The Pandemic known as COVID-19 has changed the way we live in this world. The global impact has been unbelievable with much sadness to all mankind. Although we are a tiny dot on our world map and probably one of the most luckiest races to be in isolation from the many other countries being in the Oceania region. We too feel the sadness and despair that the rest of the world is experiencing. We also feel the flow on effects and impacts, when we do not get any more tourists to our shores for more than almost a year. As a result of no regional and international meets for Handball Cook Islands – with travel regulations and boarders closing – we had to rise above and keep everyone’s sanity and physical ability and as a result we created several projects for all our members.
We introduced the following COVID-19 projects in March 2020:
– Home Gardening known as Rima Tanu, Rima Aroa Project (A hand to plant, a hand to share with love). This is where we encouraged and empowered our handball members to plant for a healthy lifestyle and survival due to the impact of rising food prices for families to sustain their kitchens with access to nutritional food to feed the families and village.
– Community Garden know as MK Farmers. This is where we extended the home gardening to planting a half acre with root crops, etc., where not everyone has access to land. Once harvested, we share these on our Aroa table (love table), free to all members of our community, even businesses.
– Small Bubble Gyms. We initiated these when lockdown and restrictions came upon our community. We set up little small home gyms where those who lived in each neighbourhood would train together just to keep up their fitness level as a small team until we were allowed to play games and train as a national federation again. This project hugely contributed to our performance at our first ever Cook Islands Games 2020. Our Handball Cook Islands Executive also played a vital role in these games as we were also assisting Team Rarotonga who were first timers too these Games, compared to the other 10 islands who have been part of it since 2004. As appointed coordinator by our National Olympic Committee we managed to organise the biggest team of 345 athletes in 24 disciplines. Not an easy task, but we managed and they placed fourth overall. We also had to organise our games on top of this responsibility as well. Its been a full on tiring year for all of us and also operating our domestic competition as well.