The People of Yakel

Tewada and a little boy

Hi Everyone,

on one of our evenings on Tanna Island our host Kelson showed us the movie „Tanna“ (you won’t believe it, on a really large TV screen ;-). This film was awarded with several international prizes, among others at the film festival in Venice 2015. It tells the true and tragic story of a forbidden Romeo and Juliet-love in the 1980ths on Tanna.

All ancient customs which are presented in the film are still alive today, and only the rule of arranged marriages has been changed because of the suicide of the two lovers. A great movie – which was filmed only in Vanuatu – and with the people of the village Yakel as actors.

Last week we visited the village Yakel. Yakel has 186 inhabitants, a meeting place – the so-called Nakamal –  a large garden area with fruits and vegetables, lots of pigs, a house for each family and a guest treehouse 😉 – but no electricity, no running water and clothes are mainly made of tree barks. Various places of the village are tabu for women, also for female tourists like me (Eltje)… All in all, the way of life of past centuries.

Even the movie has not changed Yakel. It is simply too remote. Only from time to time some visitors arrive, who are welcomed very friendly – and who can buy some traditional clothes and pig tusks-necklaces. Pietro liked the namba, the penis sheath, which is in principle the only male garment. And what should I say – he now owns a namba 😉

Probably the current inhabitants of Yakel are the last generation(s) of an ancient tribe. Because parts of modern life now reaches Yakel, such as compulsory education etc. – and Nutella. Mmmh, yes, we couldn’t resist, we had to bring sweets (& crayons) for the cildren because they really love it (and the adults as well…)

Click here to meet the People of Yakel with us:

Check out the cool images we took at Yakel at the bottom of this message.

With regards from Yakel – „Iman“ (in their language)

Eltje & Pietro

 

P.S. For those of you who are interested in some more details about the movie Tanna here is the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc3j_FHzzmc

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Tanna Island

Tanna Vanuatu Custom Village

Hi all,

… as promised we are back again with some more details about Tanna Island.

Beside incredible volcano Mt. Yasur Tanna is home to beautiful remote beaches and traditional tribes.

In southern Tanna there is a tiny little village called Port Resolution, named after James Cook’s sailing ship „Resolution“, when he touched down there in 1774. At Port Resolution’s southern end there is a dreamy white sand beach where you are completely on your own for swimming, snorkling etc. (welcome back to Robinson Crusoe feeling ;-). And in total contrast, on its nothern side, there is a black sand beach where you’ll find the locals fishing, chilling and their children playing in the shallow water. If you observe this scenery you get the feeling how life, and in particular childhood, really should be: carefree…

All locals still live in their villages and according to ancient customs that have been inherited through centuries. There are strong relationships between villages and tribes on the basis of inter-village marriages. When talking to the people, you immediately get the impression that everyone is related to everyone 🙂

Every village welcomes visitors. The people share insights in their daily life and customs, many of them still perform traditional dances. Every dance and song has a completely different meaning, you’ll be suprised if you ask about its content: one dance we saw was about the Chinese people coming to Tanna to build new roads, but the locals don’t like their heavy and noisy vehicles… 😉

Language is also an interesting topic…. There are 6 different languages on Tanna (out of 82 across complete Vanuatu). If you think you are able to communicate with the locals a little bit with your newly learned Bislama vocabulary – mmmh – no. Not even the word for „Thank you“ is the same in all these various languages.

To give you a better impression of Tanna’s people and environment here another video from us:

Click here to join us on our trip around southern Tanna

 

And some more cool impressions from the island as pictures…

…..the beaches with the locals

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

…. a custom village

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Custom Village Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

…. the bush “supermarket” under the banyan tree

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

… the ashplaines around Mt. Yasur

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

And finally look here – our accommodation on Tanna, the treehouse and its surroundings:

Tanna Vanuatu treehouse Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

 

In addition to a moderate traditional life on an island like Tanna, there are still tribes that live life completely according to ancient custom rules. One of these fascinating tribes is the village Yakel.

As there is a great story behind it we’ll share the insights of the „People of Yakel“ in a separate blog next time.

See you then!

With sandy & sunny regards,

Eltje and Pietro