Solomon Islands 2, Honiara

Smoke rises up from the fire pit below in the valley – the locals prepare „motu“- meat prepared on hot rocks.  Dense vegetation prevents me to see what is going on, but I hear.  I hear pigs squealing, the  Noisy Miner birds screaching and people shouting and laughing. During the night dogs are howling and the roosters start their concert already around 3 am.



On the dirt road on the bottom of the valley cars drive as slow as people walk – this is the rhythm of the islands. Everything is slow.


Something else the islanders share – the chewing of the Betel Nut. Like the Coca leaves or the Khat leaves in Ethiopia, the Betel Nut brings energy and makes people feel good. In mixing it with lime, the nut turns red and according to the locals, tastes delicious. This is the reason why often the teeth and lips of the locals and are colored red. They spit red saliva on the ground, which can be seen ( except in places were it is forbidden by law to chew).



Many little wooden booth sell the Betel nut beside the road. One Betel nut costs two Solomon  Dollars.



The islanders are friendly, open and curious, especially women. The faces of older women are often decorated with tattooes.   It shows the tribe to which  they belong. People love to go barefoot. Their feet, especially the feet of men, are huge.



One peculiarity they share too – they seem to know everything about everyone. Talking about other people belongs to their culture. Lorenz and Ale told me that strangers once knew  when they went to bed the day before.



Christianisation has left major footprints on the islands. On my way up to our house – a compound of several houses surrounded by barbed wire and watched day and night by a guard- a bunch of kids was walking with me. Their names were Mary, Julia, Albert, Wilhelm. They lost their native names, at least in Honiara. However, on the almost 1000 islands they speak 120 languages. The common language they use for communication is Pidgin – very funny and simply English.


On my way back to the house, those workers asked to be photographed.  The house in the back is a typical house on stilts.


Before the explorers, missionaries and traders came to the islands, they were head hunters invading neighbor islands with their ships. As a sign of fierceness, the front of the ship was decorated with the god  Ngugungzugung  holding a human head. Later the head was replaced by a bird as symbol for peace.

All the gods have a strong gaze.



Beside excellent carvings made out of tropic woods, the women weave beautiful baskets.



In the art gallery of the Solomon islands, they show  interesting paintings.. One artist painted the future effects of the brutal logging going on.  Some of the logging effects I have seen already— hills totally stripped of any trees. It reminded me of the Easter Islands.

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. I would guess from the looks on the faces that the origins of the people of the Solomons is from Africa or India. But apparently the indigenous people have been there for thousands of years and only in the last millennium were “discovered” by Europeans. Is that right?

    • Yes, the people seem to have features resembling people from Africa but it is generally agreed that the islands were settled by Asian peoples when the ocean was 100 meter lower and there was more land.


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