By Lloyd Maepeza Gina
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Extra resources for Journeys In A Small Canoe: The Life And Times Of a Solomon Islander
Some of these canoes had big sails, out of proportion to the canoe’s size. They ran very fast and were subject to capsizing if not skilfully handled. Anyway, off we went, sailing to Simbo on a very windy day. We arrived safely at Masuru, which was then the mission headquarters there. Later that man told my father how I felt confident in him throughout the rough journey, enjoying the rushing of water away out at the rear of the canoe. We were about an hour faster than they were on the Clera. It was a very hazardous form of travel, needing very skilful people to do it.
It became a very convenient method of keeping their blood ties alive and well. Whenever the birth parents visited one of their children who had been adopted out to a far distant island, on their arrival there, they would feel at home. One of my sisters was adopted to Simbo and one younger brother to Kolombangara by our very close relatives. My mother was not happy, but she could not do anything about it, as this was a customary practice. She had to leave my sister when she was two, but the boy who went to Kolombangara was only one year old when they took him away.
People nowadays refer to it as our ‘defender — devil’ or in short just ‘devil’, our immediate security to our land, and so to our food gardens. This eel fish kokolo comes through my mother. It has become so much feared as food, we reserve it as something tabu for us. If I were to eat it then get a cut it would go watery on top and would not heal. If anyone outside our tribe gets a cut or wound the manner of cure for us is to spit on the wound it causes. Anyone from outside us it won’t cure! That is the way we heal people, which also comes from the eel.
Journeys In A Small Canoe: The Life And Times Of a Solomon Islander by Lloyd Maepeza Gina