By Neko Babul
Haiveta wasted no time in getting to know her fellow womenfolk at the South Pacific Commission community. Her friends taught her French, and took her on a round trip around the island.
On Friday nights, we were treated to free shows of Tahitian, Wallis and Futuna Islands, or Kanaky music and dance. During our stay in Nouméa, Waikiki Tamure was also very popular and the baby Babul’s favourite for doing the Tamure dance moves.
My Australian friend Bob and I did some fishing with the net in surrounding sea. One time, our Solomon Islands friends invited us out to join some local Kanaky friends for a Lap lap. Lap lap is a local dish popular in New Caledonia, and a Vanuatu favourite and national dish. The dish is made as follows;
scrape yams after peeling the skin place chicken pieces in the raw yam cream with coconut cream wrap in banana leaves and tie with copper wire. Place the wrapped mix in earth oven with heated rocks the same way as our PNG mumu. You can follow the same process using bananas and fresh fish.
From time to time we would travel to the centre of Nouméa for shopping and sight seeing. The city had shopping malls, and small stores were mostly owned by the Vietnamese.
New Caledonia is still one of France’s overseas territories so you will find people other French territories and countries which were under French rule.
Overseas tourists were mainly Japanese young people who come in for honeymoon in the pristine beaches of the territory. Our stay was interrupted when we received news of one of Haiveta’s brothers, Sarufa was electrocuted playing and electric guitar and he died. The electrocution happened at a neighbor’s house next door to their home in Waigani.
Haiveta quickly packed our belongings and together with baby John Maiva and Grace flew back home via Brisbane to Port Moresby in November. I followed later in December when the attachment was officially over and I flew back via Sydney to Port Moresby. 1981 ended well, except for the unfortunate death in the family. The story continues into 1982;