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Day 4 - Fire- grinders, BBQ and laplap

posted Jun 26, 2013, 12:19 AM by Robyn Gotterson   [ updated Aug 19, 2013, 1:27 PM by Unknown user ]
8am bus to Fokona again after a lavish tropical breakfast.  Just patches of blue sky and the heat very tolerable.  We walked up the hill past happy villagers and arrived to the sight of Reg and the a-team on the newly-installed roof screwing it down.  The plan today was to get the walls of the medical centre up and then watch a lap-lap dinner being put together.  So keeping the grinder away from Gary, we all developed our skills with the automatic drill, and walls and roof rapidly were put in place.  Aside from a few screws in the floor and the upper section of the walls, things were completed to the supervisors' satisfaction in time for late morning tea/early lunch at Reg's.  The locals joined us as reward for their labours, and a BBQ lunch was enjoyed by all.  Some then went back to the worksite for an unproductive afternoon, as shortly after we had split up it belted down.   

Helena was kept busy attending to injuries (mostly Gary's) in between bouts of drilling. Little Lucas played in the sand and kept us and the locals amused with his wise sayings.

The lap-lap creation had to be transferred to the side verandah of the church- truly a multi-purpose building.  Lucas and his new Vanuatu friends played a neverending game of Chasey.  Everybody had a bit of a go at grating the Kasaba, and grating the coconut, and Ross and Keith learnt the art of splitting the coconut.  In between downpours, we visited Rachel's house to see the amazing construction of the earthen oven where the lap-lap was cooked.
Lap lap is made out of manioc, coconut and bush cabbage. First the manioc root was grated as was the freshly opened coconut. Pandanus and banana leaves are then laid down and coconut milk is squeezed from the grated coconut onto the leaves to act as an oil. The monioc gets pressed down next - much like a pizza dough. Shredded bush cabbage, more manioc and a final drenching of coconut milk is then added. The parcel is then tied up and put onto hot stones, with more stones piled on top.

The lap lap was cooked in Rachel's kitchen. Rachel is from one of the many islands that make up the nation of Vanuatu. She is living in Fokona Village and working as an assistant at the school so her own 4 children back at her hometown can attend school themselves. The kitchen is desperate from the living areas and is used by more than one house. The kitchen filled up quickly with a pungent smoke as she set the fire going. The lap lap took about 1 hour to cook. Everyone was interested to have a taste - it was doughy and chewy with the wild cabbage tasting like silver beet.

We heard the bell of the church summoning to prayer meeting.  Some wanted to attend, but we were told it would be two more hours before the next bell went and the meeting would begin.  An uneventful trip home, stopping off for ice-cream and purchase of beverages for the state-of-origin.  No big screen eventuated, but the die-hards gathered in the Hauser/Schulz unit for the game.  It wasn't the only contest going on back in Aus, as the ALP were having a leadership ballot, which resulted in a new PM.  A great result in the origin, and commentary from Hauser that rivaled that of our familiar channel nine NSW cheer squad.  A later night than usual, but restful sleep after a profitable day.