Monday, November 20, 2006

The Facilities: Infrastructure in Malekula, Vanuatu

Alright, I'm kind of running out of thematic posts at this point in time, but I've gotten a couple of e-mails this week asking about facilities. Before I give you the photographic tour of Amelatin Station aka Lambubu, let me fill you in on a little history (as I understand it):

Lambubu is not a traditional Vanuatu community. In fact, it exists because of the cocoa plantation, and was built as a place for the cocoa plantation workers to live. Most of the infrastructure was built by the company that owned the plantation and established it in the '80s. This is why you'll notice that in photos from Laravet (where my host-family lived) their homes are primarily thatched-hut type dwellings, whereas in Lambubu the buildings are closer to what we would recognize in North America. Our home itself is usually used as a barracks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Kava Queen and The Unfortunate Kava Incident

“You like kava?” my host-mom Kathy asked me early one Sunday morning, kneading a mixture of bananas and coconut milk in preparation for our lunch. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my host brother eagerly waiting for my response. I quickly realized that this wasn’t a question-- it was an accusation.

“Only a little bit,” I told them, lying through my teeth.

Erin trying kava for the first time in Port Vila. She wasn't impressed.

My mom began kneading the mixture in front of her harder. She was not impressed. Even with my rudimentary knowledge of Bislama, I had no trouble understanding my host mother’s words. “I don’t like kava,” she told me in the pidgin language. “It’s no good. Women shouldn’t drink kava.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Construction Pictures: Building a school in Vanuatu

Oh, right, remember that one time I was actually in Vanuatu for a reason other than to chill with my awesome ni-Van family, eat some strange food, and play endless games of Scrabble?

I was going to write about being female on a construction site in a patriarchal country, but maybe I've decided to save that for another time. Instead, here's some pictures. This is Tara and I on Day 1. Tara doesn't know it yet, but about two minutes after this picture is snapped, the side of the trench is going to cave in, and she's going to fall down the hole. The men on the construction site are about to be horrified, and the looks on their faces after the incident will clearly read, "We're letting these women work with us for a month?"

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