cooking, gardening, playing
23 June 2012 | Roderick Bay
We can't believe we aren't going to be stateside this summer and seem so far away, but this place is THE BEST place we've ever been. We do our schoolwork every morning except weekends and go to shore all afternoon from about 2-6pm. The boys wrestle, chase girls, chickens, play with "their" puppy that someone from church gave them but we will leave with the village, swim, swing in trees, jump in muddy bogs, dam up the creek and fish for mullets, minnows and small crabs, hike the trail to the other village, and search for clownfish on the reef.
Today while Allen slaved in the engine room with generator problems I paddled a mile up the bay in the canoe with the head guy's wife and daughter to go to their garden. We came into the tunnel they hacked out of the mangrove to leave the canoe and hike uphill to their several different plots of land with different kinds of potatoes, taro, banana, and who knows what else, with giant trees felled on the hillside to make rows and prevent erosion. It's a great view back down the little bay, and we dug, hacked, and replanted for a couple hours before dragging the recycled rice bags full of our bounty, loaded it onto our shoulders and heads and traipsed back to fill the canoe and drag it back out through the mush of tide gone out on us. They kept having me practice all kinds of phrases in their local language (they speak pretty good English) but they don't stick for long in my head...We didn't get far before the little daughter jumped overboard to collect sea grapes on some coral bommies, they're crispy little popping kind of seaweed that are slightly salty and delicious with lemon juice. Now I need to invent recipes to eat all these things overflowing from our storage baskets!
It was pretty fun this afternoon back in the village where they're finishing up this entirely new "round house" made entirely of sago palm parts for the upcoming yacht festival in mid July. It's open air in the center but each section takes like 32 of these 12' palm frond sections made from overlapping 6-8" pieces. I actually "sewed" two of those roof panels together and they were a lot easier than weaving baskets! The puppy comes and sleeps under my legs while I sit and sew, and today when the boys got hungry and I didn't have any snacks, they actually asked for some cooked panna (local potato). The villagers were so happy they wanted panna so they got a couple fresh cut coconut halves for the boys to munch while they got panna out of the fire. The cooking fire's a whole other story, where I've twice spent my afternoon peeling all the various potatos they brought from the garden. First you take the burning wood off the fire, which isn't that great when you're barefoot and step on a coal. Then you remove the baking hot rocks with bamboo tongs, place the peeled potatoes on the bottom rocks stacking the stuff in, covering it with more hot rocks, then giant banana leaves, and finally burlap sacks. Presto, it cooks while you're off doing something else! I thought about bringing ours in too to avoid heating the boat every night with the propane burners going for whatever I'm making, but it's just as hot their way but the beauty is you leave it after all the hot work. Their kitchens are totally separate from their houses.
Anyways, the rest of it in a nutshell is that after M's hand injury and repair, we're doing well avoiding the cooties. Lots of pinkeye and snotty noses, dirty hands for sure, but time to soak up the earth's energy with our barefeet, hands, and bottoms if we ever sat in the sand! Allen's staying health on black coffee, gallons of it, but he does like his cookies. We've not ridden our bikes here 'cause we're waiting for parts, but we have run the fun trail, done our yoga, and SUP'D around a lot. We've even been rowing the dinghy to save $ on gas! It's not cheap in Honiara, but out here we're not spending at least. We're ready to go soon...it will be SAD!