HAMLET, KIRIBATI STYLE

I don’t often bombard you with multiple blog entries in a week but sometimes I find the time to put thoughts on screen so here goes. Last night I went to see Hamlet, played by the Globe to Globe Shakespeare Theatre group who were in town for the day. Random. Yes but incidents like those make the best stories. A diverse bunch of charming, talented actors from London and one based in NZ displayed their ingenuity (Kiribati style) when they announced that none of their costumes or gear had made it on the flight. Remarkable to see the actors mesmerising the audience with just their acting and the occasional (long) eye contact and for one in particular, their accent!!

It was interesting to watch Hamlet in the most obscure of locations surrounded by kids, humidity and the warm air. I hadn’t realised that it was nearly three hours long and that is a statement on its own of quality. Sitting on the concrete steps of the Betio Sports complex listening to the echoing sounds of the actors amongst the rustling of kids trying to entertain themselves and then falling victim to laughter when the actors burst into intense fighting scenes was an experience on its own. After the show ended, we had the privilege of meeting some of the very tired but rather approachable and humble actors. Again, it was quite nice seeing them in a different light and hearing some of the back stage stories.

They’ve travelled half the world performing. Impressive to say the least but most of all, their work was like a breath of fresh air on this side of the world 🙂

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BOLLY BUS

Around 30 people dancing to “Banno tera swager lage sexy” in a manneaba (local communal house) in Tarawa. Quite a sight 🙂

Then imagine 5 of the best dancers in Kiribati, myself and my friend (i’m going to call him my ‘desi’ friend for anonimity sakes) dancing to “mundeyan to bach ke rahi” on the beachy floor of a village with half the village watching, kids copying, roosters competing with the music and dogs trying to find thier space amongst it all. Loads of laughter and applauding at the end. A sight to be seen 🙂 

Everyone’s jumping on the ‘Bolly bus’ in Kiribati 😀

FISH CURRY

So last night I made fish curry from our catch on Sunday. Hats down to our ‘fillet-er’ who de-scaled and filleted the fairly small sized fish we caught. It took a couple of hours he claims and the making of my curry only took about 10/15 mins 🙂

Anyhow- the curry was so good that I thought of sharing my super simple recipe.

All you need is Fish, Coconut milk, Turmeric powder, Curry leaves (not necessary but makes it more authentic), Fresh Chilli,  Salt, Onion (chopped length wise), Ginger (paste or fresh), Lime juice (fresh or not).

Marinate the fish in generous amounts of lime juice, turmeric and ginger. Also add some salt and chilli (I just halved the chilies). Leave it aside just for as long as you are prepping the other stuff. In a pan, put a teaspoon of oil and saute the onions and curry leaves for a couple of minutes. Add the fish and coconut milk. Cook till the fish is ready!

SoRrY can’t give you amounts of spices etc as I cook freestyle so just add the stuff and do a taste test. It’s perfect when the flavour dances on your tongue.

Nothing more to it 🙂

Best to use light fish. Nothing heavy like tuna. Be keen to know how it tastes if you try it out. I wouldn’t brag if it wasn’t good and super easy. He he he

DEFINING BUSY

Nearly three weeks since my last entry and it’s not that I have forgotten to share my experiences, it’s just that I have become very busy since I returned to Kiribati this time. Let me update you a little then. Given that Tarawa is a very transitional place where volunteers, consultants come and go. People you become friends with leave and new ones arrive and the parameters of who you meet and what you do constantly keeps changing. The constant change in a place with very little change is a notion I mention once earlier but in all honestly, life is what you make of it.

So, apart from work, I have been keeping myself highly occupied with a lot of Bollywood dancing. Getting a team together to perform in about 20 days time has been a rewarding challenge to say the least. It’s really ‘bikram Bollywood’ here and is proving be quite a magnet for locals and neighbours alike. Great for muscle toning and getting rid of those muffin tops! I was in desperate need of that after my recent love affairs with Mossies.

The last couple of weekends involved a number of things including lots and lots of dancing, a toga party, a party with the Taiwanese peeps here, 2 local parties, visit onto the US navy ship, fare-welling a friend, a massage, a cup of real coffee (courtesy of a fellow volunteer who has a coffee machine), swimming in a really nice part of the island, amazing fish and rice for lunch, a Bollywood movie, getting locked out of the house, riding my bike through the muddy pot-holes barely managing to stay seated, getting soaked in the rain while riding on my bike, line fishing (I actually caught some), cooking self-caught fish on the bbq, unsuccessful attempts at net fishing, snorkelling, drinking coconut water, riding on the local canoe, an Indian dinner at my place, discovered 5 boys- all amazing dancers rocking to Indian music here in Kiribati, running a random dance class for the staff at the local family planning department (got asked by a fellow volunteer to run a class and it was a success!), waited 4 hours for my transport to show up, whiskey in tea, bears on the balcony, power cuts, watermelons in the market, rain and more rain. All in all, a very busy few weeks. Think I need a day or so to recover. Ha ha ha. Whoever said there isn’t much to do here.

This weekend I am off to an outer island if all goes well. Will wrote more on my return J.

DREAMS

It is just after lunch and my body sways to the music being played by the American Army band in the public square as I write this post. I must admit, it is rather pleasant listening to the jazzy, drummy, dreamy tones echoing in the area. My head slowly rocks up and down, side to side, and my fingers seem to be typing in musical sync. Ha ha ha. My legs too seem to be performing an involuntary tremour. All in all, an enjoyable musical afternoon. They are good!! All the staff at my office minus me and one other are at the square and every now and then, I hear a loud cheer and the sound of a few hundred claps.

Oh another note, I went to the graduation ceremony of the University of South Pacific after work yesterday. It had been 5 years since the last one was held here and oh the excitement! The graduates, the families and the likes of me were all excited. Marching in their best dresses, brown gowns and flaunting the graduate hat and surrounded by the extended family paparazzi, they proudly entered the ‘Manneaba’ where the ceremony was held. It was a special one as the president of Kiribati was also awarded an honourary Phd. In amongst the flashing of a few cameras, the sweating graduates walked down the isle to get their degrees and walked back with the biggest grins! I certainly went back in time to when I graduated. Ah those dream filled eyes! They are a bunch of very lucky and determined individuals who dare to dream even when circumstances look bleak. Hats off to them all! I hope their futures are brighter than they anticipate.

The day before that, I was heading back home after work with ‘Chuckle-Berry Finn’. He by the way is my motorbike. A perfect evening it was. Full moon, the white and grey of the clouds and the pinks and reds of the setting sun lit the sky in a way I’d never seen before. It was so beautiful in the backdrop of the darkening, turquoise blue lagoon that I had to pull over and just take it all in. As I rode back, the large white moon among the greying clouds moved against the different foregrounds of the dusty road, then the local houses and coconut trees and then it was above the crashing weaves on the reef (well, I moved in a different direction but you know what I mean ;] ). Rather spectacular, making for a very spectacular ride home.

I have been told to shorten my entries for the sake of my readers. ha ha ha. So, write more later :). Until then, I’ll continue swaying to the rhythms that penetrate my work space at the moment!