Thursday, September 05, 2013

Sights of Tanna

Yesterday before going to see the awesome Mount Yasur Volcano of Tanna (Vanuatu), we walked the short distance from our cabin to the tidy neighbouring Kastom village. It took little imagination for us to conger a fantasy that we were time travellers, cast back in time to an undiscovered people.

The genial folks here live in the old traditional way, without electricity or piped water (they have a central well and pump) and their huts are woven bamboo walls, raised a foot or 2 off the ground and of course all have the thatched roofs. We felt a rare peacefulness in this scene as the subtle sounds of the distant surf lulled us into tranquility.

Peaceful village

The gracious villagers told us we were free to look around and even take pictures if we like. These youngsters at the busy 'town centre' were sucking the tasty juice from bright red flowers and offered us a sample too...

Yummy for my tummy

It was not unusual to see naked toddlers being carried by their slightly older siblings or just running around carefree. In a central clearing, the women and girls were weaving palm fronds for the thatched roofs amidst the prosaic cluck of hens and the smolder from their outdoor cookery.

A timeless scene

Off to the side, close to the large Banyon tree, were the vestigial remnants of yesterday's oven where they made their laplap. It's an in-ground oven where the food is wrapped and cooked by hot rocks all smothered with big leaves and sand.

One of the huts served as a meager store. We peered inside the dimly lit store and were surprised at how little it contained but remembered that they were want for little.

A meager merchant

Later that day we visited a different Kastom village a few miles away where we met Chief Jack. The village was immaculately landscaped with walkways lined with vegetation. A tall tree fern stood near the entrance. The top of tree ferns are always larger than the base as they are turned upside down and replanted before carving.

Jordan with decorative fern tree

The Chief and a few villagers performed a ceremonial dance for us where the men wore not much more than penis sheaths made of bark and the women donned grass skirts of dried pandanus reeds...

Taking a rest between celebratory dancing...

Adorable young learner...

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