Monday, March 26, 2007

A breadfruit tree in Vunivutu village



from w
There's a story to go with these paintings I made yesterday to illustrate an anecdote Peceli told while we were drinking kava a couple of nights ago.

As the twilight changes into night the roosters and hens settle into their resting places on the breadfruit tree. The village quietens down apart from a small group of men drinking kava. There are two visitors in the village, an Australian older couple of Russian descent, the in-laws of one of the men who married a vavalagi girl from Sydney and they live there. Pita was proud to take his in-laws to see Fiji, and especially to experience life in the village. They are taken to the chief’s house and given the best bed in the village out of respect for visitors.

But the birds don’t know that. All is well for several hours until one of the hens falls from her perch on a branch to land on top of another hen. They start squawking and cackling. One rooster, Toatagane, opens an eye and notices a light. Oh, it’s morning already? He doesn’t know it’s just a kerosene lantern with the kava drinkers still going. He decides to clear his throat to start his morning song. It’s about 3 am. The second rooster wakes up, joins in, then the third. There is a cacophony of sound now.

Did I tell you where the breadfruit tree is situated? Well, it’s just outside the window of the chief’s bure, right near the big double-bed. The Russian-Australian visitors jump up, wondering what’s going on, look out the window and see all the birds wide awake and singing their songs joyfully. The man gets out his torch and looks at his watch. Only 3 am!

In the morning a breakfast of pancakes and tea and coconut cake is spread out on a nice tablecloth on the pandanus mats for the two special visitors, who rub their eyes sleepily. The man says to his son-in-law, ‘I’ll give you two hundred dollars if you’ll do something for me.’ Pita doesn’t know what he’s talking about. ‘If you can catch all those noisy chooks and kill them, the money is yours!’

This is a slightly embellished but true story from Vunivutu village, Macuata, Fiji. Peceli told us this story as we drank kava a couple of nights ago. Vunivutu is where the last series of ‘Survivor’ was filmed.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice paintings! You should have some of them sent to the Fiji Museum. There is a section there for Contemporary Art.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks for the compliment. If I lived in Suva I'd do something more about my pictures. But I reckon the Oceania Centre at USP is doing a great job. I want to see the work of the Islanders and Indian artists in Fiji and they are emerging and producing fantastic stuff.
w.

Anonymous said...

Very funny story and reminds me of those days spent in the village. And to think that the men of the house would have just come in to enjoy a few hours sleep when the hens start crowing. LOL!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

We had a pet rooster at Vatuadova when the children were little. We called him Toatagane. I'll put something about him on a new post.
w.

Pandabonium said...

Ah! I should have read this before commenting on your Toatagane post!
Where's my breadfruit and chicken recipe? ;)

Allen Lockington said...

Hello Wendy and Peceli
This is Allen Lockington (Fiji) Hope you still remember.
Two photos from your blog about Rev. Davis were used in a TV news segment dedicated to the Rev. Your blog is getting recognition.

Allen

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Allen,
Yes, you are the guy who writes good letters to the editors of the Fiji papers!
Oh dear, they cited babasiga for the pics, though I got them from matavuvale and I did write that on the blog. Well, that explains the traffic on this site for the past day! Lots from Fiji!
When are you going to start your own website Allen?
W.

Allen Lockington said...

Hi Peceli and Wendy ... I've been trying out my blogging skills on http://www.connect.com.fj

It's always fun when you get responses from people who disagree with you... sometimes it hurts and sometimes it makes me smile... but I've learned to live with it andreapect other peopls opinions.

Take care and hapy Blogging

Allen

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

We remember Pita from Vunivutu this week after his passing a couple of days ago. A unique man with his own way of doing things and we spent some great times together. Our loloma to Luse and all the extended family as they meet for the funeral next week in Vunivutu.
Wendy and Peceli
Thursday 5 November 2009