Aug. 28 – cooking in Katobengke

Another day another village, and yes more food.  The Rally shuttled us to Katobengke to watch women prepare some local food served as snacks or desserts.  It became a bit chaotic when we were invited to participate in the pounding and shaving and rolling and boiling.  Some of us concentrated on taking photos and early on I saw a woven basket I was interested in buying.  That led to lengthy negotiations and confusion about price which led to a big crowd gathering to watch the outcome.  I don’t know what happened but when the price got too high I declined, then some uniformed guy stepped in for a long conversation with the seller and suddenly the basket was offered at the original price.  Lucky me.

We were invited in to their homes, bamboo boxes on stilts that shook when you walked on the thin reeds.  As we were leaving one of the women gave me her sarong as a thank you gift for taking her photo.  I gave her a bottle of glitter nail polish (I carry several for emergency gifts) and she was thrilled.

Next stop was Palabusa village where they farm seaweed and grow oysters and pearls.  There was the usual war dance, always entertaining, some drumming and gong work, and of course lunch on our laps.  I spent quite a bit of time walking through this village with a new guide, Yuni, who had excellent English.  She and I felt an instant bond and I enjoyed hearing about her desire to continue her studies in another country with her family.

The next day we had free so we made arrangements to meet our guides from Buton, Uly, Sila and Reby.  They picked us up at 8:30am and drove us to a building full of independent shops, to the Keraton fortress, a homestay to wait while their friend went off to pray, then we all went to lunch at Lakeba.  End of the day everyone came back to Chesapeake, in two dinghy trips.  What a delight these young women are.  They are so full of energy and we enjoyed long conversations about our desires, culture differences, boyfriends, clothes.  It was fun seeing them in their normal clothes totally relaxed, and goofing around like photo models.  It was a sad goodbye but we had to ready the boat to leave in the morning.

more photos to come but we’re getting ready to leave and I’m losing my internet.

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