Malekula Kastom Dance

Fri 12 Sep 2014 04:29
9th September 2014

Still have inclement weather, cooler and overcast which turned out to be brilliant for photos of the villagers. We were all firm friends by now and everyone was happy to be photographed……They are just the friendliest people we have ever met.

The deputy chief's 4 year old son, Sargo….he took a real shine to Andrew and kept grinning at him all the time.

First we watched them prepare kava for the men's booze up later on, Harry was looking forward to that.

The hut was called No Repit Kava Bar. 
He was making One Day Kava….Two Day Kava gives you a two day hangover !!

The children clamoured around us and we took some amazing pictures of them.  We had taken lots of gifts, Hebe T shirts, caps, fishing tackle and nail polish, so there was high excitement.

Eventually Chief Mannasi beckoned us to a glade where the men arrived to dance for us wearing nothing but their nambas.
There are two tribes on this island, Smol Nambas and Big Nambas. Big Nambas were the more warlike and frequently killed off the local police.

We weren't sure what size nambas these guys had but their physique was impressive. They then had a whale of a time rushing around performing for us with lots of whoops and yells, clearly enjoying themselves enormously.

The chief giving it some wellie on the bamboo and singing raucously. Obviously he enjoys the fruits of his position and was twice the size of any body.

Next we were led away for the Ladies dancing. Well I 'm afraid it was a sorry sight and I won't shame them by showing a photo.
Clearly the younger more attractive women refused to perform bare breasted in grass skirts for the white visitor, so there was a sad group of elderly grannies with sagging empty breasts down to their waists and some of the children who thought it all a huge joke. I asked if they really did dance like this to Celebrate the Birth of a Baby and they said no, that was before their time.  They were however eager to know if we had another football for the females of the village…we firmly told our guide, the chief's nephew, that we had already given them 2 and the men had to jolly well share. 

Its a tough chauvinist society. The women raise the children, toil in the vegetable gardens, provide food and wash the clothes. The men drink kava and purloin all the footballs. 

...but then men just adore football, here's our ball in action already, they were very good. 

Afterwards I was approached by Lenowen a lovely lady and mother of at least ten, she eagerly asked me for a cake recipe. We discussed ingredients and all she ever had was eggs and bananas.  I promised to make her Banana Bread which is up there on a par with my Brownies.
Next day early in the morning Andrew and I returned with the cake and a simple recipe. We saw her home and family I expect the whole thing would be gobbled up by elevenses.  Lenowen gave me a palm shoulder bag she had woven, its very special. 
(...just found out kakae is the word for food, not sure I was ever asked to bake a cake, but the end result was warmly welcomed)

We bade them farewell and ventured out of the shelter of the bay heading into a Force 6 to bash down to the next safe haven a huge estuary, Port Sandwich surrounded with hills, a hurricane shelter. Perfect, except it has 'plenty shark, no swim'. Evidently the village dumps butchered cattle into the bay - establishing a sort of cargo cult in the shark community that lives there.