I am going to tell you about something that I should have been writing about for some months. For a long time now - since August, in fact, a structure has been going up in the woodland just on the other side of our front lawn. It is a Nakamal. A Nakamal is a Vanuatan Village House.
On Wenesday, which was Thanksgiving Day on Norfolk Island, we had the official opening and blessing of the Nakamal. People started to arrive about 4 p.m.
People of all ages...
And I think most were amazed at what they saw.
Charles arranged for a sign that said "Nakamal b'long Bernie".
Charles gave a great speech at the opening, explaining our connections and links with Vanuatu and the Pacific islands.
Alan, who, along with Chully, has done most of the work on the Nakamal, said a few words.
And Bishop Rob, who is visiting for Thanksgiving, said a lovely prayer of dedication!!
Then we started on the food. Andrew and Arthur set about carving...
We actually had Edwina Dick writing for Feast magazine there - wasn't that awesome!!And her photographer Shaun got some great shots of people enjoying themselves.
Sam carved the meats from the ground oven. What a feast....
Our son John and his partner Charlene, who had only been on the island for a few days.
The desserts were equally abundant, and were tackled with gusto....
There was a lolly scramble on the lawn for the kids - not that they could have been hungry!!
Then the music started. Gentle harmonies and rhythms from our island friends and a Norfolker or two.
What was amazing is that this impromptu musical group consisted of Vanuatans, Fijians, Fasiu from Rotuma, Polini from the Solomons, and George from Tahiti.
See George's native style drum.
Margaret took home some bananas in her hat. She received the hat as a gift just that morning from Edie. It is made from Rahooloo (banana bark)
The small boys amused themselves playing darts.
While we kept warm around the fires, both outside the Nakamal and inside.
I think you can see what a wonderfully happy occasion it was.
Now I have hundreds of pictures of the progress on the Nakamal, and I will try to show you the best of them in future postings.