Written by Tristan (age: 10)
The day after arriving in Vanuatu, we went to a welcoming celebration on Aore Island. As we walked down the wooden jetty, we noticed that the locals had made arches out of palm fonds and hibiscus flowers. We chatted to other crew members on the rally. We were asked to line up on either side of the jetty and then everyone had a local Vanuatu person in front of them, who placed a Salu Salu or a flower necklace on us and gave everyone a coconut drink.
The local people on Aore Island sang two songs to us, both about god, Jesus and us coming to Vanuatu.
We were led up to Debbie and Alan’s house, the rally organisers. Up there Alan, Sandy and Father Luke gave speeches and then called the skippers up and gave them each a tam tam (statue), a photo of their boat and a map. Finally, some ladies came and wrapped a tie-died sarong around each captain.
I played soccer with some of the pikininis (local kids) and found out that here soccer included tripping and not many rules. Ava hung out with the other local girls.
The rally members moved out to the large yard and sat in the shade. We were entertained with dancing and music. There were dancers from the Bank Islands, who performed dances using wooden weapons and occasionally pointed them at somebody, including mum. Once dancer laid down in mum’s lap, she looked a little shocked.
The female dancers from the Banks Islands also performed a dance.
The Banks Island male dancers.
Mum seemed to get a lot of attention. Her shirt was a little dirty from all their body paint.
Next, we moved down to the water edge to watch some ladies from the Bank Islands, create some water music. The ladies made different sounds by hitting the water in different ways with their hands. Their music imitated different sounds found in Vanuatu, like a waterfall.
Finally, we had some Pentecost drummers perform by drumming on hollowed out logs.
When the performances were finished a big feast was set out for us to eat. It was delicious.
We had a good time until it was time to leave. Ava didn’t want to go, so mum carried her and stepped in a hole on the way downhill and fell. By the time we got back to the boat, mum’s foot was turning black and she could barely walk. Not a good end to the day.