Between the summer of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, I spent over seven months in the South Pacific. How and through whom I got there from my home in Central Europe is a story in itself. Anyway, one beautiful afternoon in July 2008 I landed on the island of Wallis, awaited by my local friends. Since then, this tiny dot on the map between Fiji and Samoa has grown close to my heart. And when I say a dot, I mean a really small island. Without its beautiful lagoon, Wallis is about 14 by 10 kilometers, so you can easily walk around it in a single day, which is what I did one day with some friends.
Most of my time was spent in the mission of Lano and Sofala in the north of the island. Either with the sisters of the Donum Dei missionary family or with elderly marist sisters, my local “grandmas”… and especially with the young boys and girls of the missionary boarding school. I shared my computer knowledge with them, and they in turn taught me their language and many other beautiful things that can only be found in the Pacific. A perfect exchange. After all those months, I fought and won a linguistic battle with the local language called Wallisian - faka’uvea. It is a very beautiful and not too complex language, just very different in grammar from what I was used to in Indo-European languages. For my personal needs, I created what is probably the first existing Czech dictionary of Wallisian, and later made a French-Wallisian version of it. You can see the dictionary on my website.
I probably spent some of the best months of my life on Wallis, and certainly not because it is a “tropical paradise”. Unfortunately this is not true for many reasons … but it does not matter to me. I will definitely go back there whenever I get the chance. I guess I put down roots there during the time I spent there … and when I left, some of those roots remained in the red island soil of the Pacific.