I have been inducted into the art of taro pounding.
Kelinda’s Auntie Susan (pictured) and I pounded taro and coconut milk together endlessly in the black bowls to make a “pudding”. The final step in the process involves shaking the bowl as hard as you can to round the puddings into a smooth ball – there we are – head to head (she was much much better at it than I was – the upper body strength is impressive!) while the others cheered us on.
In fact the trip to Atori (a very small village of about 8 houses on the far northern coast of Malaita) was enlightening. We motu’ed potatoes, fished for fresh catch, collected the mangrove fruit and carved and cooked many a garden bean. Impressed at my work ethic and abilities in the kitchen, the village decided I was an asset to their community and I was brought a local boy by the village chief to marry to entice me to stay longer. This included a ritual betel nut tasting and more bark chewing to prevent the evils of witchcraft.
I just wish I could have stayed longer to learn more from Auntie Susan!!