Monday, January 08, 2007

One for the ladies....!

From Briar:

On the first day I arrived I didn't really know what to do with myself. Zane was left on the boat to look after the luggage and I had the privilege of getting to land first and meeting the people. Sini gave me a lap lap to wear and took me to our house. She explained that I could go have a wash (kau kau) and instructed me on how to wear the lap lap. I stood in our house feeling awkward and confused. I wasn't sure what to do. I think it must have been culture shock. The house had open windows and a modest sheet for a door. Wind was flapping the sheet open so any one could look in and see me changing. In a very awkward - probably comical - attempt, I wrapped the lap lap around me while peeling off my sweaty clothing underneath. I then walked down to the place where the women wash and toilet and just stood in the water. The water was about the same temperature as the air but the wetness on my skin was refreshing. I then had the first experience of wet lap lap clinging to my skin, something I find very annoying.

On the way back I tried to ask my host what women do when they get their period as inconveniently this had arrived at the same time as arriving on the island. She looked at me slightly confused and then said she would get her friend. Her friend came into my house, she appeared to have better English and was the same age as me. I asked her the same question and she told me that woman here used rags but she, she used "stay free". I asked where did the items go once used .. she said "just wash them out" or throw them away in the sea. Hmm, I am supposed to be making an environmental film here (I think to myself). Later I learn that the woman who told me this is not from here so I don't know if her information is correct and whether I am misquoting her through a misunderstanding. I will mention however, people do tend to throw anything and everything in the sea (but more about that later).

The boy reading over my shoulder is Berth. He appears to understand everything I am writing and has just said he is going to tell the whole village I use rags!

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