Today was the formal religious activities day to reach forgiveness for the
killings and eating of the missionaries back in 1841; it was a most moving
set of ceremonies that went from 9 am til 4 pm.....the last hour in the big
church that could handle most all of the crowd of locals and us yachties.
To see hundreds of men and women and teenage girls sobbing/crying with real
tears flowing struck us deeply as to just how emotional an event this was to
which we had the opportunity to participate and observe. Some of the
speakers covered details of the killings and the cannibalism that followed
.....it all seemed to be essential as part of truly atoning for the sins of
their direct ancestors ...and in order for forgiveness/healing to happen and
to remove the curse that locals deeply believe has plagued the island and
its people over this past 170 years.
The head of the Samoan delegation is an outstanding preacher/missionary; as
he was doing his parts in the proceedings, you could imagine any person
better matched/suited for the critical roles that he carried out. As an
aside, he is Samoan... but for 26 years he worked on setting up, advancing
and supporting the underground movement of missionary-led Christianity in
the far reaches of China ....with too many memories of life threatening
times in the areas near Mongolia and the Russian frontier.
The ceremonies included symbolic gift giving between the 2
peoples....(including a live pig that was sacrificed <very quickly with a
club> in the center of the ceremonial grounds....the pig is presently
roasting in a pit for part of the community dinner this evening. The locals
and we, the yachties, had the opportunity to see the preparation of the pig
in advance of the traditional cooking in the pit; I won't go into any detail
of the process/steps taken in that preparation ....all done only a few feet
from where we were standing....as it might be a bit too gruesome for some
We yachties were treated as special guests and invited for lunch into the
same building as yesterday to join with the Samoan delegation and a small
number of senior Vanuatuians. The local community families all ate on the
ceremonial grounds.....banana leaves were spread out as three separate long,
long, long tables on the ground....and then various starch vegetables (e.g.
taro root), beef, sugar cane and some other food stuff was spread all along
this long narrow carpet of leaves ....and then a couple hundred locals sat
down on both sides of each of these 3 food presentations and, not until
everyone was seated, and then only after grace was said, did they then all
That is all to offer by way of a quick "glimpse" of today's activity;
tomorrow (Thurs), the Samoan guests will be taken by boat to visit the other
2 communities on the island....so we will be on our own....to see what
mischief we can explore/create.