Birthday party preparations

We’re starting to live very much on plans based on our consumption of essentials: diesel (we carry 360 litres plus 4 extra 25lt cans, so have pretty good coverage); petrol for outboard (generally not a major problem), LPG for cooking (increasingly a constraint, as we’re finding few places able to fill our bottles and we’re now baking bread most days and using a fair amount of gas), and of course water and food basics. We have 800lts water tanks, plus we carry 6 * 20lt containers, so we carry a fair payload. We’ve finally constructed a watercatcher for the forepeak when it rains, and I think we’re in good shape. We haven’t run ourselves down to empty yet, but I’m confident we have at least 3 weeks, perhaps 4 at a stretch, without rainfall. Fresh water washing becomes abit of a luxury item after awhile, but we’ve managed to find bays with waterfalls, streams or fresh water springs for the much-needed bath and clothes washing. Infrequent bathing draws few complaints from the boys, as you’d imagine.

Luca has spent most of this week attending the village primary school here at Losalava – very brave really when you consider the huge language and cultural gaps – and has made 2 or 3 friends with whom he goes bird and bat-shooting with their slingshots after school (yes, they eat both, but fortunately don’t appear to hit that many). His birthday is likely to fall on one of our passages, so we’ve decided to celebrate it early this Friday. We’ve invited about 10 of the people we’ve spent most time with, plus 4-5 of Luca’s friends and their families, to a mid-afternoon picnic by one of the local swimming holes. Completely unsure how this is going to go, but given how small and tight this village is (and the level of novelty we appear to represent), very likely a good part of the whole village will turn out!

Gaua Island has a unique practice of making “water music” – they beat the water with their hands, making sounds like drumming. Improbable, but the sounds are entrancing and of course it’s accompanied by lots of splashing and hilarity, but it’s a musical form that they take quite seriously. We had a impromptu display of this by four sisters last Sunday when we were larking around a swimming hole with a bunch of kids, and it is truly amazing. Anyway, we’ve asked if they can provide a more formal display for Luca’s birthday party which they seemed thrilled to do. Should be fun. Knowing how these Ni-Vans like to turn out a feast, we’re furiously baking cakes, muffins, biscuits and other birthday treats that we can offer everyone (knowing the likelihood of having about 60 attendees!). There goes our LPG ration for the week!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 00:36:12

    Found examples of Gaua Is water music on you tube – what a unique birthday concert!
    Hope Luca has a fabulous day xxx


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