Saturday, December 06, 2008

There were actually two parties going on at the same time on Saturday

30 November
If you are wondering why there has been a slight delay in the arrival of new blogs we have some good reasons.

Firstly all our batteries have been running down. The car batteries that we use in our solar system are now not as reliable and don't hold their charge as long as before. Also most of the equipment batteries have run down and need charging. Today I resorted to putting on the generator and have given everything a jolly good charge - so we will see how we go.

Secondly, yesterday we had an all day drinking session - so nothing got done (but it was good for public relations). Karave (and I'm not sure I'm spelling that correctly) is a kind of beer brewed from the sap of the coconut tree. It's collected in plastic or glass bottles hung at the top of the tree and fermented for a while. Additives improve the alcoholic content but not the taste. The resulting drink tastes a bit like a mix of beer and rice wine but isn't too bad after the first glass.

There were actually two parties going on at the same time on Saturday hosted by two of the main characters in our film. Satty (who is in his mid thirties and messes about with canoes) was re-rigging his outrigger in the men's boat shed / carving house at one end of the island. Briar and her camera were discouraged from showing up to this one possibly because last time she filmed one of Satty's boat launching captured on video the men telling Satty how he had done it all wrong - or it could be that he just didn't want to be bothered and asked to repeat his actions five times for the camera.

The other party was at Talo's house (Talo is in his 60's, gardens on Takuu, has a lovely wife called Madeline from the Solomons, is missing most of his teeth, keeps pet birds (including a frigate bird named after a footballer) and doesn't stop talking).

So the day passed much like a typical summer student party in Grey Lynn. I talked to many old men - their English vocabulary decreased as their consumption of Karave increased. The young men of the village were blind drunk by midday and everyone else drank until sunset.

Today (Sunday) we woke to find most of the village leaving for Takuu Island. During the night one of the elderly gentlemen died and as everyone is related to everyone else here, most people have departed for a five funeral on Takuu (many dressed as their best imitations of beekeepers). Some people here are worried about the funeral arrangements. Normally the fathers family of the deceased would perform the ceremony but this time none of them are available. Apparently the only person from the fathers side who was is a christian pastor - so he isn't able to do it.

So this time the mothers family will perform the ceremony. This could result in arguments in the land of the dead that may spill over into the land of the living.
After drawing family trees of our three characters I'm not sure how this situation could be possible. Our characters are related to each other on both their mothers side and their fathers side. When drawing out the family tree diagram Lyn put the ends of her paper together to form a circle and the two parts of the diagram matched up! At that point Lyn didn't even have all the connections drawn up yet.
To give you an idea of one connection: Satty is married to Telo's daughter from his first marriage, which makes Endar his great aunt in law.
The funeral means Talo is away but luckily Satty and Endar are still here so we can still continue making the film. Also this means the eagerly awaited school end of year dance contest has been delayed.

Everyone is very excited about this contest. There are little teams practicing all over the island I first became aware of them late one night when I half awoke to the sound of hundreds of sticks been beaten together all over the island. This resulted in a strange dream in which I thought the island was being invaded.
The dances are traditional to the atolls around here (the Carterets, the Tasmans etc) and seem to have no syncopated rhythms - just a steady beat. Apparently everyone has their own team including Beauty (the twelve year old girl who lives next door to us) whose team Briar named "Nukutoa Princesses" and Telo whose team of boys Briar, Lyn and I joined for a practice a few years ago.
Speaking of Briar and naming - it seems Satty has named his daughter after her. This new Briar is almost two months old (she was born on the 6th of October) is the same colour as the old Brair and has big serious black eyes.


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