Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walking to the island

Yes, WALKING!! If you can’t get hold of a canoe, at low tide you can walk to Teop Island (or to the mainland if you’re at Teop). It’s not very far; it takes about 15-20 minutes, and you have to walk slower than you normally would because you’re walking through water some of the time, although it’s only about ankle depth.

You can’t walk to the island from the place that this photo was taken, but it shows a lot of exposed reef.

This photo is taken from the point where we usually cross over. You can see how there is exposed land and shallow water all the way.

This is the low tide view from Teop Island looking towards where the photo directly above was taken.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fishing for iobo

I wrote about ‘iobo’ before (10 August) focusing on having it as food. Well I have now seen how they get iobo, so let me tell you about that.

At low tide, you go out and look for the type of grass that iobo lives under. Then you shove your special stick into the sand there and wiggle it back and forth.

Next you put your hand down the hole that the stick has made.

And you bring your hand back up with the iobo that you found

Then you should gut it straightaway, by pushing a stick through it.

This is a iobo that hasn’t been gutted yet.

Here is a pot with the day’s iobo harvest, and other seafood (not cooked yet)

Lastly you need to pound it so that it will be soft and easy to eat. I think if you don’t do this, it will be really chewy like bad calamari.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dragging a car out of the village

This was such a fun event – everyone was in stitches laughing the whole time!

We had a shell of a car which had been an eyesore in the village for years, and the community decided that it was time to beautify the village and thus we needed to get rid of the old car.

Here’s what it looked like when I first visited in August 2009.

First they had to turn the car upside down and attach ropes to it for pulling.

Then they dragged it from the village out to the road.

After that we dragged it along the road for a while (you can see me in my pink hat in these next two photos).

Next they took it a little way into the bush (not very far from the road).

It was turned over again and positioned in its final resting place. It is next to an area where some copra work gets done, so now they put their bags of dried copra inside the car to hide it from the rain.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making copra

Copra is the main source of money for people who aren’t employed in formal work, so there’s always someone working on making copra. We have got involved in various stages of the copra making process. This is a simplified list of the stages in making copra:

1. Gather coconuts – 500 coconuts makes 1 bag of copra.
2. Husk the coconuts.
3. Crack the coconuts open.
4. Throw the coconuts up to the drying rack.
5. Arrange the coconuts properly on the drying rack.
6. Light a fire under the coconuts every day until the flesh has dried.
7. Take the dried flesh (ie the copra) out of the shell.
8. Pound the copra into smaller pieces inside the bag for selling copra.
9. Sell the copra.
10. Buy what you want with the money you got.

In between some of these stages, the coconuts/copra need to be moved to different places (eg to the drying rack, to the place for pounding the copra) and the women do this by carrying it on their backs. Here’s a photo of me with a small, but heavy (for me) load of copra. It’s probably about a quarter of the size of what the local women carry.

This photo is a close up of how we remove the copra from the shell (step 7 above):

This is me getting the copra out of the shell:

Here is our copra drying house. I am going down our not-very-sturdy log ‘ladder’.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back to school!

One day we visited the elementary school at Kekesu to see what happens there, as elementary school, which is the first three years of school, is taught in the local language. We spent some time at each of the three classes watching. These are some photos from that visit.

Elementary prep (E-Prep) students writing in their books:

E-Prep classroom wall:

E-1 students doing an exercise in their books:

E-2 students doing some work:

Food chain poster in the E-2 classroom. It shows that crocodiles eat people, people eat cats, cats eat rats, and rats eat sweet potato (kaukau).