Monday, January 18, 2016

PAD Part 22

Chickens like to roost in trees, apparently

Kathleen chillin' in my hammock

My uncle Chandy got married, and one of the kastom traditions in my province is to "wash" people, AKA cover them in water/rum and coke/old kava/banana laplap/whatever else is around. Apparently on Maewo they wash you with cow poop, so I lucked out in that sense! This is Patrick, one of my other uncles.

Mats are very important part of kastom marriages. This was the day before the wedding, and Chandy gave mats out to a whole bunch of people to say thank you. They then called up kids of each of the dads in the family to give mats to the dads. My brothers were nowhere to be found, and when they told Bianca to do it, she started crying, so the duty fell to me! You can see the lovely water/flour mixture I was washed with on my shirt/in my hair.

Baby powder is often used as a sign of congratulations. During the mat-giving ceremony, people from my family doused people from the bride's family in baby powder, then covered them with calico and mats.

The Saratamata gas station

Maewo at sunset

This is a typical woven natangoro wall of a house (specifically the guest house I stayed at in West Ambae). My office has been scrambling to get ready for a snap election to be held Jan 22nd, and has been sending representatives to various parts of the province to make sure everyone is prepared. I went with Barry and Oscar to West Ambae to help run some meetings and prepare proxy forms.

Turns out West Ambae is more developed than East, which surprised me. This is a copra plantation.

Not much of a story with this photo, I just liked it a lot.

Coming back from West Ambae. This is a pretty typical boat you'd see around Vanuatu. You can't really tell from this picture, but it was raining pretty hard, and we were all quite soaked by the time we got back.

One of the projects I recently got asked to help with is conducting interviews with people with disabilities in regards to how they interact with ICTs (phone, computer, internet...) This man had never used a computer or the internet before, but was very interested in it, so I invited him to come to my office and try it out!

People here hold fundraisers a lot, to raise money for school fees, build community buildings, or any number of other reasons. My uncle Ramson held one to help raise money for his daughter who's going to Malapoa, the best school in the country, but also a school that's in Port Vila. Mostly, people sell kava and food to raise the funds.

We spent last Sunday at the beach: playing soccer, fishing, swimming, and of course, roasting chicken over an open fire. Delicious!


  1. I liked the stories and photos... I think the local like throwing baby powder in ppls faces partially because it funny.. They love slapstick humor and the three stooges are popular there as testimony heh.