Islands of luck

To get to the happy people, you first need to get to New Zealand or Australia, which in itself is not the near light, and already from there it remains 3- 4 o’clock in the summer to Port Vila – the capital of the young republic, where more than three-quarters of the 40,000 people are concentrated Efate Islands. In total, about 200 thousand lucky people live on the archipelago, the overwhelming majority – the dark-skinned aborigine-melanesians (98.5%), calling themselves "Nast Vanuatu" (literally transfer – "The people of eternal land"). The rest of the inhabitants are Europeans (approximately 1.1%) and immigrants from the countries of Southeast Asia.

Port-fork quarters – a small cozy town, stretch along the Bay of Mel (Erakor), climb on the slopes of the surrounding hills. Everything in the city is located at a distance of a pedestrian walk: National Cultural Center with curious archaeological and ethnographic collections, casino and four golf courses, dozens of excellent restaurants.

Eternal flame

Residents of the capital and other few cities Vanuatu differ from the rest of the islanders: they usually have some education, some earnings, wearing European clothes. But only a tenth of citizens live in cities, the rural population retains and to this day absolutely archaic life. To the village of Ekazup, which is still called folklore, just 20 minutes drive from Port Vila. But here, as hundreds of years ago, wearing clothes from palm leaves and Pandanus fibers or do not wear it at all, live gathering, hunting and agriculture.

This patriarchal rustic life appeared in front of me at the end barely noticeable in the thickets of paths. Small huts with mint walls, covered with palm leaves, built here without a single nail. Separately there are canopies under the same palm roofing, where the whole life of the community passes in the cyclone season. In the center of the village – the large rural area with huge banyan trees around the perimeter – all important events are held here. The giant crown of wood is supported by dozens (and large banyans and hundreds) of air roots, which over time turn out of subtle processes into powerful trunks. One tree is a whole grove, during strong cyclones, all 200 villagers find shelter from bad weather.

Rustic residents do not use either electricity or metal products, the fire is mined by friction sandalwood about a specially selected piece of wood, lining a dry, easily flammable moss. Fire can get every man on the island. As often happens, its own experience of extracting flames turned out to be much harder than it could be assumed. Despite all the efforts, besides abundant smoke, I didn’t remove anything.

It is noteworthy that tourists are allowed in Vanuatian villages, and people are allowed, people live their daily life, only slightly embedded to the arrival of guests. When guests go, the inhabitants do not remove traditional outfits (if there is something to shoot) and do not disguise in jeans, then, sowing behind the wheel of the car, go to the houses, how it happens in Australia or New Zealand. They continue to carve fire whenever you need to flood an earthen furnace, so popular in the whole Oceania.

Hunters for human flesh

The basis of the Wanuatse tables is vegetables and cereals: Kumara (sweet potatoes of huge sizes), Yams, Manica and Tarot. Climate and reds on the islands are so favorable that the crop can be removed almost monthly. Coconut, which is always at hand, occupies an important place in the ration of islanders from the ever. If suddenly, the milf for some reason cannot feed the newborn, then the peeled coconut with a punctured hole in it will replace the baby mother breast. This nut is also the basis of the hygiene of the teeth and the oral cavity: the peel from the unripe coconut is dried with teeth, which effectively cleanses them, massages and strengthens the gums. Smiles of local residents Such a whiteness also because it did not come here widespread in Papua New Guinea, the habit of chewing a Bethel Walnut (he paints a dental enamel in a reddish-brown color).

Veggie diet Aboriginal complements game. For hunting inhabitants of the village and to this day use an intricate device, known to everyone who watched films about the cannibal tribes of the Pacific Ocean. To a bent arc tree trunk, like a lion-rope with a loop at the end, which is masked on Earth. Accidentally coming on it, the victim involuntarily releases the trunk, he is sharply straightened, and the loop instantly closes around his legs or paws. But do not be afraid, cannibalism on the islands remained in the past. In general, Melanesian tribes were faced with a tendency to eat like, and new hebritis – no exception. In particular, the three first missionaries landed on one of the Archipelago Islands in 1839 were used by Aboriginal in food. It is concerned that in the 1970s, single cases of cannibals were recorded here, but in general, more successful followers of the eaten pastors managed to eradicate this practice. Victim of the current hunters Vanuatu – exclusively wild boar.

Caban, and in general, a pig, plays a special role in life not only by Vanuatsev, but also all Melanesians. In addition to the fact that this is the main source of protein food, the boar also measured the wealth and prestige of the family. Moreover, he continues to remain universal local currency. A peculiar Kaban cult was in due time turned out to be an insurmountable barrier for Islamic preachers who were forced to recognize their defeat after stunning success in the territory of modern Indonesia, which became the most crowded Islamic country in the world. Waiting for Fruma

I must say that Christian missionaries also did not move too much in educating pagans. Despite the abundance of missions on the islands, the Vanuatians are more or less in the animists. Even if they live in the city and go to church, in parallel they confess their ancient and not too ancient cults. The object of worship can be the most unexpected subject, for example a car or person … One of the curious examples is the cult of John Froum, common on Tanna Island; and I take the course to the south of the archipelago.

Traveling between islands best through air. The local flotilla is pretty fear and slow down, and remove the yacht (their many of the world here) is not so simple even if there are funds. Tanna Island is almost two times less than Efathe, but its landscape is a colorful mixture of savanna, age-old forests, green plains and harsh mountains, the highest peak of which is a stupid – 1084 meters. Here is the most accessible in the world the current volcano Yasur, to its crater you can almost arrive by car.

North-western Tanna covered in fields and bush. And in the center of the island there are household entities with fertile volcanic soils, where coconuts, coffee, vegetables and cava – "Khmelnaya" Pepper (Piper Methysticum). From the crushed roots of this plant on the islands of the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, a muddy drink of Cava Cava, which has a calming effect on the body, is boiled. When you go on Tane in the pitch darkness of the night (centralized electricity is only in one, the main city on every island), only blue lights of local "Kavashopov" – Nakamal (Nakamal), where regulars are tried in the evening and expect the arrival of their God – John Fruum.

Islands of luck

Who is John Fruum and whether there has ever been a real carrier of this name – there is no accurate information about it. It is known only that his "The first coming" The new hebritis happened to the new World War, more precisely in 1942, when American marines landed on the islands to reflect the expected invasion of the Japanese with the already occupied Solomon Islands and New Guinea. Americans turned the worldview of the Novogridtsev, filming the country with trucks, canned, cola, cigarettes and others "Luxury objects". An even greater shock for black aborigines was the fact that among the American soldiers were black. Moreover, they ate at one table with white. In general, the relationship between military personnel of different races was fundamentally different from those that the Europeans had practiced in relation to the islanders. Something appeared in these parts the cult of a half-phyphic soldier John Fruum (one of the versions, it is distorted – John from America ("John from America") – an African American, who returns to free the locals from white oppressors and bring a lot of valuable cargo (similar cults with the same genesis, spreading then throughout Melanesia, even got "generic" name – cargo-cult (from "Cargo" – cargo).

Christian missionaries in all possible "Gonia" followers of John Fruma, until the islands have become an independent republic with all the arising rights of self-determination, including religious. Since then, the inhabitants of Tanna island openly expect "Second coming" And even try to speed it up: for example, the runway is built with the aim of attracting aircraft with cargo. Some believe that Fruum will arrive on a large ship, but in any case it will happen on February 15. This day passes an annual holiday with chants, dancing and crowded processions. Their participants under the fluttering US flags with bamboo rifles on the shoulders make a pilgrimage to the red crosses installed on the holy places. Crosses, by the way, suspiciously similar to those depicted on American ambulances.

Homo Fortunatus

It’s hard to say how happy the newebriters were in the Preolonional period. Colonization clearly did not bring special reasons to the aboriginal population for joy. Actually, permanent settlements of European colonists appeared here only by the middle of the XIX century, when sandalwood was discovered on the archipelago islands. Per "Lesorbami" Plantators and missionaries stretched out – for the most part British and French subjects. Neither other settlers had a decisive numerical advantage, and in 1906 England and France agreed on joint management of the islands and sent to new hebrides on the governor. For the local population, the difference was small – they hated and panically afraid of any whites "thanks to" We travel to the workshop – "Blackberderam" ("Black Bird Hunters"). Slaves with new hebrides delivered to the reed and cotton plantations Fiji and the Australian state of Queensland in Australia until the beginning of the 20th century. Total two digits explain much: by the time the colonization began on the islands, about a million inhabitants were allegedly numbered, and by the beginning of the 1940s there were only 40 thousand.

Today, it seems, the horrors of this period are forgotten: independent vanatians, having received their lands back into legal use, open and benevolent towards foreigners, regardless of the color of their skin. Locals are always calm and fulfilled: no matter, the receptionist is or president of the country (who flew to New Zealand the same flight as me). Cordlessness on the face of Vanuatz has nothing to do with indifference: at any moment it is ready to flare up with a good-natured white-tub smile. During your stay on the islands, I did not see a single person with an unhappy or at least disadvantaged.

My personal impression is both formal confirmations: according to the results of the study under the auspices of the UN, which is regularly held worldwide, the Republic of Vanuatu ranked first on the planet for the number of happiness per capita. What is happiness, everyone, as you know, understands in its own way. Researchers were evaluated by three parameters: citizens’ satisfaction with their standard of living, the duration of this life and "Environmental load" – the amount of land necessary to provide the population and neutralization of industrial waste.

In Vanuatu, the perfect portrait of Homo Fortunatus – "Human happy": It is difficult to find a more environmentally friendly region than the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. There are no animal and insects on the islands, but fresh fruits, fish and meat – in abundance throughout the year. There are no beggars and disadvantaged in the country, although you won’t call the rich Vanuatsev. The residential neighborhoods of Port Villa are far from luxury, but here you will not meet the beggars and beggars, there is no prostitution and AIDS. Practically absent theft. In short, there is something to envy. However, Vanuatzi is a generous people: leaving, I took my happiness and happiness.

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