It is getting harder to wake the kids. Mahalia especially.
Azzan and I headed to breakfast at 8am leaving her to wake gently in her own time.
It is better for all concerned if she has her own space for a while 😉
The breakfasts here are nothing spectacular, the slices of fruit are very minimal which is a shame considering the amount of fresh fruit available.
We fill up on toast instead.
Esso arrived after 9am with his older brother John to take us on our adventure which today was the Lenuingao Waterfall Walk.
He had been delayed as he had a meeting with the Tourism Manager about yesterday’s debacle with the Evergreen manager.
We hopped on board and headed to his farm.
It takes around 50-60 minutes depending on how many times we stop etc.
There are always fruit stalls to buy mangoes at, shops to pick up fresh bread, people to talk too or pick up.
Today it was fresh bread!
When we got to the top of the hill there was a large group of men, lots of trucks and police, all blocking the road.
Esso stopped and called back to Azzan, telling him that this time he should be quiet as we drove through the crowd.
It was a big meeting of chiefs and land office as they are discussing tribal land boundaries.
The current tribal chiefs are getting old and dying so the younger men want the boundaries legally clarified for future generations.
Further along we passed a wee girl waking and crying.
My heart strings were really pulled.
Esso stopped and talked with her and got her to climb in with us.
Apparently a boy had hit her at school and she was walking home.
He stopped at the school, called all the kids over to his truck and found the culprit.
He spoke severely to him and made him say he would, never hit a girl again and to say sorry.
Nothing like public humiliation to chastise a bulky!
We left the wee girl there and carried on.
Esso was chuckling as he told me that he often will go there to the school and sort out problems like this.
The school was begun by his grandfather.
Back in the day when the John Frum cult took hold here, one of the things they believed was they should not send their kids to school.
However his grandfather thought this was not at all progressive and worked alongside another man to begin this school just for his three sons.
It was grown now to around 200 children and 6 teachers.
We passed Daniel with his cute wee 2yr old son Samuel on his shoulders.
I loved the picture of his boy on his shoulders, his cell phone in one hand and his machete in the other.
Just made such an incongruous picture 🙂
Daniel was our guide today so once we had greeted Rachel, changed into our swimming/walking gear and applied yet another lot of sunscreen we were ready to go.
Esso drove us to the beginning of the walk.
We walked for such a long time.
Through bush, jungle, past a new village on top of the hill with views towards Aniwa where they import their mandarins from, past large banyan trees, the kids and Daniel always way in front of me.
I had trouble keeping up for several reasons.
I wanted to take photos plus I just couldn’t walk as fast as them without falling flat on my face.
There were tree roots, vines, cut off tree sticks, bright blue lizards darting across my track – so much to watch and look out for!
Every time they would stop and wait for me, I would catch up and they would begin walking again so I never got to rest.
It was a very beautiful walk but so much longer than I had anticipated.
Walked by a new village.
Showing us the stinging plant to watch out for.
I asked what this red was called – yellow tree was the reply.
Very large inedible bean pod from the largest vine in the jungle.
One of the beans inside of it, often used to make music instruments.
And what is this tree called? Bush tree was the reply.
Well, they aren’t half obvious names around here are they??
A rather large banyan tree.
We stopped to get coconut for morning tea.
Azzan tried to climb the tree, Daniel said he could climb it when he was much younger and smaller, but now he cuts heavy sticks and throws them to hit the coconut and bring it down.
It took several throws but finally he had two for us to enjoy.
He cut open a hole in the top – couldn’t get a drink much fresher than this!!
He also cut us some of the flesh to eat, but reckoned it was too old and we should try some from a tree nearer the coast.
I was like, careful when Daniel was about to cut open the coconut.
With a big grin he informed me he has been using the machete since he was three 🙂
We continued walking towards the waterfall.
As we got closer the track descended almost vertically.
I was terrified I was going to fall.
He cut me a walking stick which helped a lot, but it was still pretty scary and I came down very very slowly.
At times I was almost in tears, but I dug deep and grabbed my stoic bone and finally made it down.
It was a lovely place.
The rock formation at the top of the waterfall was beautiful.
We climbed down to the bottom of the falls, it is very dry here so the falls are not big right now, but it was still a pretty sight.
Not enough water to make the kids want to swim though so we continued walking to the coast.
Grave of an early missionary – 1926.
The east coast is very remote and not on the usual tourism trail so we feel incredibly privileged to be able to visit here.
The beach we arrived down at was soft black sand bordered by flat rough rocks with waves crashing unwelcomingly against and over, with occasional small coves were you can swim safely.
Daniel let the kids go into the surf with the boundary of two sticks in the sand to remain between.
They had a wonderful time playing in the surf.
I waded in up to my thighs and allowed the waves to splash the weariness out of my legs.
Cell phone cover even over here!
Esso walked to us from further south.
He went out to ‘rescue’ Azzan 🙂
He and Azzan have a great connection, he really enjoyed Azzan’s humour and singing.
We walked along the beach to where our picnic lunch was and we gratefully sat and munched on Rachel’s excellent fresh bread with lettuce, tomato & egg sandwiches.
Rachel & Abraham were down by the lagoon.
After lunch we all played in the lagoon, Esso began making a dam with Abraham and the others all joined in.
My two went off swimming.
Daniel set up boundary sticks again to keep the, in the safe areas.
There are no rocks right along this stretch.
This is the longest black beach on the island.
Such a wonderful place and an honour to be allowed to share it with the local people.
A ground of four guys wandered along passed us with two guitars over their shoulders.
I joked with Esso that it couldn’t get much better than this, having our own traveling minstrels 🙂
I went along and sat in the sand for a while and watched my two swimming with the volcano billowing clouds behind them.
Such a glorious scene.
Abraham came along and entertained me.
He planted himself down right between my legs and proceeded to draw in the sand.
Such a cute wee man.
We eventually walked back, how could I resist this we face and hand reaching out for an ‘up’?
I was amused to watch the men continue in with the sand building even after the kids all lost interest.
They finished building the dam and then dug a canal out to the sea.
They were like big kids in their enjoyment of the simple things in life.
We could learn much here.
It was getting colder and the afternoon was disappearing but we still couldn’t get the kids out of the water.
They came back to the lagoon and Esso thought they were ready to leave, but Azzan said ‘No, I’m just having a rest’!
And back into the sea they went.
We packed up and got ready to begin walking.
Abraham didn’t want to leave yet either in spite of his shivering from the cold.
Esso dressed him and cuddled him up while we waited for my two.
We finally had to call them out!!
They had such a fantastic time.
We trudged back up to the truck.
Not too far to go, just 300-400m up hill, an easier track thankfully.
We sat around and rested for a while, nothing happens here in much of a hurry.
Esso showed me some Soursop growing on the trees.
We dropped Rachel at the Nimas, then left Abraham up at the village with his relations.
I met and chatted with Camille and baby Tania
All along the way we dropped off and picked up people and bags etc.
The sun was setting as we came down the hill from the central highlands, so beautiful even whe it is cloudy.
At the bottom of the hill Esso turned right and said he had a surprise for the kids.
He took us to a water hole where all the wild horses come to drink at dusk.
It was a beautiful sight.
Over 30 horses.
The water hole is drying up which is making it hard for them.
The missionaries brought horses here for their transportation.
Most of the young men of the central highlands ride now, they catch a horse they like and tether it.
If they don’t use strong enough rope then the horse escapes and they have to recapture!
Stopped at a shop for a mo.
These two young fellas were mixing concrete!
We fell out of the truck at Tanna Lodge after arranging a later pick up for tomorrow’s adventures.
I need to allow the kids a bit of a sleep in as they are getting really tired.
We found our room had not been serviced so I went to get so e clean towels and discovered that due to a tribal ceremony none of their staff had turned up for work so they were very short staffed today.
Only the arrival rooms had been cleaned.
Apparently it is a great frustration to the owner!
We met a Kiwi couple from Nelson at dinner!!
Such a small world 🙂
We talked a while, shared experiences and they and Mahalia went off to their cabins.
Azzan and I chilled out on our iPads for a while.
At night in the foyer when everyone has gone off to bed it is so peaceful.
Only the sound of the waves and the call of the geckos up in the rafters.