Solomon Islands 10, Village Life

By staying five days in Driftwood Lodge, I was also able to connect with the natives and see a bit their way of life. In order to reach their village, I had to cross two rivers.



This bridge was a bit exposed, especially because the rope to hold on was loose and did not give much support. However, I did not fall into the water.





The bridge was no problem for the natives





Second river crossing



On my first time walking to the village,  I saw a cyclone approaching in the distance and returned back to the lodge. The storm was so strong that I was afraid that a coconut got loose and fall on my head – it did not happen.




A cyclone on the horizon. It did not reach the island




On my second walk, we visited the new village school (built by an NGO). Children go to school from age 7 until 13. If they want to continue their education, they have to go to a boarding school.


New village school





The only classroom




It was interesting to see the public display of the fees not paid



In general, the education of the children is built on trust. Letting them do things from a very young age is one of the teaching tools. Even very young children can handle knives.




Little grandson of Gura with a huge knife.







The village is home of master carvers. All are members of a huge family. We visited one of the carvers in his home. He was in the process of creating a sculpture depicting an octopus and turtle made out of ebony.




Every carving is done solely by hand and with very simple tools.





Smiley is another member of the family of carvers. Here he shows the two pendants he made out of ebony and shells.




In every house, the kitchen is a separate building. I assume that the reason for that is fire prevention. However, this means that another danger is luring during flooding.  Crocodiles might swim underneath the houses, which is especially dangerous for children.



Kitchen house



Fish is the main meal of the natives. One time I saw a boat coming to the shore with lots of fish. Children were watching and helping carrying the fish home.








A dead tree used to hold fishing nets



Gura, one of the master carvers, showed us two heaps of stones marking a sacred place.  One heap contained the earth of the home island from where his ancestors came from. They were asked to come and protect the village from the enemy.  The other heap marked the grave of a warrior, once covered with smoking pipes (they were sold to missionaries, like many other cultural things). His ancestor was the head of an army of warriors. The name “warrior” could only be used by somebody who killed at least 30 enemy warriors and brought back their heads. This area was the home of head hunters. The last head hunter hunted in 1942.




Gura with his carving knife and an unfinished object.




There is no doctor on most of the islands. The natives rely on the knowledge of healing plants growing in the jungle. This is very different to Honiara, where people have forgotten the natural healing remedies. In Honiara, they rely on doctors which do not have much knowledge of Western medicine either. Often antibiotics are prescribed, even when there is no relationship to the sickness.



Stewy, is not only a master free diver but also knows a lot of jungle plants. He went with us on a jungle walk and explained the different healing plants. When bleeding, moss is used to stop it. Specific leaves of a plant are used to stop stomach ache. Dengue fever is treated by crushing Papaya leaves and eating the bitter substance.




The four corner fruit is used for insect bites

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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