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This is the Life on Atauro Island

April 10, 2015 1 Comment

Friday April 10, 2015

Alan lounging on Atauro Island

Alan lounging on Atauro Island

We’ve all had a pretty good day today on Atauro Island; big long walk along the east coast, amongst a few villagers.

I went sailing in the resort’s dinghy – a two metre glass reinforced plastic pop out tinny, single sail, but pokes along nicely. Up to 12 knots of breeze in less than a metre swell was about its limit, but I got a couple of kms along the east coast, in amongst the fishermen and women.

The main income for these people is fishing, with a little bit of craft sales at the Saturday market. Mario Gomez, a worker here, last night showed us a video he produced about the women on the island who go fishing to help the men. The video, made in 2013, is very well done and also shows the subsistence culture of the villages. There are some 10 villages on the island, with a total population of about 8000. They eat most of what they produce and sell fish for extras.

We were honoured to be invited to Mario’s engagement party. It was quite a big deal. In this region everyone is Protestant, and the minister didn’t waste the opportunity to talk from his book – for more than half an hour without turning a page! We ate with them and had the first pick of the rice, offal, more offal and pig bone pieces. Absolute delicacy, with no part of the animal wasted.

Mario also brought a live pig, hog-tied, as an offering gift to his future parents in law. It’s called something beginning with B, like our dowry, but not quite the same. As the men are getting older, both families want the newlyweds to live at their place, so the husband can work for the family – an issue that’s quite openly negotiated. To ease the load, for the past 10 or so years, the women have been spearfishing in the middle of the day, as well as collecting vegetables and cooking.

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  1. Andrew Winter says:

    Hello there travellers! Really glad to see the posts on the web site and the details of your trip coming on line. Hope all is well and happy to hear that Donna is feeling better and all is well.
    More pictures please! I know its hard to upload them because of the internet access etc. But piccies are great. Put yourselves in them as well.

    Be well PMF Travellers. Take care. Cheers. Andrew

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