A Travellerspoint blog

work and weddings

The first photo is of the Lolihor Development Council who we met with last Friday. These are the guys we will be working with to implement the ecotourism project in North Ambrym. They represent five villages and have a 2-year appointment as a member on the Council.
Lolihor De..Council.jpg

The meeting began with a prayer. After we proposed each of our ideas in Bislama, they quietly talked through the issues in their local language in what seemed to be a group decision making process. These people who live communally also seem to make their decisions communally. It looks like we will have a busy year ahead – consulting with the community, refining existing tours, developing new tours, designing marketing material, and increasing the understanding of the tourism industry. We hope to be the ones “behind the scenes” with the locals taking ownership. The meeting also finished with a prayer. We will have to start practicing how to say a prayer in Bislama as we will probably be asked to say one next time!

The second photo is of a wedding we were invited to in a small village 1-hour walk from Ranon. We followed a parade of people up a steep hill to the wedding. Men and women were carrying bundles of food, presents, musical instruments and some men were carrying bundles of cooked pig.

There were over 200 people there in an array of colourful Island dresses and shirts. Those that couldn’t fit in the church sat outside under the mango trees. The string band started to play their cheerful tunes and the bride, groom and the wedding party proceeded toward the church. For some reason, the necks of the bride and groom were covered in talcum powder.

After the ceremony concluded, everyone made their way to a shelter made out of local materials. The bride and groom sat in front of their wedding cake but without a smile on their face. Throughout the whole process, the bride and groom never smiled. They were both very gloomy faced and the bride and her mother spent much of their time weeping. It is custom for the bride’s family to be upset for her departure from her village to live with her husband’s family.

Pippa lined up with many others to give a gift, shake hands and congratulate the newly wed couple. Everybody seemed to be spraying deodorant and squeezing talcum powder on to the bride and groom (maybe a substitute for confetti?).
wedding powder.jpg
Finally bundles of food were given out to the large extended family of the bride. The extended families of the groom had prepared these bundles of bullock, pig or vegetables as part of the bridal transaction. Most marriages are still arranged and involve the transfer of more than $1000AUD and 10 pigs as the bride price.
wedding food parcels.jpg

Posted by pippamatt 16:45

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Hi Matt and Pippa,
Must be hard having to go to work in such an ideal spot. Very interesting learning about their culture. Will make you appreciate your own family, we don't live in your pocket, but we do miss you both. Love Ma

by KerryC

Hi PippaMatt,
I was just browsing the blogs and stumbled across yours... In the world of independant adventure travellers, you guys seem to have found yourself somewhere truly exotic! Beats a lot of the 'getting off the beaten track' stories that backpackers indulge in. It sounds fascinating - I'd love to know more about what you're doing in this village for the next year.
Cheers, Christy at crustyadventures.

by christym

Hi Pippa & Matt,
Great to hear about everything in Ambrym!
I've been told that the powdering is a respectful way of joking/celebrating with the couple. It happens at other important Ni-Van life events too. I think you're right in that it's like we would use confetti at a celebration.
George is in Australia at the moment, so let me know if there's anything you'd like me to send back with him and I'll see what I can arrange :)
Take care, Nett

by aruhotas

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.