Saturday, October 22
Market this morning felt like such a gift! Our neighbors were so generous with the produce from their gardens: slippery cabbage, pumpkin, green and dry coconuts, bush apples, pineapples, papayas, grape tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, cutnuts, ngali nuts, and the cutest little bell peppers. They've been asking me to make banana cake to bring to the big soccer tournament today, but no bananas have shown up at market since we got here. You can only bring food that is ripe!
After market, Benjamin, Olivia, Katherine and I walked to our bush garden to harvest uvikola for lelenga. We met Sylvester and her two youngest girls in her garden which borders mine. Our last heap of uvikola produced an abundance of deep fruit intertwined with each other, so Sylvester came over to help me get it out. Our uvikola are yellow, so Sylvester shared some of her white uvikola that was especially nice for boiling. Benjamin found a huge hermit crab (kokovan), big enough that it's claw could have made his finger really hurt. The crab even made it part of the way home. We ended up with more uvikola that I had anticipated, so my bag was HEAVY. I think my neck will be sore tomorrow from carrying the bag back to the house.
While we were in Honiara, Naris and Dawa did a great job of taking care of our yard and house. Our big munu shade tree was dropping dead leaves and flowers on top of our rain tank, so Dawa chopped off half the branches. Aaron finished the job today (with a little help from the kids). I spread the word to my friends that we would have lots of leaves for motuing lelenga, and several ladies came by for leaves.
Naomi and I prepared the fire for the lelenga. The whole family always works together to prepare our lelenga since it takes lots of work: scraping the coconuts, peeling the uvikola, scraping the uvikola, squeezing the juice out of the coconuts, boiling the juice, building the fire, heating the banana leaves, assembling the pudding, removing the hot stones, placing the pudding in its preheated place, replacing the stones, covering the pudding with munu leaves, and finally covering the whole thing with old copra sacks to seal in the heat. When I looked up on the shelf for my copra sacks, I could only see two of the three I expected. I started to grab one of the sacks to shake it out in case two were folded together, but I stopped short of grabbing the snake that camouflaged itself beautifully in the sack. Glad I looked before I grabbed the sack.