Re'o Maohi Week

Last week was national language or culture week, here in French Polynesia, to celebrate Matotea's primary school has an open day, with a little expo of the traditional activities that each class has been doing. Granny and grandpa got to visit the open day a couple of years back, this year it was Heimana's turn, and she is SOOOO ready to go to school. 
Every morning she waits by the truck-stop with Matotea, with her backpack on, waiting for the day when she too will be allowed to go! Here are a few pictures from the open day, Matotea's class was doing string games, cat's cradle (not sure how traditional that is, but they were all rather cute grappling with their strings!). 
The cat's cradle is called the canoe here, and they have a mosquito and taro field too....
There were also flowers made from coconut fiber, painting on coconut fiber as well as a healthy eating display, complete with taro fritters (delicious but not too low fat!).....



Viriamu has launched himself headlong into coprah production (dried coconut flesh, for coconut oil)  its one of the main exports of Tahiti's outer islands. Recently a Rurutu co-operative has been formed to  facilitate sending coprah in bulk to Tahiti's major oil producer, and everyone seems to be building coprah driers and trying their hand at it. Coprah production is subsidized by the government, as a means of keeping people on the islands, to avoid the growing issues of over-population, homelessnes and joblessness in Tahiti, so it is once more a viable product.
Viriamu needs no more encouragement, we have a huge coconut plantation here that was exploited for coprah by his grandfather. Viriamu's never happier than when out back scanning for coconuts (except maybe for when he's with his horses) or hacking the coconuts open with his axe, or scooping out the flesh. It's real man's work. The girls are often enlisted in the coconut spree (more or less grudgingly).
Yesterday he was so adamant that he wanted to get his quota shelled, that he spent all afternoon out there, and ended up working by torch-light until 11pm, now tell me is that normal?........ We happened to be up anyway, awaiting out delegation of politicians, who were out at a rally, but still.....speaking of politicians, with the upcoming elections in France there are a lot of these guys around at the moment, all promising us this and that; it's the only time we see them, but it does make for lots of very lively and very long political meetings! This morning Viriamu has the hugest blister on his thumb from coconut shelling, but I don't think he's going to be easily dissuaded.


How was that!

You can take the girl out of Wales (you can even lose her on a small tropical island), but she'll still follow the rugby.........For those out of the loop, Wales just won the Six nations with a grand slam, beating France 16-9 at the Millennium Stadium in their final match, it was a good game (why o why didn't we manage it in the world cup?). I was up at 4:30am for the match, and it was worth it! This will have to make up for me neglecting my usual St.Davids day blog on the 1st. GOOD ONE WALES!


Tahiti iti

It's already almost two weeks since we had our little holiday in Tahiti, and here are a few pictures. We were staying on rather a magnificent country estate on Tahiti iti (the small peninsula stuck to the side of Tahiti Nui) near Teahupoo. The Vanira Lodge,  has some very original self-catering bungalows hidden in a lush tropical garden. Not to mention a swimming pool, which was the main attraction for the girls!
The ceiling and roof of our bungalow was made up of a living matt of honeysuckle, grown over bamboo trellis, and the bathroom was cut into the earth at the back of the house and tiled with river rocks (outdoor living indoors, complete with the wildlife! In the evening we had huge landsnails in our shower, as well as a lot of rustling on the roof)
It's a fabulously restful spot, though unfortunately, we spent most of the time zipping to and from Papeete or the main stores to go shopping, so in retrospect Teahupoo was a bit too out of the way for us!
The girls definitely were most appreciative of a few days in the big wide world, supermarkets and all the trappings of consumer society were a big hit!


Our new recruit

In february we got a new member of the household, a very small yet very noisy little kitten, called Mina. She's incredibly darned cute, and equally heavily flea-ridden, despite repeated shampooings with various concoctions. She's quite a character, and has put our old cat's nose quite out of joint. She appears to consider herself queen of the heap, giving both Hina and the cat a good boxing every time they come near enough. She's on a serious charm-offensive with the guests and has been showered with affection; it's all we can do to stop them from having the cat sitting on the dining table and sleeping in their beds (not a good idea, given her considerable wild-life).......she's undeniably cute, even Viriamu has a bit of a soft spot for her (or as much as he can have for non-horse pets, he doesn't really believe in spoiling working animals). This morning she was a sight taking turns going down the slide with Heimana (of course I didn't have the camera handy), but she appeared to be enjoying it..... She also takes great pleasure in attacking everybody's feet, constantly, much to Heimana's consternation.


New Shoes

We're back from our quick trip Tahiti, and the grandparents are back home now, so the holidays are officially over! Heimana is coming on leaps and bounds and has really turned into a little girl, over the past few months. She's aching to go to school, she follows Matotea to the truck stop every morning with her back pack. When we got back from Tahiti, a parcel of shoes that I had ordered a few months ago had arrived, Heimana is thrilled with her new trainers and crocs, ready for the upcoming school year (august seems a long time away yet though!).......