A Day in Viru Harbor
07 December 2008 | The Western Province
I love the vibe of Viru Harbor. There are two villages here, on on each side of the harbor mouth. Many dwellings are built right on the water. It reminds me of a Louisiana backwater.
I was so pleased that the villagers here seemed less interested in the new (only) yacht in the harbor than at Penjuku. This illusion ended with a knock on the hull at 6AM. Somehow I lost the battle of wills with Hideko and ended up going outside to see what was happening.
It was two little girls in a canoe. What are you going to do? Tell them to scram it is too early. No chance. As it turned out they had some lovely spring onions they wanted to trade. I asked them what they wanted to trade for. They said books (meaning blank paper school books). I gave them each a set of school books, some pencils and a bag of candy. It was a good trade.
But the trades didn't stop. Our last visitors came at 6PM and we didn't have more than 15 or 20 minutes without someone paddling about the transom. Mostly kids with vegetables, which we made deals with, one and all. We now have a fantastic selection of fresh fruit and veggies. We acquired some surprising things too, like a wonderful ruby red grapefruit and some other things we can't identify.
We did get hit up buy the carvers here. We had to firmly inform them that we were no longer in the market for carvings. I did give them some school pads for their kids. Some guys offered fish but we were full up there too. For the most part everyone was respectful and I only had to shoo two kids and one over grown kid (20 maybe?) off of the transom. I find that making a clear line as to what is ok and what is not (namely getting on our boat) is important and well received if handled properly.
One thing I found surprising was that some of the adults seemed to have a beef with Australians. I don't know what kind of ridiculous propaganda the imbezeling leadership here is sending around (two of the last four prime ministers are in jail for fraud) but the Australians are the only thing keeping this place from melting down. The tribal leaders seem to have more ego than compassion for their subjects. The elected officials (at least last several go rounds) seek to line their pockets as quickly as they can prior to getting kicked out of office.
Let it be known that the Australians have come here at the invitation of the government to get things under control, at substantial risk to their own health and safety. They have done so, and in short order. Australia also provides more aid to the Solomons than any other country.
At the other end of the spectrum the locals love the USA. We came in and fought in WWII and left a lot of packs of cigarette and bottles of Coke a Cola in our wake. One guy told me that the USA has lots of money and always wins the war. I asked if that was why he though we were great. Of course, he said. Hmmm.