Other than building relationships with our new friends on Ambrym, our main job now is learning learning learning.
(Hint on the Smileboxes below - many have the option of clicking to zoom in on pictures and for the ones with multiples on a page, that's kinda the only way you can see what's going on in them.)
We LEARN CULTURE:
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Custom ceremonies and dance:
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I didn't have room to add these last 2 pictures into the Smilebox but this is how the Rom dance ends - with the participants killing multiple pigs and then cooking and eating them. An uproar was caused at one point when one victim ran away, but dogs and dancers soon chased him down. Only dancers are allowed to touch the pigs and prepare the food. The dance seemed harmless enough but Papa, the old woman we were sitting with (white hair in my header picture on my blog) said she was afraid. When I asked why out of surprise, she said that after these ceremonies, emotions and jealousies run high and black magic is done against some people. We didn't hear of anyone being hurt, but obviously we aren't really in a position to hear of these sorts of things anyway. Another point of interest during the dance was that the guys wearing the Rom masks and costumes were often in need of being pulled (by certain straighter leaves on their costumes) by those not in costume into their required place. When I questioned Papa as to whether these were the new dances that were just learning their places, she replied that they always require assistance because they are unable to see well. Also, she said that there are no variations in the Rom dance, that whenever they perform it, it is always the same. The whole dance lasted around an hour.
We had several hours to kill on our return to West Ambrym (Craig Cove)
to catch our plane back to Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu. We just
happened to be flying out on the day that the (Australian) Red Cross was
opening an office up in Craig Cove. In honor of the event, there was
singing, speeches, and a custom dance.
Houghton and Taso (our friend from Ranvetlam village up north who accompanied us to Craig Cove) watching the ceremony.
School and community fundraisers:
Just in the large village north of us, Ranon, which maybe would be considered the capital of the language group, there is both a primary and secondary school from grades 1-10. One of the chiefs in our village is the chairman of the primary school board and so led a community fundraiser for the school. As Houghton and I were able to see with first-hand experience, resources are desperately lacking in the schools and so they hold a few fundraisers a year.
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