The early people of Fortunata possibly arrived from Burma or Thailand many centuries ago.
The remains of their civilization can be found still on some of the less populated and remote islands. They had characteristics of both darker Indian and lighter Asian heritage. The people were small, most adults were around 5’ 3” tall.
Certainly their written language was Sanskrit, although there doesn’t appear to be a direct correlation to Thai or any of the Indian languages
The modern people are of Western origin and possibly descendents of shipwrecked traders, blown off course by monsoonal storms.
The language now is simply English. There are some colloquialisms that are definitely of Spanish or Portuguese origin and some may indicate French or Italian heritage, but because Computer Programming is so much a part of their world, American English has been fully accepted and is taught in all schools as the National Language.
The people speak with a light sing-song lilt that is captivating and together with their open attitudes, big smiles and dark flashing eyes, the people create Fortunata’s greatest asset.
Schooling until age 10 is via community elementary schools. Most classes are held outdoors and are far more social than their Western counterparts. The children play House, Hospital and Shops – they learn about their community and their culture, although the concept of Multiplication Tables and formal structures are left until Secondary School.
The application of the Rules of Harmony begins in Secondary School. Here the students examine the way that things click together and how they can ‘click’ more easily. They have begun Research and make full use of their computers to do so.
Understanding that virtually all knowledge is available on the web, these students are the most ‘geared’ for the 21st Century. They undertake tests against the best in the world, not just the best in their school.
Religion is more of a philosophy than worship. The Rules of Harmony are the unwritten standards or moral code. Certainly there are similarities with Buddhism, but there is no Buddha. The people appear to respect a personal ‘God-self’ within them that guides their direction throughout life. They don’t adhere to life after death, but more simply to the philosophy that their children will remember them for generations. What they do today may echo for generations and tomorrow is the responsibility of today.
They have a single ‘Commandment’ – “Be Nice” which is echoed on posters and school books.
There are a number of festivals each year. They revolve around natural events and everyone is encouraged to participate in their own way.
One of the festivals is ‘Lanterna’ where paper lanterns, paper sailing ships and paper kites are hung on every tree – these often have secret notes in them, not prayers, but unsigned love notes. On the big night, an hour after sunset, candles and lamps are lit and these lanterns lift into the night sky, carrying the messages on the evening breeze.
This in itself tends to indicate a link with Asia which does not appear elsewhere in their culture. It may even have its roots in the Hindu Festival of Lights.
There is a single church in Fortuna – it is non-denominational and is used more as a public meeting house than for any other purpose, still, people are welcome to use the church for prayer meetings or services. Religion is more tolerated than practiced. Religious Organizations are not allowed to ask for donations or accept any form of payment for their services.
Some large funerals are held at The Church also, although most times funerals are small, poignant and are attended by close family only.
Burial is always at sea, the body is wrapped together with a tombstone in palm leaves and placed in a flimsy palm leaf boat with a single sail. A few words are said by a family member and the boat is pushed out to sea.
Because of the construction of the boat, it will succumb to the soaking water and waves within 4 or 5 hours, releasing the weighted body far out to sea.