Hunting and gathering

Friday, day 72 (Christmas Eve day)

We got up early today (well, early for us) and started the morning by washing all our clothes and getting them on the line to take advantage of what looked like being a sunny day with a brisk breeze – a good day for drying things.

Then Paiamoe (Nina, our helper – but she prefers to be called Paia or Paiamoe, her ‘culture name’ so that is what I’ll call her from now on) arrived with a young girl who is her cousin and our neighbour. Yesterday I’d asked Paia if she knew where we could find some bamboo to use for instrument-making, and this morning she came to our house to tell us that her cousin, our neighbour, had some bamboo growing on her property that we could check out.

We trekked into the overgrown garden, past the rootling pigs in the mud who always make me chuckle, and came upon a thick clump of very tall bamboo. We chose a long stem, paid the mother $3 for it, and then she and Tony hacked into it with a saw and a machete, and chopped it down.

Tony then chopped it further into smaller pieces and all the children helped us carry the pieces back to our verandah next door.

And thus began the third jam – an impromptu experimentation with the new bits of bamboo, some blown, some struck, and some proving to have two pitches and the possibility of being held in suspension.

“Maybe we can make our own version of the kakalo’uta,” I said to Paia, only half-facetiously.

“Why not?” she agreed immediately.

Other children heard us playing and ran up the drive to join in. We spent about an hour and a half making music with these bamboo sticks, and only stopped when it was time for lunch.

So it feels like, despite the earlier stumbling blocks, things are progressing quite well here in Lospalos. We’ve established a music-making tradition at our house, we have a workshop planned for the young people up at the nuns’ house, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, and we are still to wander back to the house of the children we played marbles with a few days ago – we figure there is the potential for another workshop group in that part of town. Three groups – that’s heaps more than we thought we had at the start of the week when we met with Senor Abilio.

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1 comment so far

  1. Ros on

    Absolutely inspiring writing! This is music-making at its best.


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