Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making sago

When I was in the village, two days in a row we went to the bush, next to the river, to make sago. Firstly the men cut down a sago tree and then they smashed the inside of it to make a pulp a bit like wood chips or sawdust.

Next it is the women’s work to process it all to make sago flour. Firstly we put the sago pulp into a pot and add water. Then we squeezed the water out of the pulp and put the pulp in another bowl, and keep the water which is now orange from the sago pulp and repeat the process two more times with the same batch of pulp.

Next we poured the water over a piece of hessian and rubbed the hessian to make the sago flour go through to the basin below.

Here I am rubbing the hessian – it is easy work, but your skin starts to wear out after doing lots of it. There was so much pulp from one tree!

We ended up with a basin full of orange water, but the sago flour settles at the bottom of the basin.

They empty the water and allow the flour to dry out. Here is a photo of the completed product that they gave us.

There are so many different ways of cooking sago. You can mix it with banana or with coconut and fry it or boil it or cook it on the fire or make soup out of it. I had a lot of fun experimenting with it and I haven’t mastered cooking it yet. I hope to play with it a bit more and see if I can make anything really wonderful.

The various kinds of cooked sago that I ate were nice. It is a bit gelatinous (or ‘gooey’) and chewy, but it was definitely edible and not repulsive at all.

Here are two things made out of sago that our family gave us. I tried making the kind that is on the right one time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back from village living

We have left our villages now and are back at POC. I had a great time in the village, I absolutely loved it and would be happy to stay there all the time. There is so much I could tell you about my time in the village that it would make one very long blog post!! So I’ll share a little bit now and add more posts about village living over the next few weeks.

Some of the highlights were: making sago, harvesting cocoa, going for a trip up a mountain, making a bilum and being given a local name – Mogom.

In the mornings, I had a bit of a routine of having breakfast then washing my clothes at the tap, then washing the dishes at the tap too. It was an interesting affair – I often had a crowd of children standing watching me. It didn’t really bother me. Lately I had a little girl about 5 years old helping me, which was really sweet.

Washing clothes:

Washing dishes:

Every day was different, so there was only a regular routine in the morning and later afternoon.

At about 4-5pm we washed in the river which is right next to the sea, with a sand bar in between. It was very public – sometimes there would be a man sitting on the shore nearby doing something, or other times, a group of little children would come with us and play in the water around us. I was fully covered when I bathed, so I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, I can’t really think of anything that bothered me when I was in the village.

Here I am about to bathe, fully covered up.

This picture shows me bathing with a bit of the background of where I was:

And with the kids:

After we bathed, we made our dinner using our kerosene stove (Primus). Then after eating dinner sitting on the verandah, some of our ‘family’ came and sat with us and we talked for a little while or made our bilums and then went to bed.