It all started after a kava session.
Willie, the guide who took us up Mt. Marum came on board and told us that he had his sister living in Pentecost and that we should go and visit her.
When we asked him where she lived, he put a cross on our chart, that showed no village or anchorage on it.
The spot on the chart did not really seem like a nice anchorage, we actually couldn’t see if there was a village at all, but we sailed there, hoping that the kava of that night did not affect Willie. The only thing we knew is that we would try to find Janet on that spot of the chart.
We had met with Nirvana the day before in the South of Pentecost and sailed together to the unknown spot on the chart.
We approached the shoreline, it was a rolly anchorage but you could see a small village. We decided to anchor, at least to try to go ashore and see if Janet lived there.
To our big surprise, the whole village knew about us and were waiting for us. Roy, one of the chiefs welcomed us and told us that Janet had been waiting for us.
Roy lead us to Janet’s house were she greeted us with some coconuts, pawpaw and manioc chips, all very nicely presented with flowers. It is the warmest welcome we could have dreamed of.
What followed was 2 days of amazing village life. Hot Wata never had a boat anchored in their bay, so we were welcomed as never before.
Hot Wata was hosting a youth meeting and were waiting for the people of neighbouring villages to come. The next night they were going to have singing, dancing and different performances and the village prepared the food for everybody.
First we were walked into the nakamal (community house, used at night for kava drinking) where we saw a table full of people, each one knife in hand, cutting meat.
They had just slaughtered a cow for the feast and were chopping it up to make a stew.
At night, the man we were invited to drink kava in the nakamal. It was still full of kids and woman while they were pounding it but as soon as the first cups were ready, chief George called everybody to leave the house and silence came into the nakamal. After a short welcome speech we all got to drink.
Mak, the village eldest told us a few amazing stories. He was 7 years old when Mt. Marum erupted in 1913, bringing Pentecost into a 3 day darkness. He lived in Port Vila when WWII started in the Pacific and told us about the US Troops taking over the country.
Georges, his son shared his stories of being the first teacher in Fanla, Ambrym in 1973 and how chief Tofor , the highest kastom chief, (who we had gotten to meet on our first visit in the year 2000) had tried to kill him once with a gun, being afraid of what school education could do to their kastom and traditional way of life.
All in all it was great opportunity to share day to day life in a village that had never gotten a boat stop at the bay (the rolling might be a reason). We got invited to spend the nagol (land diving ritual) next May with them. With lots of emotions we hove anchor to sail to Luganville in Espiritu Santo.