Witgh flowers around our neck
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 10 Oct 2014 18:59
The trip to Yagasa (you pronounce it yangousa) was celebrated yesterday and the guests of honor were Diana and Russ on One White Tree and us on Salsa. When we arrived we got a garland of flowers around our neck, these typical polynesian white flower with a yellow center that smells very good. There was a kava drinking ceremony and a feat with all kinds of food. One of my favourites is crab meat prepared with chilli, ginger and curry. You take that and roll it into a roti ( a special small round flat bread they make here).
For the first time we stayed in the village beyond dark, Russ and Diana playing and singing, sometimes one of the other attendants singing and playing the guitar.
You might want to know what kava is and how it tastes? Kava is made from Yagona (Yangouna), a root that produces a drug when you mold it to a powder.
Here they do the first round in a steel cylinder, preferably a diving tank that has ben cut in half. Oh yes modern materials are used here and that is stuff that has been washed up on the reef. For instance, balls used to mark fishing nets can be cut in half and used as bowls. From ball to bowl you could call it.... There are a lot of ingenious ways to use things we consider gone.
The yangosa is "molded" with a iron bar in the tank and that of course creates a sound as from a bell. That sound makes the men in the village look thirsty. Like seeing the eyes of thirsty people when a bottle of champagne is brought in at home. Can you sense the atmosphere? PARTY!
Then we all sit around a kava bowl, it is traditional and made of wood, Vesi is the name of the wood in Fiji, if you can google that and find out what kind of wood it is let us all know. It is the kind of wood we got at Yagasa. Water is poured in the bowl and everybody waits patiently, you know like when we wait for somebody finally cork that bottle up... One guy sits and does the final grinding with a wooden "club" and then they put a fist size amount of grain in a piece of cloth (from somebodys skirt that has given up), the cloth is dipped in the water and they press the water through the cloth, like a huge teabag where you force the taste of tea out...
The guy doing that is working hard as all the rest are watching nervously laughing and they all look like they had no liquid for a month. Imagine somebody that needs 15 minutes to open the bottle while the rest are watching and waiting.
Then a coconut shell is filled and poured back into the bowl, I guess they check the quality, the bouché and so on. The color and look of the kava is like water in a muddy poodle.Brown.
But now everybody licks their mouth (In their mind), the coconut shell is filled and passed around, and there is a sense of reliefe as the kava is taken in. Most drink a full half nutshell but I ask for "low tide" and get a small amount in the bottom. Thank you. It tastes like water coming out of a muddy poodle and it just gives me a sense of numbness in my mouth. I guess I do not drink enough to feel the same numbness in my head...
The effect of the drug is described as making you sentimental. It does not seem to make you "HAPPY"-"UP" as we know alchohol can do. The songs they sing are mellow and it is all very low key.
There was a time they allowed beer on the island but it has been banned since the youngsters were to loud when they drank it.
Actually you would find the whole place being quite. There is no shouting, no loud voices. Communication can be made with a raised eye brow, thats it.
Going home was an adventure as it was very dark, the full moon did not rise until we got down to the landing site and that was magnificent! It was huge and just in front of us, it came up in a deep yellow colour.
As we had approached the beach in low tide we had tried to leave the dinghy as far in as we could possibly get, but I still had to take off my clothes and swim out to the dinghy and drive it in to the rest of the family. In the dinghy the bird was waiting for us....
Let's step back to the same day but earlier, school on board of course, and Im writing on my book. Lunch and after that Ellinor takes a nap and I go paddling. As we are getting close to go into the village a bird comes floating by the boat. The kids yell that there must be something wrong with it.
It must be a juvenile, and there is something wrong because we can just scoop it up gently with a paddle. We put it in front of the dinghy to see if it can fly when it gets dry. We think it has oil in the feathers that makes it hard to fly or something. Anyway we are in a hurry so we drive into the landing place with the bird sitting in the front of the dinghy and we hope it will disappear during the evening. You can imagine the amount of engagement that goes along with our kids when it comes to a cute little bird.
As we headed out to the boat in the dark the seabird had decided not to stay on top of the dinghy in the front but nest itself down at the bottom in the front. We all had to move careful and as we finally got out to the boat a heavy rain came down on us, must be the first heavy rain since I do not know when, hope the village got some.
We had fish in the fridge and the bird got some and now as I woke up this morning I looked in the dinghy and yes it was still there...
The water pipe
Oh yes as we got into the village I finished my job on their water pipe to one of the village cisterns. The way they collect water here is when it rains they use their metal roofs as collectors, it all goes down in tanks by each house. But there are a few bigger ones that belong to the village. The biggest one being the church roof that collects to a central tank. A smaller village tank is actually outbanned by the nurse here in the village due to dirt etc. The pipe that comes out of the concrete wall is rusty and at a point it has cracks that make the pipe leak out valuable water.
They asked me if I could fix it temporarily and the nurse said OK if they clean it out. So I said I give it a try if they clean the tank from the water and the dirt. I cannot fix a pipe while it is constantly wet.So they did and it was time for me to get into action. I brought in our grinder one day and that made some big eyes, it runs on battery power and if´s very forceful (we have´it as an emergency machine to cut wires if we loose the mast), I cleaned out the rust and then applied an epoxi you use to fix machine parts in metal. We left it for a couple of days to harden and yesterday I put on a shrinking material they use in district heating pipes when they join the pipes with each other. We got some of that material for free from the manufacturer in Sweden when I wanted to buy and have on board for emergency reasons. It is like a big big tape but when you apply it and heat it up it shrinks and melts to a very solid material. Well to do that on board is fine since we have 220 volt and I can huse a heat gun, in the village I was trying to get a propane bottle and a torch but they had none, so they brought the village generator that belongs to the school and is used on occations (I never heard it run before yesterday) It was unloaded from the wheel barrel, a big piece of diesel engine with one cilynder, the rope to start with was rolled around the wheel and with one forceful pull the generator started in a puff of smoke and a terrible sound. Impressive, it did not look like it would make it, we plugged in the heating gun and soon the pipe had a nice new surface where it used to leak. It will most probably last six months or so I told them but they should get themselfe a new pipe.