Food In The Belly

There is very much a ‘share and share a-like’ policy within the community. Everybody is treated as equal; it’s as close to a communist system as I’ve ever witnessed. If somebody calls on you in the evening it’s customary for you to cook them supper, no questions asked, and vice versa. People share the produce from their gardens with each other as their main sustenance and need little more. Land is passed down from generation to generation with each family owning a crop garden. I keep being given cucumbers, passion fruits, peanuts in their shells, bananas, pineapples, mangos, pumpkin tops (leafy shoots of the pumpkin plant) and more. The ground is incredibly fertile here; they can grow pretty much anything. Kau Kau (sweet potato) is their staple but they grown everything from ginger to tapioca. Whenever I visit a house it seems compulsory that the owner proudly shows me around their garden. I’ve had to perfect feigning enthusiasm at being shown cabbage plants for the 20th time.

The same applies to meat: When a man kills one of his pigs or chickens he shares it with the community. In return he will be given garden crops or whatever people have to offer. Interestingly ‘bride price’ (which can be pretty high and can include 10 pigs or more) is also shared within the community; not merely burdened solely upon the parents of the groom. This ‘sharing’ policy is a little bit of a shock to the system at first: Whenever I buy food in town it seems a necessity that I part with almost half of it before reaching home! It’s incredible to compare this basic, self-sustaining way of life with the consumerism of England where anything that people could want is immediately available. The people within their communities here seem entirely content and strongly united. The same can hardly be said back home… some food for thought (excuse the pun).

He who is not capable of enduring poverty is not capable of being free. 

Victor Hugo 

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