Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday Shouts to Charles and Veitania

I want to send out belated birthday greetings to my brother-in-law, Charles Lepani, and my niece, Veitania, who both had birthdays in late October. Here is a photo of the two of them, celebrating.

Charles is now living in Canberra as High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to the Australian government. His remarkable career has taken him from childhood in the Trobriand Islands (where his mother Sarah still lives, and where his father, Lepani Watson, was bigpela man) to Australia, Port Moresby, Boston, Hawai'i (where he was the director of the Pacific Islands Development Program of the East-West Center, where Barack Obama Sr. was a student when he met Barack's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham), Belguim, and back to the Pacific. Happy Birthday, Charles!

Veitania (also known as Tani) was born in Belguim sixteen years ago. When she was eleven she came to live with us in Indiana for almost six months, fresh from an extended visit with Kathy to the Trobriand Islands. She delighted us with her stories, her dancing, her beautiful voice, her openness to new friendships and a brand new school ("Where are the desks?") and to life in a bunkbed in the basement with Savannah. It's been way too long since we've seen Veitania, who is growing into a gorgeous young woman, filled with spirit and promise. We love you, Tani – Happy Sweet Sixteen! (and tell us...just what was in that golden bag?!)

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