South Pacific Trip - Part 2: Solomon Islands - Welcome to Boe Village
The second leg of our trip was to the groom’s home village, located on Choiseul Island in Choiseul Province. This is where the wedding, the whole reason for this adventure, would be held. Words can’t fully describe our experience in the village. Neither can a few photos, but I will try.
We arrived in Solomon Island’s capital, Honiara, to meet up with twenty-four of our Canadian friends, who were all invited to this very special wedding. On our first day in the capital, we were shut in our hotel, because we happened to arrive during an election, which in previous years had resulted in violence. Although the people were not happy with the outcome of the election, there were minimal repercussions. (We happened to be staying in the same hotel as the newly elected Prime Minister!) We heard some yelling, and apparently there were some shootings, but we were unharmed. (I know it sounds scary, but we actually spent the day drinking beer in the pool.)
As Boe Village is on a remote, boat-access only island, we spent the next two days in transit. After flying in a tiny seventeen-seater airplane, and taking a three-hour boat ride along the coast, we finally arrived in Boe Village.
The top photo above depicts just part of the amazing, elaborate, warm, traditional, and festive welcome that we received from the people of Boe Village. None of us had ever experienced anything like it. After performing a welcome with weapons and traditional paint and clothing, the whole village sang to us, and then danced with us to live music performed on instruments made from bamboo.
History had been made, as we were the largest group of foreigners ever to visit the village. The village was also welcoming back one of their own (the groom), after ten long years of being away. Everyone was incredibly excited.
We were then shown the beautiful six-room traditional home that had been built for us to stay in. We were blown away by the beauty of this house, the surrounding gardens, the outdoor shower, and the feast after feast that was provided for us. The generosity of the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, and the people of village, was overwhelming.
Although we were being well looked after, some of us had to adjust to a different way of life. We slept on thin mattresses on the floor, under mosquito nets. Boe Village has no electricity, except for a couple of light bulbs in the church. (Our house had been equipped with one lightbulb run by a generator in the evening.) No fans or air conditioning to make sleep easier in the hot, humid evenings. No refrigerators, no television, no internet. Food is from local fishing and farming, therefore fresh and abundant, but limited in variety. Life there hasn’t changed much in decades. That said, these people are a happy, healthy community. As my twelve-year-old son said, “They don’t need ipods or video games or junk food to be happy. They have everything they need here.”
The next few days were filled with activity as we spent more time getting to know the village and as everyone prepared for the upcoming wedding.
Part 3 Solomon Islands: Getting to know Boe Village
Part 4 Solomon Island Wedding
Part 1 Fiji