Monday, April 30, 2007

A sad occassion

Aunty Gwen and I
Aunty Gwen and Gillian Cholai
The coffin after it was placed on the boat
in preparation for the long journey to the
Fergusson Islands.
Mack and Lyn preparing to board the boat
at Sanderson Bay.
Kaure and Mummy Lyn Kaure and small Uncle Mack Our first photo together- Jarrotte,Kaure,
Lynette,Me and Mack

Last Thursday afternoon, I met my Aunty Gwen (my dad's sister) for the first time in a long while. It was under sad circumstances that we had to meet again.She was bringing her husband's body home to be buried in Fergusson. David Tauaule was her husband of twenty-something years, he worked closely with the Prime Minister and was known by many. I never really knew him that well and while I have much to learn of my Aunt, I was still touched by her loss.

My parents spilt up when I was 3 yrs old and my mum raised me on her own. I had little contact with my father (and his family) and I grew up always thinking of myself as an only child. In actual fact my father remarried and had 4 children (plus one adopted son so 5 kids in total). I never met those children until I arrived here in Alotau 2 yrs ago. I'm still getting used to the idea that I have siblings.

When you grow up an only child, all you long for is to have brothers and sisters like everyone else. To wait this long to finally meet my very own brother and sisters has been amazing and weird at the same time. Lyn is the eldest after me,then Zone,Jarrotte and Mack who are both at Cameron High and a younger brother who was adopted-whose name I've forgotten. I had a rare photo opportunity with Aunty Gwen,Lyn,Jarrotte and Mack while we waited for the coffin to be placed in the boat.

The only person on my Dad's side whom I have had any type of contact with, is my Aunty Gwen (and Lyn). Aunty Gwen's an awesome woman. One thing about Milne Bay people is that we love to laugh and smile and Dobuans especially have a wicked sense of humour. Aunty Gwen is no exception, she always cracks me up with her stories. In case you haven't picked it up by now, my father's from Dobu Island,he's Rex Leleibuna. So that makes me part Dobu and Sariba. Lyn's mum is also from the Fergusson Islands.
Here are some pics from that night.

Memorable Moments with Kaure Muala

Kaure & Buta Lani
"I want my doo doo"
Waaaaahhh!!!I lub yu mummy!
Posing on the mat at home
"Mummy,I'm tired, I want to sleep"

I've never attended an Anzac Day dawn service but last Thursday, I decided to go with Kaure and some friends from EMB. After waking up at 4.45am and having a lightening fast shower that even Superman would've been proud of then bundling a very sleepy Kaure into the bus, we arrived at The Memorial site, only to find out they were still setting up. Although late, it was a lovely ceremony. Things were going along just fine until the Catholic priest said a prayer and asked everyone for 2 minutes silence afterwards. We were barely into the first minute of silence when Kaure Muala decided to sneeze.......and fart at the same time, loudly of course! this prompted the school kids behind us to burst out laughing.(sigh) Yes, very embarrassing.

Here's a conversation between Michelle Benua and Kaure.
Michelle: Wow! Kaure, I like you shirt and trousers, new ones ah?
Kaure: Yes, my mummy bought dem.
Michelle: Ok, and are you wearing any underpants?
Kaure: (very confidently) No, I'm wearing bolo bolos!

If I get cross and smack Kaure for being naughty he'll bawl his eyes out, come up to me and with big tears rolling down his face and kus flowing out of his nostrils cry out " I lub yu mummy" "I lub yu" then he'll start planting kisses on my arms and face. (sigh) It's hard to stay angry when he's like that.
Kaure has a very inquisitive nature so when he's in the toilet, I always have to keep an ear out for him because he likes to go through all my things on the shelves(while still sitting on the dunny!). Our conversation usually goes like this-

Me: Kaure, you ok?
Kaure: (immediately) Yes mummy!I'm not doing anything,I'm just pee peeing!(sounds of rustling)
Me: Are you sure?
Kaure: Yes mummy,I'm not doing anything,don't come in,don't come in yet!
This is usually my cue to go in!
Every week Kaure's going through some new phase. Last week each time he came with me to drop off the staff in the bus, he had to bring his little plastic stool along with him (despite it filling up half the space in the front seat!)
We always have fights over his blue gum boots! Rain or shine, he has to wear them. Even if it's stinking hot and he's sweating like a pig, he has to keep his beloved blue gum boots on. As a result, I'm constantly hiding the boots and he always ends up finding them!
Kaure loves to share everything with his friends! The last time I bought a nice packet of biscuits that I was hoping to last a whole week, he took the whole packet from the fridge and went to all his pals and yelled out " Who wants biscuit? Of course they all yelled out "Me!!". I was left with
the crumbs.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Afternoon Tea and Ice Cream

Biscuits,Chiffon cake and chocolate & ginger
and citrus ice cream...the perfect Sunday
Afternoon! Bubui Zen,Jeannie,James & Elaine at the Win Haus overlooking the valley
The "Sexy Pink" heliconia,one of
the beautiful tropical flowers in
Bubuis' garden
All dressed up for Afternoon Tea
Bubui Morris showing Jean & Halene
the fish pond
Kaure Muala with his Wahas
(Great Grandparents)
Morris & Zen Alaluku

Recently we had a French chef here teaching our kitchen girls how to make a few different dishes. Apart from the hotels,there really isn't much in the way of restaurants here in Alotau so of course the minute an experienced chef (esp. a French one!) arrives on our shores everyone (hotels that is) wants to pounce on him, including Elaine! (until she realised he was lapun,married and had a child and wasn't the hot 30-something guy I'd made him out to be....I know I'm a bitch but you had to see her face when I finally introduced them-Kilim paia blong em stret!). There's a new swish place just out of town (near gravel pit) called Driftwood, that's where you'll find Jean-Pierre if you're ever in town. I'm told he's a great cook!
Anyway, Jean-Pierre taught us how to make ice-cream and because I'd been raving on about how delicious it was, Bubu Zen wanted to sample some so, we arranged to have afternoon Tea at their place last Sunday.
Bubu Morris & Zen Alaluku have a lovely home in Goilanai overlooking the bay. They spend a lot of time in their garden and it always looks so lush and green! We decided to make an occassion of it so we all (Jeannie,Elaine,Kaure,James & I) dressed up in our Sunday best.Meaning we all wore skirts,well I wore a dress for a change!Excluding Kaure & James of course.James is an Aussie volunteer,working as a carpenter here.
He's a real clown and a crazy driver!
I ended up making two flavours-chocolate and ginger ice cream and orange & lemon. Bubu made a scrumptious chiffon cake topped with chocolate icing and sliced almonds and Jeanni bought biscuits. The ice cream hadn't totally set, but it still tasted gorgeous with the cake (if I may say so myself). Everyone enjoyed it! I was giving tips on how to make the ice cream, being the seasoned chef that I was (yeah right).It was actually the second time I tried the recipe. The first time was at Lani's B/day party. I made Lani's very own marshmellow & banana ice cream, apparently it was so sweet Jeannie said they had to drink a glass of water after each mouthful!
It was a very pleasant afternoon,I always enjoy catching up with Bubus. We ended the arvo chatting about Belly Dancing and before you knew it, we were sucking in our guts and practising the moves. This was no easy feat after having consumed several slices of Bubu's cake!
Elaine took the lead since she's had more experience than us! Bubu Zen had a cd of Belly dancing music and was so enthusiastic we even organised to meet on Saturday's for Belly Dancing lessons. Crikey! The things I get myself into!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The morning after!

Rosita, Kaure & Javier. Maus o?
He may look nothing like me, but that is definitely a Max expression!
Is that the guiltiest look you've ever seen or what?
Kaure and his pals rehearsing for the "Chorus Line".

Yes,Hales, I'm sorry but finally after 6 years......they broke.
But it was all worth it girl!
And Thank Lord it happened just as we were leaving The Jetty!
So how's my hair ?Elaine,the next morning.

I had to save the best for last. Yes, it was that bad.
At least after a few mouthfuls of spicy chilli & egg noodles,
I could actually open my eyes!

Following Lani's Birthday party that Saturday afternoon, the adults decided to attend a party
of their own,this time at "The Jetty". In Alotau the two "hottest" clubs to check out on a Saturday night are Alotau Int'l Hotel's "Jetty" which is literally on a jetty overlooking the bay and the other is the Cameron Club.Ok so when I say clubs, I don't mean like Lamana Hotel's "Gold Club", hey it's Alotau...... actually, by the time you've had your fourth glass of rum n' coke, believe it or not it actually does start looking a lot like The Gold Club!

Since we were invited to the launching of The Miss Milne Bay Quest, we chose The Jetty. It was a cocktail affair so surprisingly most people (especially the ladies) were dressed up to the nines!This is a rare sight in Alotau so t'was a pleasant surprise I must say.It was all about stilletos, bare skin and some rather daring thigh high splits for some. As I said, this is not a common sight in Alotau not to mention The Jetty, where t-shirts, jeans and thongs/slippers can often be the norm!We, as in Jeannie, Pauline,Elaine and I ruled the dance floor and had such a ball. Elaine being the new girl in town caused quite a stir with her errm....pole dancing moves!

In the end despite the aching feet, broken shoes, heat,crappy (& expensive) rum, fight in the car park umm what else...we had an awesome night!Here are some piccies of the morning after.....a far contrast to the night before I can assure you!While we relaxed and lazed on my verandah, Kaure and his pals kept us well entertained.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Buta Lani's 3rd Betdei Pati!

Buta Lani and Uncle Geoff wid his big red tongue.
Uncle Geoff likes chewing sada (betel nut).

Bubu Cathy and Aunty Jin Jin after da pati.

All da Misima Aunties who helped cook all da food.

Aunty Elaine,Aunty Jin Jin,Aunty Aila & Aunty Sio
and da chiken!
Uncles made Sago Mona in da claypot. My fevrit!!

All da yummy food.Aunty Aila makes da best pizza!

Buta Zuriel sang da loudest out of all da boys

Aunty Jin Jin and da boys chasing all da flies off da yummy food!

Uncle Geoff,Baby Ailalana and Buta Lani

Buta Lani

Hello! It's me Kaure. Last week Saturday my buta (brother) Lani had his betdei party at Top Town. Lani he's my best friend, but sometimes we used to fight. Lani's mummy is Aunty Jin Jin and his Daddy is Uncle Geoff. Zuriel is Lani's big brada and dey have one small sister-baby Ailalana.

I went wid my mummy to deya house and we had a big party wid lots of ada chilren an I played wid my friends and ate plenty of betdei cake and food. Aunty Jin Jin and all da ada Misima Aunties and Uncles cooked plenty food. Da food was really yummy. I ate and ate and my stomach got really full up det my belly button nearly fell out!

All of us played games, sang songs,ate and had lots and lots of fun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Excitement

Belated Easter Greetings! Ours was a fairly quiet week-end although we did have some excitement on Saturday morning and Sunday evening.

As all the shops were closed on Good Friday, you can imagine the chaos in town the next morning when the entire population of Milne Bay converged on the main street of Alotau town swarming like ants to sugar as they raced into Papindo,Cheongs and Alotau Supermarket to grab all they could before closing time at 12pm. I cannot stand shopping on Saturdays but as we had guests,( Monday was also a public holiday) and we needed to top up on our supplies, I had little choice but to face the crowd.

Earlier that morning we had actually arranged with our friend Jeannie Callister to take a drive down to East Cape (the most south eastern tip of PNG) to buy some fresh fish at the market,something we hadn't done in a while. After waiting in the queue at the ATM,then the shops, then trying to avoid every pedestrian on the street while driving at a snails pace, we finally met up with the Callisters in typical Milne Bay timing at 12.3opm.The initial plan was to meet at 9.30am!

Anyway, we eventually loaded the troops into their toyota hilux and set off for the 45 minute drive to East Cape(the troops being 5 kids and 8 adults). Five minutes into the drive and the rain came thundering down, yes when it rains in Alotau it pours!!The guys in the back tray were saturated!We almost turned back a few times but Jeannie kept assuring us the weather would clear up further on. Sure enough it did, but things got a bit tricky or should I say sticky when we left the comfort of the sealed road and hit the dirt road. Thank God we were in a 4wd and the tyres were brand new! Several times we almost slid off the road, it was that muddy!Amidst Jeannie's escalating squeals of "Geoffrey,Geoffrey,Geoffrey!!", (Geoff's her hubby),Geoff's sheer determination behind the wheel, Elaine and I holding our breath and sending silent prayers at the back.......we eventually made it! (phew!)

It was still drizzling when we arrived at the market and despite the rain, the fishermen continued to arrive along the beach front with their canoes filled with the morning's catch. After checking all the canoes I ended up getting four large coral trout for K1.00 each,Jeannie bought a huge mackeral for K30.00 and Elaine (one of my colleagues at EMB) also bought a few. It was a very pleasant afternoon had by all as we sipped hot coffee, chewed chunks of smoked makeral,chased our kids and munched on clams in coconut cream.

The drive back was just as adventurous, we made it over the muddy hills only to be greeted by more rain.This time all the rivers were flooded so there were a few scary moments when we were certain the vehicle would be swept away. I actually had visions of us floating out to sea somewhere between Misima and Rossel Island but.... we made it back finally, exhausted and content that our mission was accomplished.....we came back with fish. (Sorry no piccies this time)

Sunday night Jobby Paiva,Elaine and I were busy working on one of our projects-a series of community radio drama programs. Actually Jobby was editing and showing us the ropes, we were observing. We finished about 11.30pm, went home and crashed only to be roused at @ 2am by the phone ringing. It was Elaine calling on her mobile. She was frantic, telling me to call the police because her next door neighbour-Pat was screaming at the top of her lungs for someone to help her! Not much more info was given but I called the cops-no answer, called Masurina Hotel (to get in touch with their security supervisor)-no answer,called Elaine's house number (to wake up her flatmate Guy who lives upstairs)-still no answer!By the time I called Elaine back on her mobile, she told me some of the other neighbours had come by and scared off the intruders! Talk about excitement!Poor Pat! She told us later that four men had cut her fence and were attempting to barge into her room downstairs. While they were pushing on one side of the door, she was pushing on the other side! No wonder she was screaming!Luckily the police overheard the other Masurina security guard on the 2-way radio and turned up to check. The rascals had long gone though.

Pat was ok but shaken. She strongly suspects her own security guard was involved and they also suspect an ex-giligili escapee but, the matter is still being pursued.

Am now getting up every time I hear a noise. This sort of thing incident doesn't usually happened in our area, but it's a wake up call that's for sure!