It was in 2004 that my Uncle John Sauyai and Uncle Dadiv Trenei told me that I am now the “Kotokay” of Melanesian elders and will function as the “kotokay” during my lifetime.
“Kotokay” in Tanna Language of Vanuatu means the roof. This roof is not a normal roof, but it is the roof of small boat, kayak, that normally build by sailors.
“Kotokay” is the roof, that give shade to all things and all beings under the roof.
“Kotokay” means all activities can happen, the sailing can continue to destination when the sailors are protected from the sun and rain, and sleep in save place.
It was not easy feeling when I was given this name, but after 20 years (in 2022) I realize that I am right now functioning as the “kotokay” for my fellow elders across Melanesia.
At that time, in 2004, I was not an elder, I was just a messenger, sent by my elders to other tribes across the globe and across Melanesia in particular. Right now I am already an elder. So in fact this name, “Kotokay” was given to function or operate after I become an elder myself.
I went back to Vanuatu in 2018, met my fellow elder, Lai Sakita, asked about my uncles. Elder Sakita told me, all uncles have passed on, and it is now on our shoulders to bring our Melanesian peoples forward.
I was sad, have no words, my mind and thought shut off. Sometime later I started thinking, and I must accept the reality, that everyone who is born here, must pass on. Nothing is permanent here. That this boat, and the sailors are not permanent resident here on the boat, but they are heading to our destination, and that these two uncles have shored to our destination. Both Sakita and I will also ashore there. But during this time, I must increase the work of on my role as the “kotokay”.