Day 68, Year 2: Only One Onion Left
Date: Sunday, July 1, 2007
Weather: Another Perfectly Gorgeous Day
Location: Nabavatu Harbor, Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau Group

When you have only one onion left, you know it’s time to head somewhere to reprovision. So tomorrow morning, Windbird and her one and only onion will be leave the Lau Group and sail overnight to Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu. When our children were little, we would take our 25-foot Cape Dory out on the Chesapeake Bay. We always knew it was time to go home when all we had to eat was an onion sandwich. Back then, I never got down to having only one onion, but after a month out here, it hashappened. So no onion sandwiches on this this passage!

At noon today, we went to the plantation. Iliesa and Fane had invited us to lunch. I made tapioca pudding and baked a “Crazy Chocolate Cake” to take to them for dessert. This is the cake recipe requiring no eggs or milk. This is the recipe that I got from Siteri on Dravuni Island, and after making it two times, we have deemed it a winner. I’ve copied it at the end of this log for anyone interested. We took the tapioca pudding because we wanted to share the way we eat casava. Tapioca comes from the casava root. Here casava root is a staple, just like taro and yam. We just eat it in a different form.

We arrived at the plantation just after noon, and two of the families were all having lunch or Sunday dinner on their porches. We stopped by Sudari and Silivia’s home to say hello and then went on to Iliesa and Fane’s. Nako and Emma had company, so we didn’t stop by there. Fane had lunch all ready inside their home, so we took off our sandals and went in. Iliesa had made palisami for me as he knows I really love it. In addition, they had boiled fish, curried chicken, and taro and casava root. It was all delicious. And everyone really enjoyed the chocolate cake and pudding. The three-year old, Naibuka, ate only pudding. Once he had tasted that, he would have nothing to do with palisami. As we were finishing, one of the guests walked over from Nako’s home. To my surprise, it was Mele, Fane’s sister. I thought there were just three siblings, Fane, Sudari, and Nako, but I found out today that in addition to Mele who lives over near Daliconi, there is a brother working for a hotel in
Lautoka and a sister living in Suva, both on Viti Levu. I also learned that the five year-old Temo, is not Fane and Iliesa’s son, but is Mele’s son and just prefers living with Fane so he can play with Naibuka. Children here obviously belong to the extended family. when they are seven, most have to go to another village to attend school and when they do, they live with other family members and only come home one weekend every two weeks. After we ate, Fane put a mat on the front porch and we all went out there to talk. The other families came over and we got a chance to thank all of them at one time for the fish and lobster they left with us yesterday. We told them that they have been the most welcoming of any people that we have met. And as we left the plantation, Naka had to give us a pumpkin, sudari gave us a bottle of Coconut oil that they had made themselves, and Iliesa gave us a ripe papaya and a sopso. Sopso is a large fruit that hangs from the trees here. It is bigger than a pineapple, and although the consistency is different, it tastes much like a pineapple. Anyway, these guys were going to make sure that we don’t go hungry, even if we do have only one onion left!

Crazy Chocolate Cake
Siteri Ragutulei’s Recipe, Dravuni Island, Astrolabe Reef, Fiji

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
Pinch of Salt

Mix all dry ingredients. Put in round cake pan and make three wells. In one well put 2 teaspoons of vinegar (white). In the second well put 1 teaspoon vanilla. In the third well put 3/4 cup cooking oil. Pour 2 cups of water or milk over this and mix slowly. Bake until done at 350 degrees.

070701 Day 68 Vanua Balavu, Fiji–Sunday on Nabavatu Plantation