Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sanatoi Wedding in Port Moresby

Today is the wedding of my nephew Andrew Lepani and his partner Suzie Tongia. They are the parents of Thierry and Thealani, who've been featured here now and then. The post features 3 – count 'em! – images of Thealani showing off her big new open smile. (When we met her last August, she hadn't yet mastered that trick.)

The wedding is in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, where they live. It involves a gathering of clans – Suzie's large family, and Andrew's "wantoks" from Canberra and Sydney, Papua New Guinea and perhaps even from the Trobriand Islands, where Bubu Sarah, his father's mother, still lives. We feel sad that no one from the States was able to attend.

Andrew's Trobriand name is Toiyalelakodewa, "he who guards the shoreline." Even as a four year old, visiting Hawai'i, he strode with confidence into the ocean, and loved to play in the waves. Now Andrew is a world class father, a PNG soccer player, a wonderful partner and family member, a remarkable man. Suzie is patient, calm, fierce and strong, a sister across the seas.

We were able to visit most recently with Suzie, Andrew and the kids when they traveled to Minnesota and spent a month with my parents last August, shortly after Thealani was born. It's amazing to think of them on their special day halfway across the world, and we all send out a huge shout for their continued health and happiness. They are Susanna and Toiyalelakodewa, so this is the Sanatoi wedding.

Here are some pictures from last Christmas – I wonder who made the great painting of Thierry on the wall? Thealani is with her mama, her uncle Nathaniel, and her adoring big brother, mum, and dad. Big Shout to our relies in the warmer climes, on this very special day!

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