Once we had completed our sevusevu ceremony, Tewa asked if
we would like to visit the market. Of course! I am thinking fresh fruits and
vegetables. Wrong! The market was a few ladies sitting on the ground under a
breadfruit tree with some fans and jewelry for sale. Dennis bought a bracelet
and Sondra bought some pearls. I manage to buy a breadfruit off the tree so I
could make breadfruit frites!
Technique for making breadfruit frites:
First boil the large green fruit for 20 minutes. Let it cool
and then peel the tough skin off. Cut into French fries-style sticks. Fry in
hot oil until crispy. Serve with mayonnaise and or ketchup (called tomato sauce
in the South Pacific).
Following our big purchases, we walked through the village
with Tewa where we visited the cemetery. The gravesites are interesting. The
graves of former chieftains definitely stand out in size and decoration. There
was a very serene feeling under the trees in the cemetery.
We spoke with the man overseeing a volunteer camp work
project. There is a camp further down the beach on the village property run by
Rustic Adventures. This week the campers were from the USA and were there to
build a village shower and toilet facility. There is a definite need for
projects and teams of workers in the villages. A new group comes in every two
weeks during the camp sessions.
One of the village women asked us if we wanted to come back
at 7:30 PM for village dance and singing event. Of course, there was a fee
involved, which is another way the village raises money for projects. We did
not mind the fee and it turned out to be a fabulously fun night!
Tewa met us at the shore in the dark and let us through the
village. He doesn’t use a torch (flashlight) as his feet know every step of the
terrain in the village. There is no electricity except when there is a
generator running in a house or community building. The homes are lit by kerosene
lanterns in a room being used. There is no wasting energy here!
We were taken to the home of one of the teachers – probably
because her English is very well spoken. We had arrived a little early and the
villagers needed more time to prepare for our arrival at the community
building. Kini shared much about their culture, the education of the children
and answered our questions. Of course, we removed our shoes before entering and
she offered us chairs while she sat on the floor. In fact, I am sure Tewa shared
with the women that I have a hard time sitting on the floor so I was offered a
chair during the performance, as well.
Kini gave me her Facebook email address so we can find out what items we
can bring to the village on our next visit. She teaches at a school two miles
up and over the mountain. Each day she makes this trek to and from on foot.
We learned that they have all the food they need from the
land and the sea. Each day the men go to the plantation to work in the gardens
and return with the bounty for the day. The jungle is full of fresh fruits and
the sea provides fish, crabs, mussels and lobster. We could hear pigs grunting
behind a fence, so they also have pork. Chickens run free so I assume they have
eggs and chicken as needed. It seems that the children are in need of milk from
the mainland, so we will bring powdered milk next time.
Once the villagers were ready, we were invited to follow
Tewa to the community building. We were greeted outside by some children. Upon
entering, we found the village adults dressed in native attire and ready to
entertain us with song and dance. Like most island cultures, the women’s
movements were more subtle and graceful, while the men’s were more
warrior-like. At times, the men would be nearly on top of us with their weapons
as they danced. The women did the singing.
Near the end of the performance, they invited us up to
dance. It was fun – and apparently really funny to the throng of village
children peering in through the glassless windows! They were have a great bit
of laughter! Then we were laughing at them laughing at us! Fun! Fun! Fun!
Unfortunately, I was unable to get any photos – even though
I was given permission – because the light was so low. There was one light bulb
hanging from the ceiling being run by a generator. Also my new camera had
decided to die earlier in the week, so I was trying to use my iPhone without
much success. So we have the visuals and the memories imprinted on our minds
and cannot easily share them with you.
Suddenly one of the male elders started talking to the
villagers who had been sitting in a circle all evening. There was some
clapping, so I assume they were going through a sevusevu ceremony before they
had a village meeting. We were then told that the program was over and we
should leave. So we did! Tewa led us back through the paths, through the stream
and to his home. He gave us a huge sack of papayas and bananas. To thank him,
we gave him some money and a flashlight with fresh batteries. I don’t know if
he will use it – or even be allowed to keep it for himself. Then it was picking
our way back across the flooded reef in the dinghy to the boat to end a