A Polynesian taro saga

Taro is an important part of the lives of people here in Rurutu, you could argue that it's the foundation of our culture. Farming it definitely remains a living tradition. Viriamu's brother Meta supplies frozen taro to a supermarket in Tahiti, it earns him a modest living. I have blogged a fair bit about taro, but the subject is definitely going to be a recurring one!
We probably have the largest single expanse of taro field in French Polynesia, in our village Avera. It was being cultivated when Captain Cook quickly passed by Rurutu in 1769, and likely for a long time before that.
Last year, we were lucky enough to be featured in the Hana Hou, Hawaiian Airlines inflight magazine. Not only did we get a fabulous article in the magazine and great photos, but we also got to meet Shannon and Elyse, but now it is also bringing us a steady trickle of Hawaiian guests, interested in Rurutu and above all taro!  Turns out there are lots of kalo farmers in Hawaii, also keen to make connections with taro farmers here!

Next week we are privileged to welcome a group from Oahu, from the Ho'okua'aina project, seeking a cultural exchange and taro farming bonanza. They've chosen the perfect (if chilly) time of year, slap bang in the middle of the heiva festivities! It's going to be lots of fun!


Heimana goes to Tahiti

Just before the end of term Heimana went on a school outing to Tahiti for a primary schools choir shindig, there were 800 primary school pupils performing in Vairao, on Tahiti iti. It was quite a thing, and required special hats, dresses, even t-shirts for the event! We mothers had been ridden hard to take part in baking sales and all kinds. Heimana is maybe less adventuresome than her big sister (only maybe) but I think she enjoyed her first outing without her family, a little space to breathe away from her two sibs.


My beach

A moment of perfect stillness punctuated by the booming rumble of surf on the reef. The sun melts into the horizon, throwing rusty pink reflections at the coconut palms, shooting tendrils of vermillion, gold, neon pink and violet, that guild the sober clouds, creating a shadow-play in the sky. Framed by ironwoods, their delicate needle-like leaves softly shed, carpeting the white-sand underfoot. Solitary rocks jut from the glassy lagoon, like petulant beasts. A quiet peace reigns that never fails to uplift my spirit.


Brits are like buses!

Here in Rurutu English-speakers are few and far between, let alone Brits, but weirdly enough these last few weeks there’s been a dearth, just like London buses, you wait for ages then three show up at once! And so it was, between various film crews and a soul-searching Londoner, it was a great opportunity to speak some English, as well as to share some British humor (quite unlike French or Polynesian incidentally). I’m a big fan of self-exploration, meeting people from back home is always interesting, particularly here, it’s a reminder of where I’ve come from, but also how I’ve changed too. And I do marvel at the journey, a self-absorbed past-time I know, but I like where I am now. I’ve had helping hands along the way, I’ve always read lots and there’s a lot of wisdom out there to be gleaned from other amazing people that cross your path.

Quite by accident Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creative Living fell into my lap and it kept me amused, she’s quite an eccentric (of course who’s to call the kettle black), but her creative philosophy is spot on. As for me, I’m slowly embracing my creativity, which I’ve never fully given the space it deserves. Concerns about being frivolous and making a real contribution somewhere along the way. But here I am back where I started, after way too many years in further education, a cook and a writer, two vague dreams that I’d toyed with in high school, before putting them aside …. So, in some ways I may have come full circle, or maybe it’s more of a spiral.