Four hours of genoa sailing and another four hours of motoring landed us in a stunning bay at the northern end of Waya, home to the village of Nalauwaki. It was a Sunday and we were unsure if kava is drunk on Sundays, so we decided to wait until the morning to go ashore and do the required sevu sevu ceremony.
First thing Monday morning, us girls dressed in t-shirts and sarongs to cover our knees, we beached the dinghies and walked past the pig pens and over a hilly knoll to the village. The first people we came across were Tima and her young daughter. She knew right away that we had come off the yachts and led us through town to the chief’s home. The town was nicely laid out, with houses made of concrete, corrugated iron, and dried palm leaves, and all of the villagers welcomed us with big smiles and greetings: “Bula! Bula!”.
We sat in a circle in a room in the chief’s home with Tima, her husband Jone, and a few children. Once the chief entered and was seated we presented our kava and asked for permission to anchor in the bay. Will and I had bought the kava root whereas Ninita and Orkestern offered packages of ground kava. Both seemed to go over well. Although I felt a bit awkward about taking pictures, Tima and Jone assured us that it was alright.
It was decided that we would come back in the afternoon to drink the kava as there was a group from a small resort on the other side of the island coming for a ‘village experience’… Impossible to get away from the resorts. Jone proceeded to take us on a tour of the village including the church and the elementary school (the construction materials and all school supplies were donated by an Australian cruiser a few years ago). Then he led us back to his house where Tima had prepared lime leaf tea and fried pancakes for us. It was so nice to sit on a mat in their house and talk about local food, fishing, and customs. Turns out that alcohol is banned in the village, but the men drink kava every night, even Sunday.
When we came back in the afternoon, we all brought gifts for Tima and Jone – cans of food, fishing lines, spices. They reciprocated again with a big sack of freshly picked papayas from their garden. We joined everyone in the village center to drink kava and watch some dancing and singing performances. Two coconut husk cupfulls of bitter kava was enough to make our tongues go numb and two hours later we all felt very tired and lethargic so went to bed early! All in all, it was a great day and lovely experience.