It should go without saying...

...but it doesn't. None of the viewpoints or opinions expressed on this blog reflect the views and opinions of the United States government, the Peace Corps or anybody else besides me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Weeks on Pentecost: Part Three

After a great week in Nambwaranyut with Alex and Lucas, I was ready to move on.
I spent all night by myself on the beach waiting for the Brisk to come back through. As I've probably mentioned on this blog before, nothing--ships, planes, community meetings, not even church services--moves on a set schedule here. All is subject to the vagaries of "island time". If a Ni-Van tells you to meet him somewhere at 3 pm, you shouldn't ever show up at 3 pm. If you do that, you'll be waiting around on him for a few hours, hopefully in relative comfort beneath the shade of a nearby tree. The implication of island time is that this entire country operates on a gross approximation. When someone tells you to be somewhere at 3 pm, he or she could mean 4 pm or 5 pm or 6 pm or maybe even 2 pm. But you can be certain he doesn't mean 3 pm.
So, when I called the Brisk and they told me they would reach my area "this afternoon or early evening", I didn't even leave for the beach until half past midnight. And I still ended up sleeping on the beach all night by myself. The Brisk eventually showed up around 5:30 am. If you'll consult the map, you can follow the course we took from Nambwaranyut to Laone, Ryan's village.

Ryan works at school of sorts. Its not really a school, though, more like a vocational training center. Young Ni-Vans receive training in mechanics and hospitality and the like. Pictured here is Ryan's living room and the chicken coop he had built for his chicken project (I'll let you determine which is which). Ryan lives in what I contemptuously refer to as a "white man house". You'll note the concrete construction, ample shelf space and--most damning of all--ample electricity.

Here's Ryan and his dog Bear. The other picture is Sara Airport (visible on our map). It's virtually identical to both airports on Epi.

While I was in Laone, I went to the nakamal and drank kava with some of Ryan's male relatives (girls aren't allowed to drink kava, not an uncommon proscription in this country). I was eager to try Pentecost kava because they prepare it differently than back home. As you can see from the photograph, this man is grinding up the kava with some coral stone from the beach, as opposed to pounding it with a big bar like on Epi or grinding it was a metal machine like on Efate. I had never sampled that kind of kava before.

And here I am drinking a shell. Despite all the hype and boasting, I didn't think it was any stronger than the stuff I drink back in Malvasi. This is further proof that the strength of kava is most directly effected not by the method of preparation but by how much water is added during preparation.

Oh, an here's a picture of Lucas coming back from their garden. What a great view, huh?


  1. Love the stories! I was transported (speaking of which, about that spare vatu you could fork over for an auntie ticket to visit...).

    Keep the tropical tales coming!

    XOXO Cosmo Cote

  2. Jared, you write so well and so vividly capture the look and feel of your subject matter. What a wonderful trip you had to Pentecost! What a great experience, start to finish. I'm so glad you'll have this blog to look back with, once you return to the US. Keep the stories and updates coming. We love reading of your adventures. Love - Mom

  3. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Vanuatu? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Vanuatu in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia,39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez