Rosa Ika Paoa
“My father is the son of a Frenchman who took refuge on the Island after his cargo ship, the “Jean”, was sunk by the German cruiser “Prinz Eitel Friedrich” at the beginning of the First World War. He was rescued off of Poike by a sheep herder and brought to Hanga Roa. There he met my grandmother.”
“We initially lived on a small plot where my father planted corn to sell to the Williamson Balfour Company for their piggery. He also raised pigs and dairy cows and chickens and planted everything. We had enough to eat; what was lacking was clothing. The Company had a store but they didn’t bring much variety, just cotton cloth, some with flowers. We grew up without shoes. When I got married, I got my first pair of shoes.”
Rosa Ika a los 20 años at age 20 junto a su marido with her husband Daniel Pakarati
Rosa Ika later was able to study in Santiago in the Institute for Rural Education and then work in some of the mothers’ centers in outlying areas, such as San Felipe, Nogales and Los Molles… “then I was sent back to the Island to organize supply co-operatives, start mothers’ centers and youth clubs and organize craft workshops. In April of 1967, after the inauguration of the airstrip with 1,300 meters (built by the Longhi firm), we received the first charter flight with a group of American tourists brought by Lindblad Travel. They stayed in 40 tents that were set up by Hotelera Nacional HONSA. We received orders for floral necklaces to receive them and shell necklaces to see them off. We also formed a dance group to entertain the tourists. And we made rugs, reed curtains and mattresses for the hotel.”
Su hijo adoptivo her adopted Son Enrique Pakarati junto al Sacerdote with the priest Sebastián Englert
At that time people lived in two sectors of town — Moe Roa and Hanga Roa. The division was drawn from the church down to the fishing port. For New Year’s Eve, there was a big party in Mataveri. Groups would sing and others would dance and the Company would give prizes to the best dancers. We also did Titingi, which means to knock on the door. The people from one sector would go to visit their families in the other sector, knocking on their door and sharing something to eat. Every year they would alternate the sector for visiting. There wasn’t any liquor yet and we had good times talking and singing. Today you can’t live peacefully with the young people drinking until late at night, playing electronic music at full volume, not letting anyone get any sleep. They end up drunk, running through town on their loud motorcycles at three or four in the morning and causing accidents. Civic education is sorely lacking”
Rosa Ika continues to work with the materials that nature provides, making ancestral costumes, hats, bags and lovely crowns, necklaces and hair pins. You can find her work at the crafts market at the airport.
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