The image is from late August in 1972. Only a couple of hours before, I had arrived on the island on a copra boat called the "Aoniu". It had set sail three days before from the wharf in Suva, Fiji's capital. I was very glad to plant my feet on dry land. In six weeks' time I would be nineteen years old.
The young man with the long blonde hair and the garland of sweet-smelling tropical flowers round his neck is Andy Summers who I replaced as the island's Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) teacher at Rotuma High School. A couple of hours after the picture was taken, Andy would have been on the "Aoniu" heading back to Suva and then on to England via Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York.
I remember the names of the two girls in the picture. The girl on the left is not in fact a Rotuman - she's an Indian. I used to teach her. Her name was Indira Lal and her father Mohan, was the owner of the village shop in Motusa where Richard and I lived. That family was the only Indian family on the island. The other girl is Maria. She was always round at our house cleaning up or collecting laundry. The money we gave her was very important to her family. Her laugh was infectious.
Behind us is a breadfruit tree and beyond that a copra shed where sacks of roasted coconut meat were stored. It was the island's only cash crop and prices for copra were always fluctuating. Making copra was hard work.
Fifty years ago I had no idea how my life might unfurl or indeed how that memorable year on my special faraway island might unravel...