun.
At one point in time, I was fearless. No one had to motivate me to do something risky. My dad speaks with terror when he recalls the day I climbed up the last step of the ladder on to the roof of our house. I was only four, so I have no recollection of the event.
I put my glasses back on so I would be able to see with certainty the path to take on the rocks alongside the water, which was the alternative to jumping. I didn’t want to take my glasses off again. Everyone was already in the pool, or on the grass gathering their belongings.
Ok, I’ll jump.
I steadied myself, and handed my glasses to a friend down in the water below.
When you are in a foreign country for the first time, especially a tropical oasis like Fiji , you have this appetite for adventure and for new experiences. You are brave, and fear is temporarily suspended.
I have always lived life somewhere between being up for whatever and
acting on impulse, and methodically planning out everything to calculate and assess the risks or rewards of even the most insignificant situations. I am fairly rational, but in this moment, I had no time to over think the jump.
I just said yes.
I shared with others at our reflection that night that one of my goals
for this service-learning trip to Fiji was to have a say yes attitude,
and I believed whole heartedly that I was following through on this
Until I said no.