At the market

We've got a huge pile at the market, including a broom made from oil palm leaves, but can't find banana leaves to wrap up the food we want to cook on the motu.

Nell:  Honiara market was very peculiar. It was very dirty and smelt terrible. Also people didn’t have tables or stalls, their tablecloth was a banana leaf. But they did sell some interesting stuff. I saw my biggest fish (it was dead – a yellowfin tuna about the size of a four year old child). It had small yellow fins on it so I think that’s where it got it’s name. Also everything is very cheap there. Most of the things are less than one pound (if you convert them). We bought a variety of things for the motu (a feast cooked in a hot stone oven, very traditional for Solomon Islanders) including pawpaws, sweet potatoes, coconuts, onions, gnali nuts, cut nuts and taro leaves to wrap the food up in. I enjoyed it lots, it was an interesting experience.

Lola: I really liked the market. It’s so different from supermarkets because all the food is fresh and really nice, and the people are friendly and not bored. I’m trying to learn pijin but it isn’t really working. (Now she’s given up writing this because Michael is teaching her pijin while Lola also reads

chunks of the book Water for Elephants). 

The pictures are of Nell, Lola and Helen by the slippery cabbage (Helen has helped us all learn so much about what’s on sale, how to cook it, or how to eat it, and how much to buy for a large household – the answer is staka, ie, a lot), Nell learning to scrape coconut to make coconut milk for the motu; and a very special picture of me, Nicola, meeting my friend Rose in the market. It’s so strange as she’d heard I was in Honiara and had gone to the market hoping to see me!

The day before I was at the fishing village market and after wandering past about 15 stalls selling pudding, fish, pawpaw, watermelon etc I stopped and asked someone if they made their Lamingtons (a cake Austalians love which is sponge covered in chocolate and grated coconut). The answer was “Nico!” – It was my friend Navie, an English teacher at KGVI School, who I’ve been trying to contact via phone but her mobile wasn’t working. I was so excited to see her and ended up simultaneously hugging and crying her. The plan is to meet for a long catch up on wednesday -I could hardly sleep thinking about how much I’ve missed her family’s friendship!

Clearly the market – any market – is a good place to meet long-lost friends. Hopefully email and facebook and a correct address will prevent us falling out of contact again. And thanks to these more modern methods I have managed to stay in touch a bit with Jennie, ML and Dot – and now have at last met their families. As I keep saying, I’m so happy here.

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