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…)
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: