The following morning Dave dropped me off ashore and I walked to the village to meet Lillian. Off we headed through the jungle clad hills trekking a shocking distance to visit her many gardens. Lillian wielded a machete expertly and at times cleared what seemed to me a non-existent trail. I found it impossible to tell which way we were heading, but of course Lillian knew the place inside and out. Along the way she pointed out the individual gardens of her sisters, mother, uncles, grandmothers, etc. The image of a traditional garden as we know it is a far cry from these bush gardens where plants are most often just planted amongst the jungle in areas lightly slashed to allow additional sun light.
All the while during our trek, Lillian was ever so happy to show me around laughing incessantly and happy to have me pick out whatever I wanted. We dug up root crops such as cassava (manioc), two types of dalo (taro root), sweet potatoes, one giant yam, green onions and to top it off a stalk of sugar cane, just for a snack. The freshly harvest produce was carried in a basket made on the spot from a single green palm frond. Once we'd gathered a large basket of fresh vegetables we made our way back to the beach. Lillian then taught me how to make a palm frond basket, it was a bit difficult and mine ended up with a big hole in the bottom, none the less a great experience. All the women of Vanuatu use these wonderful baskets to carry anything and everything. At the end of the excursion I gave Lillian a nice blouse for herself, two dresses for her daughters and toy cars for her sons. I think she was most grateful for the fish hooks I gave her as she could now go fishing for the family. The women seem to do nearly everything, child care, cooking, cleaning, washing, fishing, gardening and the men?
Back on the topic of these natural palm frond baskets as they are a significant improvement over the plastic bags that litter the more "developed" Pacific islands and clearly one of the big reasons for a lack of rubbish here on Vanuatu. Vanuatu is exceptionally clean, at least here on Tanna, as mainly because they have not adopted the world of mass consumerism. No empty coke bottles or bags of chips lying around! A welcome change.
Once Dave picked me up we took some several manioc and dalo roots to the hot springs on the beach. This is where the locals cook their food. There were about a dozen villagers there hanging around the hot spring in a small hut, some women were cooking and others washing laundry in warm pools on the beach. A local man insisted in placing our items in the correct spring and covering it with rocks. The temperature was 200F. We left the food in there for about forty minutes and passed the time talking and taking some great photos.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: