Wallisian Social Rules
19 October 2012 | Ile Uvea - Wallis 13 20.163'S 176 11.179'W
On both islands, Wallis and Futuna the upper class 'Aliki' make all decisions and pretty much run the show. On Wallis there are three royal family clans and true to politics everywhere they have different ideas and evidently bicker a lot.
Our friend Babette is married to a fellow from one of these families, who she met in France when he was in the military. They returned to Wallis 13 years agoand have a nice life here. Last night we met another couple (German and Wallisian) who are friends from the military in France. They were at the pier here in Gahi when Babette picked us up yesterday evening to go see the traditional dancing. As we drove away we learned that the social rules here dictate that they cannot socialize with each other because of status. A casual conversation (not at Babette's home) is ok. If her friend's Wallisian husband wants to come to their home he must have an intention other than just visiting and must bring a gift.
Rule 2. When Babette's husband was hospitalized in New Caledonia for an extended period of time she was left to run her optical business as well as keeping up their house and plantation. No one was allowed to help or even go to their home because she was a woman, home alone.
Rule 3. It's OK to socialize with Pappalangi like us since we're only visiting. If we lived here we'd be off limits!
So when we arrived at the venue for the dancing, they were roasting pigs and cooking in a big umu (earth oven). All the delegates we saw at the ceremony and luncheon two days ago had arrived and it was quite a festive occasion. When we came to the entry Babette was told we couldn't come in because we didn't have an appropriate invitation. Seems that the fellow at the entry was from another royal clan and taking the opportunity to wield a little power. We hopped back in the car and went back to her home to enlist her husband's help. He said there was nothing he could do, so that was the end of our Friday night on the town.
Babette was more disappointed than the four of us. As they say, 'ces't la vie'!