Posted by: nativeiowan | March 19, 2017

2017 v3. HoniaraTime


Sitting up on the hill, enjoying the placid blue of Iron Bottom Sound. About 1030am and maybe 24c/ 80f. Sunday morning coming down in the Big Mango.

Yesterday I had a relaxed morning with a meeting scheduled at a local cafe at 130pm. SO I puttered and read through the morning then went to the Mendana for lunch. After the past 10 days in Gizo I thought a fancy sit down club sandwich would do me. In Gizo I lived on the fish and chips. Each pub or eatery had their own version. Some was better but all were good. Fresh Kingfish or Tuna is grand. but my favourite is Hump-Head Maori Wrass… who out there has feasted upon this fin delicacy? A CETIS listed endangered species… The fish is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red list and in Appendix II of CITES.[12] Species numbers for the humphead wrasse have been declining due to a number of threats, and very tasty indeed…

A dingy lil over-the-water affair in the old KHY waterfront, I think it’s called the Sea Front,  sells a massive feed of the best, THE BEST, fish n chips I can recall. Big fresh chunks of endangered species with a pile of honest kumara chips and a salad. All for about 10.00USD.

I rate this as one of the best meals I have had in ages and ages.

Any one near Gizo should make an effort and check it out. Mockson is the owner of the place. It is dingy and a bit unwelcoming. It is a waterside bar first and foremost. A desperate array of nefarious looking personages hangout there (most are my family), but there is an upstairs dining area away from the bar. Breezy and bright, I highly recommend it.

I depart from this trip with a sense of positivity, an optimism, if you will. For the first time in years and years… for the first time in a long time, I see a positive change here.

Most dramatically, the streets of Honiara are cleaner than I can recall. Gone are the piles of plastic and greasy papers that normally punctuate the urban landscape. No longer  are the old oil drum rubbish bins full to overflowing. The rubbish is being collected. By whom I am uncertain. It is the why that I tried to understand…

Why is the rubbish being picked up. Why are the streets reasonably tidy.

The answer appears to be rather simple… The Tourist Ships are back. The first weekend here I saw 2 vessels arrive and depart. While in Gizo I saw one ship arrive and depart.

Amazing what a change a bit of tourism can make.

My faithful hounds lie about in a confused array of postures…

We have 5 Rodeasian Ridgebacks here… Bean, Iowa, Lauru, Scarlet, and Rhett. They have a tough life, no doubt.

I have been 17 days in these islands. I had forgotten, over the past 16 months, how down right beautiful it is here.

Considering I spent 10 days on DD ICE (DD stands for “Diesel Duck”), working pretty much every day cleaning and fixing, I can say I feel better, happier and smarter than when I showed up. Maybe I was getting a bit too retired down in Aus, over these past many months. Maybe I need more to challenge and drive in me. Maybe, but I do know I enjoyed being on ICE and have throughly enjoyed my time here. I will be back soon.

ICEBound photos… 2017-03-14 21.08.02

The stern/ rudder-tube area where I spent much time doing Bilge Yoga and my office onboard – nice view, eh?

Pat Purcell hanging and the view from San Bis jetty…

Local commuters in Gizo harbour and The Fegan with Abraham after a long day of fun.

Life is good

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 26, 2017

2017 v2.26

An overcast heavens. A heavy dusk. Fruit bats fill the sky. Forbidding omens?

It rained earlier so the air is light, clean.

Looks and acts like it will rain again soon.

Winter is on the way. Nights are cooler. The pool is much cooler. I have been running the pool-heater. 32c / 90f is the target temp in the eve. SO far daytime temps have been about 29. But as the air chills and the wind blow. a 90 degree pool is pretty cozy.

Spent much of the past week on the road. I like driving/ riding. I like the solitude of keeping your eyes on the road.

Had the boys home this weekend. Got new in on Tuesday. Transfers with Nick n Bren a couple days. Took the triton to Clifton. Lets see…

About 2000ks all up. About 25 hours on the road. And it all mad eve happy.

My family knows I do not chatter when I drive. I comment. I note things. But my concentration is on the drive.

Got a date with the Solomons this week. Fly off Thursday morn for a visit to the Haps isles. My first visit in 15 months. Must be getting old!

Have been having fun discussions with old friends lately…

W.E. does and interesting blog I highly recommend…

Have been chatting with Beardski lately. Heard from Henry Kellam III. My Granddaughter Lucky 13 turned 2… gg-2

Talk about BAD Blood… this gal got it all… Lauru, Munda, Vella, Iowa… A proper B.B. for sure…

Nick and Bren Makin stopped by on their way through Oz… it was great to see them… img_5592Had a lovely eve together. I am soooo happy when ol friends like Nick n Bren stop by and we enjoy each others company as if we’d not seen each other for 4 years. It was a gas!

Life is good

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 19, 2017

2017 v2.quietnight

Where are we? Somewhere in mid-February.

It is a quiet, warm night here in Qland. I sit out side by the pool… img_5570

img_5579The critters of the night buzz, hum, and click. A constant cacophony of chaotic critter noises, eh?

I smile.

I recently was discussing the nasty topic of “politics” with a compadre. Now, my bud and I do not all the times see eye to eye. But we are buds. And as buds do you piss each other off. Sometimes we – either or- exaggerate for effect. Some times -either or- end up with sensibilities bruised.

Our topic was the questioning – right or left – of the political persuasion of a person in your life. And the effects therein. Golly, these past few months of political overload have sure been divisive.

I think of a niece of mine. Educated, professional, smart- smart, best mom in the world kinda gal. With strong liberal leanings. When she posted one of those “made to insult” sorta’ ersatz news items stating that we could blame the “red necks” for DJT. I had to point out to her that the majority of her male-blood-relatives were then blameable. (and a few of her female-blood-relatives too)

We are all in the same small boat. Being rude don’t work a’tall.

I am from the flatlands. Iowa. It is a good place. A good place to call “home”. And I acknowledge that there are many, many places throughout the USofA, where honest folk work hard for an honest wage. I learned respect at a young age. I know what an insult is and I know being insulting is rude. I know that rudeness can lead to an arse kick’n. I know that rudeness can lead to tears. In the right neighbourhood, rudeness can lead to lead poisoning.

Is one president that much better than the other? I know a good administration can be more desirable than a bad administration. I know that bad leadership normally do not end well.

I think of being at sea. Or better… on the Starship Enterprise… Capt. Kirk do not put decisions up for a vote. He do not make a committee meeting out of it all. no, he asks his various advisors/ specialists/ Spocks/ Scottys for their relevant assessment. From the info supplied by his advisors he makes any and all decisions.

Speaking of being at sea… ice-off-klbgaPacking to travel soon to board and enjoy ICE.

A chart I am getting ready… img_5566What is there about going to sea? preparing for the sea? Shaazaammm! Dunt know but there is something special in the air.

Maybe its my 52/52 Triton? img_5567

Just pulling her out from a long hibernation…img_5560

6T 395480 – From everything I can glean this number is a fake…img_5561(Like much of the newz these days) Somewhere in this old gal’s past her engine numbers were filed off and new numbers given. Everything about her mechanically makes her a 52.

The frame numbers are difficult to read. The research I have done leads me to believe the frame is a 52 wide-line Norton featherbed.

What is a 52/52 Triton, I hear you ask? Oh, and what is a featherbed? And, oh, I say, who really gives a shit?

About politics or motorcycles…

I do. About bikes, anyhow… This is a really rare beast. You get a triton when you combine the fantastic frame, called the “featherbed” made by Norton Motorcycles, with the ever speedy 650cc Triumph engine. The 52/52 is of course a designation for its year of production. So both frame and engine appear to be 65 years old.

Tritons were not a factory build. Every Triton on the planet was built in a small garage by a group of guys who loved speed. Frames from one bike, engines from another. No two Tritons are the same.

The fact that the numbers here appear to be faux, kinda makes sense. In years gone by many an engine or frame were “found” in unlikely places by unlikely peoples. If an engine’s history was a bit suss, you could change it by giving it an new identity, a new serial number.

You built a Triton for one reason only… for SPEED.

I have had this machine on the back burner for some time. To get the right “tins” for her I had to stand in line and wait for a master tin maker to produce what I required.

And they are ready. triton-tinsI’ll have them soon. It’ll take some time to get them sent over from the States. So I prepare the 52/52 to head up to Genius Jim’s place. He is going to start making this ol britt babe all shiny and new.

I do look forward to it.

The night sky here is rather quiet. Gemini and Cancer in the sky. Mars and Pluto setting. The sky is inky dark.

The pool is warm.

Life is good.

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 15, 2017

2017 V2.been a while

Where does the time go? Another year, another succession of days, weeks and, soon, months. Damn!

Ok, its been a few weeks, nothing drastic.

A period of intense heat for us here on the SunnyCoast.

A majestic full moon and a jewel filled sky.

One reason I may have been distracted is my 66 Trophy… maybe even infatuated… ???


Genius Jim and baby Ed. Dig Ed’s t-shirt…img_5552

In my shed… a beauty of a Britt babe…img_5556img_5557img_5558

Posted by: nativeiowan | January 24, 2017

2017 v1.3

Damn, I say Damn!

Been a while. Been busy. Been real, fun-filled busy. Where is January going?

My Brother, The Rooster, was here with his family for a couple of weeks. 2016-12-27-19-34-49

Did not take pictures but he flew over to join a fun, kid filled NY Eve’s party we had. His two kids and Mrs all enjoyed the Sunnycoast.

A milestone for Grace and I… After 10 years raising two small boys, a) the boys are no longer small and  b) both Angelo and Mendoza now in Boarding School.

Almost done with the old folks… can you see the anticipation in the boy’s eyes?2017-01-23-08-35-05

Mendoza starting his career in Boarding school. Now in the 7th grade, he is learning to be a mature, cooperative student in a very competitive system.2017-01-23-10-22-15

Gotta luv a cool uniform…2017-01-23-08-11-47

Hans has been around… He spent a lot of time hang’n by the pool in his undies… 2017-01-20-17-13-07

I even got him on a bike… 2017-01-21-09-06-52

What else: Ice at anchor with Kolombangara in the background… nice PICT!ice-off-klbga

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | January 15, 2017

2017 v1.2

Monday morn here in the land of Aus.We are watching the Packers v the Cowboys playoff game. So far it is quite entertaining.

I wish to report that I did my full day of 2wheeling Saturday. Left here about 8am, got home about 3pm. It was hot, hot, hot. I covered 600ks, stopped 3 times. Simply rode my bike.

I got home sweaty, dehydrated and sore. I weighed in 3kgs less than i left in the morn. 12 litres of beer and water remedied the weight loss. My leg muscles and gluten are very sore.

And life is good…

More vroom later

Posted by: nativeiowan | January 13, 2017

2017 v1.1

Mars, the star of the eve this eve, floats brilliant n bright to the west. He shall shine bright n long tonight. Neptune and Uranus accompany him into Aquarius.

The sky is rather quiet tonight.

It has been a long hot day.

Did I mention, Friday the 13th? Ring a Bell?

I completed my Australian motorcycle licence saga today. I can now, after a few months of being unlicensed, ride my bikes.

It is a long story… I swapped over from my Solo licence to an Aussie licence and in between  ended up without a bike licence for about 3 months. Have not really been on a long ride for fucking ages!!! Damn I miss riding!

So I sit here, 730pm on Friday the 13, 2017. A new year rings in and our superstitions continue.

A resident kookaburra makes noise down in the drainage. Frogs, very small frogs, add a vibration to the air. Fruit bats do their commute inland.

I find frogs in my pool. About the size of my thumb nail, some bigger, I am certain many species are around. It is interesting that the pool kills the toads ( we all dislike toads) but not the frogs. I rescue and release the frogs.

So after a frustraing past few expereicnes, I am happy to report that I have proven that I am a good poodle. This recent saga of jumping through hoops and wagging my tail and being polite and smiley in order to be legally licensed to ride my bikes… All I can say is “woof”.

It all began in September when I finally got my full-time, ol fart, retirement visa for Australia.

Another long story, but I had been hassling over my status in Aus for 6 year or more.

So I get my ol fart visa and then go into the local transport office to swap my licence over. To become a proper card-carrying Queenslander, MATE!

It was not easy. I had to pay some money and pass a test before I could pay more to apply to take the next text which included a road test. So I paid and applied and tested and got a Qlander licence. But only for automatic cars.

Now for these past 6 years I have been stopped, and I have been allowed to drive on my Solo Licence. Both cars, trucks and bikes. My Solo licence has been well recognised to  allow me to drive, ride and operate.

Not now, not after I got my first, basic, learners licence as a Qlander.

As soon as I went on to Qlander plastic, all else was null n void.

So I took a test to be fully certified to drive a car. Then another test to drive a car with a manual transmission. Took 4 trips into the local Transport Office. But I got my “open” for cars.

That was the easy part.

The bike licence was a drama. Normally one must wait and progress over 2.5 years to go from learner to open for bikes. For me that was tragic news. BUt I was patient, and friendly and had enough info to allow the TRFolks to exempt me through the draconian time requirements as I did my dance for them…

That was where I learned I was an exceptional poodle.

Golly, how many times have I been in the Transport Offices looking forlorn and cooperative. I am good at wagging my tail.

And jumping through hoops. To get a bike licence was pretty intensive…

I paid a fee then did 2 days of training and got my Learners licence. Went to the TROffices and got the paper work done. I did another day of training, paid a fee and did my provisional licence. Went to the TROffices and got the paper work done. Today I did another day of training and was issued my “open” bike licence, after I went to the TROffices and got the paper work done. I did not pay a fee because the guy doing the training and I got friendly and he commiserated with my drama so today was free.

I bought him a good bottle of whiskey as a present.

And I am buggered. So I sit here in the cool Qland air. The wind chimes giggle. The wind rustles the foliage. The Wolf Moon was full last night. It shall be bright and clear here, soon. Moon rise is 935pm.

So the first full moon of 2017 behind us. My MOJO has been messed up these past few days. I think it is because I do not take instruction well.

but tomorrow I shall remedy mu MOJO by going riding ALLL DAYYY…

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | January 6, 2017

2017 v1.0

The Virgin Post…

The 1st for a New Year…

I’ll probably get unfriended for the “virgin” comment…

As the New Year begins, as the Old Year transpires…

What profound thoughts and words of wisdom can I offer my faithful readers?

Golly, gee wizzz… Theoretically we are all one year older, one more shared revolution round the big-star… One would assume, hope, even pray that some growth had been attained in the past year; AND, that there is some vision, some PLAN for the FUTURE…

I sit out on the terrace of my Queensland home. It is a nice place. A very nice place.

Lots of open space, beautiful weather, a relaxed atmosphere. Good people around.

A very slight drizzle is cooling my shoulders. I hear rain coming. It sounds like a bunch of termites in your tropical home. (How many of my faithful readers have lived in a topical home where, I swear to god, you could hear the termites munching away?)

The rain becomes a sprinkling on my keyboard. I am sitting at a very special teak table my buddy, Big Dave, built for me. He used old-world craftsmanship to produce a functional work of art. It feels and smells wonderful.

An umbrella keeps the computer from getting wet, though a single drop sits heavily on the mouse pad. My back is pleasantly damp in the cool night air.

2016 was an entertaining, event filled, and amazing year. All I can say is WTF? Who woulda’ thought? As we roll into 2017, WTF, who woulda thought!

So, rather than dwell on the past I would like to look into the future… what does the future hold? Who knows?

I do. I know that very soon both Angelo and Mendoza shall head off to boarding school. I know that Mendoza will cry himself to sleep for a few nights. I know he will find his feet and grow to understand and maybe even enjoy the “BOARDING” experience.

I know that Angelo will struggle to stay focused but I also know he will achieve some impressive results. It is his 3rd year at Toowoomba Grammar. He shall do very well this coming year.

I know I shall get ICE over from the Solomons – soon -. And I know that ICE shall change my life. ICE is a very cool boat… ice-2017This pict was taken by drone, at Olosana Island, Western Province, Solomons Islands on 26/12/16.

I know that Gracie has been smitten by ICE.

Gracie and Mendoza got to go home to the Solos for Xmas. She spent a fair amount of time on Ice and now thinks of it as “her own”. She is looking forward to Ice arriving and being able to start her catharsis from just an island girl to a yachtie.

I know Gracie is looking forward to being without the responsibility of having a “dependant”. She has committed the last ten years to raising Mendoza and Angelo. She has done a commendable job and deserves a break from the role of “Grand Mother”.

I am not truly convinced that she and ICE are the right couple. I kinda thought that ICE was my project. Not sure if Gracie being enamoured with “my boat” is a good thing. Time will tell.

The recent weeks have been pleasant. Bro, Rooster, and his family have been visiting. It is way cool. His kids, Eli and Elora, have been hanging with the boys. His wife, Melita, and Grace have been doing a lot of nothing together. Everyone is happy. Some times.

Did I mention that another Hemmer baby was born on the 21st of December, 2016?

Meet Miss Nova Hemmer… untitled-2-copy-2         Paul and Betsy’s 2nd daughter…She has my eyes…

So I know a few things. I have a few opinions, a few theories. I do have many hopes and dreams. I am still the enduring optimist.

Rain just came hard…

gotta run…




Posted by: nativeiowan | December 24, 2016

2016 v12.twasthenightbeforechristmas

Twas the night before christmas…

7pm on the 24th of December. Christmas eve.

Angelo and I have been batch’ing it. We have enjoyed the quiet house, the domestic simplicity.

We have not done much “for Christmas”…Our Christmas tree is small but it is happy…


We have enjoyed sharing a quiet house.

All will change soon. Brother Rooster and his tribe will arrive from Germany Monday afternoon.

Grace and Mendoza will come back from the Solos in 7 days, next Friday.

So we aint got much time left. Gotta enjoy the privacy and quietude and relaxedness while we can.

Angelo and I spent today preparing for our guests. We cleaned and made beds and got ready for the Hemmers from Garmisch.

In the last few days we have mowed the grass and tidied up and got the tent out. We are really looking forward to the guests arriving.

Tomorrow we will go over to “Uncle” Joes. His  lady fair, Maureen, is preparing a banquet. We’ll head over for Queensland Chrissie Lunch on the veranda about noon. It’ll be a very entertaining time.

I very much look forward to the Rooster n his tribe. Been a few years since I have seen them. I think they will have… we will have a very fine time together.

Yippee, the Hemmers from Garmisch are coming to Queensland… I look forward to seeing the kids. It always makes me smile when”The Kids”, the pups, get together… when the cousins get to meet and have enough time to become friends.

We are planning a neighbourhood NY’s eve party for kids – of all ages… I like creating memorable events. And this shall be a very memorable one. The Queensland circle of The Universal Family will mix n play with the Garmisch tribe.

But tonight, The Night Before Christmas, Angelo and I are being quiet.

We have been running on a couple of pots of left overs – a veggie soup from several days ago, beans were added a few days ago, I tossed in some meat somewhere along the line, and yesterday turned it into a mexican goulash we ate in wraps. Big Burritos.

Today the last of the left overs got put into a deep fry pan and they ended life in a “one pot wonder”. A bit is left, but if Angelo don’t eat whats left soon, I’ll nail it.

Traditions do hold strong. We are conditioned, in a good way…

I think of all the Christmas eves/ trees I have shared in my life. Some are very vivid.

I can picture trees from the farm in Knoxville. The house on Middle Street, Jackson Street, 412, Alta Vista. I left the US right on 37 years ago. I flew out on the 11th of January, 1981. December 1980 was my last Christmas as a resident in the USA. That was in Alta Vista. My Grandmother was still alive. Golly, all the nephews n nieces were babies. The folks owned the INN there. It was a fun, a grand time.

Since 1980, I have learned to be a tropical sorta Christmas dude. I have had several “white Christmas” trips, back to Home. But they are always very fudged up. Snow and ice and below zero temps simply cramp my style. Give me a green, sweaty Christmas any day.

Today has not been too bad. The temps have dropped from the hot, hot of late. The pool is brisk again. The grass is getting greener. It is very pleasant outside.

I will finish this and go have a quick dip before I close the house up, put whatever I have left out, away. And finish the one pot wonder…



Posted by: nativeiowan | December 18, 2016

2016 v12.2whatiswealth

I woke this morn to a breezy, overcast day. We need rain. We wish for rain. I am getting bored watering the grass and veggie patch and flowers… I never tire of watering my roses.

It’s still kinda early – for a Sunday_. I have put on the news and opened up my computer. Mr. Kuma reclines a few feet from me. Since I woke an hour ago he has not moved much. He rolled on his back and let me scratch his belly. Lifted his head when I walked into the kitchen. But he has not gotten up. Still too early for him.

After doing the obligatory checking of family communications … Grace is staying on ICE in Gizo. My elderly mother is doing very well, despite the snow and cold in Iowa… I clicked a link to something from an old friend and fine writer, Willis Eschenbach.

Willis recently launched his own blog ,, and has been posting furiously.

What I  read resonated with me, mainly due to the fact that I too have spent many noon day hours walking through, sitting in, enjoying “developing world villages”.

As well, it raised to my forethought an idea I have been chewing on lately… the concept of WEALTH.

What is wealth? What makes one wealthy? How do we, or can we accumulate wealth?

As Willis walked through that dusty Sahal village, the villagers perhaps saw yet another wealthy white-dude. But, really, what is wealth? Two pairs of shoes? A change of clothes? More than one simple meal a day?

In his post, Willis goes on to explain his feelings in regards to the recent US Election, free trade, and discussions with friends. It is a worthy read.

But he got me pondering the topic of wealth, again…

As fate has it, I have recently written on this topic. In discussions with both D.B., and W.E. we did the polka on and around the topic for a couple of days. It all transpired from an article I picked up and shared because I could not understand it. It was maybe too smart for me. Maybe it was written above my head…


But, when discussing “wealth” a bit of confusion is understandable. My final words in our exchange were…


I think this may an important “thing”… 

People see wealth differently. The guy(s) who wrote this are taking it into common economist-speak, which is braille to me. I was kinda hoping I wasn’t the only one bamboozled by this. That I wasn’t too thick – not to get it… 
I can see where wealth is something inherently “there”… like the gold in them thar hills, but it isn’t tangible or real or realised until it is dug up, and like other commodities, is not valuable unless there is a market or a standard value for it in the society. We know of aboriginal societies that thought gold was just pretty and diamonds were even prettier, but of no real value.
Lots of valuable land (I think of Bouganville) was just a big garden until someone began extracting the modern, marketable wealth buried thereunder. 
I believe the views on creating poverty are worth consideration, as it is in the entire drama of colonialism. One can understand the building of the pyramids when one understands slavery and wealth centralisation ALLOWS the pyramids to happen. With out the slavery or the centralised wealth they would never have been built. And if the hills of Bouganville did not have minerals they would still be gardens.
I see most wealth creation in the modern world to be slight of hand… noting that (most) currencies are no longer pinned or standardised to either gold or silver. Without being “backed” by a tangible it is just an agreed farce.
I later came across this interesting article which claims that my adoptive home, Australia, is on the path to making “cash” a thing of the past…
It all starts to make me wonder, to ponder, to condense… as I walk to the bakery, ride my Segway to the butcher shop, mow the lawn or sweep the floor…
What is wealth?
I joined the Peace Corps when I was 22 years old. I “shipped out” 5 months after my 23rd birthday and two weeks before Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. I carried a very fine “REI” backpack loaded with 100lbs of gear, and toted an old guitar that I could never play. (I still can’t play the guitar!)
In my pack I had a good tent, good rain gear, a very good fry pan, a light hammock, camp stove, a couple of water bladders, basic clothes, some sketch pads, books and diaries… For all practical purposes I took my camping gear to the Peace Corps with me. In my mind I was going camping for two years. I wore a pair of Red Wing work boots and packed an old pair of low-top Converse All Stars.
Before I shipped out I gave everything else I owned away.
In my pre-Peace Corps life I had been an artist. My medium was acrylic on canvas. In my life preceding my departure from the US of A I had spent most all my money, most all my wealth on art supplies. I lived then in a very small mobile-home (trailer) in a very small town in northern Iowa. My main asset was a very good stereo. I drove a 1961 Dodge (push button auto) that was not worth $300.00, but it had new tires on it, and ran well. I had a wolf, Nuke, as a room mate.
My dad got my car and my wolf. My bro-in-law got my stereo. I was planning to come back in 24 months and claim my possessions back. Not much else of value there was. Except my art. So gave that all away too. As I prepared to depart, as I visited friends and family, I gave my canvases away.
So, after I gave all I had accumulated, all the wealth I had away, I traveled to a new life where I learned what wealth was…
My first experience in a developing world village blew my simple mind!
Manebwena is on the north coast of Makira. There were probably 20 families living a short walk from the coast.
A nice river ran near the village. The sand on the beach was black. The people were friendly, even loving.
I spent 10 weeks in that village. Gave about 25% of what I owned, including the Red Wings, away. Leaving much richer than when I arrived.
Over the next couple years I visited many villages.
Some are wealthier than others… My village in Makira had been a very middle-class place. Isolated by peaks and valleys. They walked long distances to their gardens. The food was good but they worked hard for what they had.
But not all villages are created equal… I recall living on the dry side of Ngela. The weather there is such that it simply does not rain. The gardens there don’t produce a huge variety so it’s either cassava and slippery cabbage or cassava or slippery cabbage. You can augment your diet with fish but it is still cassava and slippery cabbage, which do get a bit boring after a couple of months.
When I moved to Choiseul I realised what a wealthy village is. Golly, those folks had a big island, with loads of rain and produced a plethora of great food. The variety was insane. Varieties of yam, taro, kumara. Varieties of cabbage. Varieties of coconuts.
By the time I got to Choiseul I owned little or nothing. I had retained one pair of jeans, my converse, and one good shirt. I had a couple of pairs of tattered n tired cut-offs. A few stained n ratty shirts. A good short wave radio, which was essential for remote existence. A kettle to boil water, a pot to cook rice. Still had my fry pan. I had given my guitar to a young Malaitan guy who taught me to spear fish. I thought an old guitar was worth the price to learn how to feed yourself. I used peanut butter jars as tea cups. My camping gear had been sold. My bed was a hand-woven pandanus mat with a thin mattress. I could pick up and move, carrying everything I considered Mine. (which I did when I moved from Ngela to Choiseul)
So… stepping back from my stroll down memory lane… At a young age, a tender age, I started learning about wealth.
Before that time I had been tutored in MONEY. I had learned young that if you had MONEY you got to buy what you wanted. But wealth was something different. You worked for money. But where did wealth come from?
On Choiseul I met many people who were and are still formative in my life. Of course that is where I met my wife of 33 years. As well, after meeting and marrying, Grace, we (I) decided to go live in her home village, Susuka. We lived in Susuka full-time from 1984 to 1988.

It was there that Gracie’s father, Boaz, taught me about wealth.

For Boaz, money was for “things”. Tobacco, sugar, rice. You could buy “nice” things with money.
For Boaz, wealth came from giving away.
Boaz was the head of a large and vibrant tribe.
Boaz had been born before that region of Choisuel had been “civilised”. His father, Pogoto, was one of the first in that region to accept the missionaries. Pogoto was baptised in the Methodist church somewhere around 1910. Boaz was a “big kid” then. According to Boaz, “…me close up garrem hair…”. which means he was a pubescent child when the corner between traditional and modern lifestyles was turned.
Pogoto’s father, Kapesikana, had 4 wives. Each wife gave him one son. One son was considered to be half-sense (mentally deficient). So Kapesikana divided his vast land-holding between three of his sons. The sum total of all three holdings was known as “Pandorana”. Pandorana is the name for their family lineage or tribe.
Collectively Pandorana was a very productive tribe. It still is.
Boaz was head of his own clan and boss of his own land, but he was also the leader of the collective, Pandorana.
I was incessantly amazed how hard Boaz, and his wife (Flory), worked to “share the wealth” that they created.
It was a rare day when one of the many gardens were not visited. Some gardens were close by. They’d have slippery cabbage and some root crops. Maybe some pumpkins or snake beans. Some gardens were high on the hills. Some were on the banks of the many rivers. When Grace and I lived full-time in Susuka we managed three distinct gardens… one in the hills, one on the bank of a small river, and one in a sago forest.
The logic of many gardens is very simple… if you have one garden and it floods, or the pests get it or the winds knock everything down, you starve.
Boaz and Flory had no less than six gardens. Old gardens were being forgotten and new gardens devleoped as a matteer of course. And everyday, after a garden visit, wealth would be distributed. Wealth in the form of root crops, bananas, pomelos, oranges, nuts, cabbage, coconuts, and more.
I recall Boaz laughing about, maybe even complaining about, some of his relatives who had  a habit of showing up around supper time. Sound familiar? That old friend or family member who had the timing down to perfection? They’d show up with a big smile, and an empty stomach, just as the meal is served.
But Boaz and Flory always, all ways had extra. As the meal was being prepared the young’ns would be sent trotting down the beach to deliver a hot plate of food to ol Aunty Sarah, or ol Jonathan who had polio. Every meal was shared.
Boaz and Flory were very wealthy people.
I am still pondering this topic. What is wealth?
More to later…

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