Coco loco cat

Our little kitten is definitely getting into her troubled adolescence, she mysteriously disappeared for almost four days straight, causing Matotea to morbidly lament her disappearance - not sure where she went, but she nonchalantly showed up, looking a little skinnier, but none the worse for wear. She's also really into climbing at the moment, on sunday she put on quite a show, suddenly shimmying up our nearby coconuts, then gingerly climbing down the palm leafs, before sliding and and tumbling the few remaining feet to the ground, and then starting again! It kept the girls shrieking with delight for a good half hour!


Rain, rain, rain rain!

Beautiful rain!

Today the skies are grey and humidity is 100%! It's cold and damp, but I don't mind. I indulged myself and the guests this lunch time, by preparing a good stout Taro chowder (based on a corn chowder recipe, with a few shrimp and taro chunks added for good measure). I love preparing Taro chowder when the weather is gloomy, it's SOOO thick and delicious, it really does warm the cockles of your heart, or was it just that I was a bit heavy handed with the white wine! Another reason why I'm not feeling down because of the rain, is because of my new gardening projects! I'm getting a bit of green-thumb fever here, and am trying to plant anything I can lay my hands. Of course sometimes it works, sometimes not, but it's fun to try and there are so many exciting plants that could grow here, if you could just get hold of the seeds/cuttings. I have some kiwi fruit seeds, longan (a bit like a lychee only different) and cape goosberry seeds planted up and have my fingers firmly crossed. I've been battling to get a bit of a veggie patch going outside our back door, and it's coming along, the basil, strawberries, green beans and tomatoes are all in, now it's a matter of defending the seedlings from the dogs/pigs/birds or whatever it is that goes rooting through my beds when I'm not looking.......I'll wait a few weeks, but hopefully I'll have something to show you......

Comenius Cultural Exchange

 Matotea's school is involved in an EU funded cultural exchange program. It's a funny little advantage of being part of a French territory. At the moment we've only had opportunities for the staff to travel between schools. Monsieur Vaitea spent a week in Norway (now that's going to be a cultural shock!) and other staff have been to the UK and Spain. Likewise, we had a delegation of teachers from Europe visiting last month. The program is an opportunity for both children and educational staff to travel between countries including Croatia, France (read Rurutu), Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK. According to their blurb the program promotes linguistic and inter-cultural understanding, encouraging our children to become active European citizens, responding to global issues! I am a fan of any kind of program that encourages our children to become more conscious of the world outside, my big fear for my girls is that they grow up in a Polynesia bubble (lotus-eating), without understanding how life is so very different elsewhere in the world (not better or worse, just fundamentally different). Here in Polynesia we all seem to be expert navel-gazers, it's true we're very geographically isolated, and live a life that is quite detached from mainland Europe, but still there's a whole wide world out there. Sadly, few people here are aware of or interested in international news affairs. The French presidential elections were played out on local tribal alliances (who supports the mayor or not), really not anything to do with the merits of the presidential candidate to govern France. Anyway, last week the school held a "European Fete", I went along out of curiosity, the children were all dressed up in 'pareo' and flower leis, even though each class had been learning about other countries. It seemed mostly to be a rather uninspired show of folk dancing to German and English rock music, with  everyone cheering at the end when the group representing Rurutu came on! Matotea's class did a great job of repeatedly pointing at their nose and ears, along to a German nursery rhyme. The class that were "Happy and they Knew it" were a little less convincing!


Roller chick

What was I thinking, when I ordered these. Someone seems to like them.....though I suspect it's just a matter of time before we end up at the medical center!


Yay For LaRedoute!

Our new shoes, just arrived from La Redoute, thank goodness for mail order sandals to brighten up our days!


Sustainable Rurutu!

It's been a busy old few weeks, full of all kinds of different sorts of activities, I'm going to aim for a few little blogs to catch you up with it, though there never seems to be quite enough time for it all. My interests seem to be revolving around politics (the final round of the french presedentials are looming) and sustainable development at the moment. I'm getting more and more passionate about sustainable living - it seems clear to me that it's the only way ahead for us, globally and more obviously here on our tiny little island, where it's partly by necessity! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to give a short presentation about sustainable development at our local MFR (Maison Familial Rurual). The MFR is an educational establishment which allows students to gain practical experience, particularly in agriculture, whilst taking some regular classes at the high-school level. Here in Rurutu they are just a handful of students who didn't or couldn't go to school in Tahiti. It was an interesting experience to meet Rurutu youth, and in particular to test their knowledge about global trends. People here, generally, have lived extremely sheltered lives and know little about the world outside. Simply talking numbers of people in the world is a pretty big eye-opener for many of them. The idea that there are cities like Delhi or Tokyo with populations well over a 100 times that of the entire population of French Polynesia, is hard for them to imagine. I also came up with some figures that were pretty hard for me to imagine, but sadly, I suspect they are all too true.
Based on data in the CIA world factbook, every individual in French Polynesia consumes almost 11 barrels of crude oil per year, almost the same figure as an average metropolitan frenchman, but by comparison we consume less than a third of the quantity of electricity per capita. While it's not too surprising that we consume so much less electricity, what is depressing is our oil guzzling habits (albeit half that of the average American). It clearly underlines our utter dependence on fossil fuels, for transport and electricity - why don't we use more solar or wind-power? This is a mystery to me, you'd have thought it'd be a no-brainer. What's even more upsetting is that there is huge biodiesel potential in coconut-oil.
If you can have a soybean bus, where are our coconut powered cars? Sadly you need political will for these things to happen, and it seems clear that it's not there at the moment.........here's hoping the french elections next week will bring us a change of ideas and a change of air (OK I'm not too otimistic)! But I do have faith in our local community, our green bins are just the start, over the months and years that come we're going to be working towards a more sustainable Rurutu, watch this space.......


May Day mayhem!

On May Day, for lack of a maypole to dance around, or a socialist flag to wave, we girls ventured out for a quick swim on my favourite beach. No mermaids this time, but lots of big waves and a lot of fun!
 Then to top it all off, chef Mato helped me bake some coconut jam biscuits.....and we all helped eat them. Long-live bank holidays - in fact, there are 5 official holidays here in May, plus a half-term break, whew, I'll need to keep on my toes with projects for girls over the next few weeks!