Banaban Voice

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Days Of Our Lives on Rabi Island - Cruise of the Lady Bug

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A few days after our arrival at Albert Cove, Bill and Tekete's older daughter Tabeta arrived and livened the place up with her laughter and cheeky humour. She is almost the same age as Rara (thirty something) and the two hung out together to gossip and laugh as young women do in any culture. As I got to know them better, they opened up and told me more about their personal lives. Tabeta's first husband, whom she had loved, had been bitten by a shark while diving in deep water off the reef at Albert Cove. His four diving buddies had taken him to the clinic at the village but had not staunched the blood draining from his leg, so he died from blood loss. He was only nineteen. Tabeta was six months pregnant at the time and their daughter is now being raised by the in-laws. She later adopted her cousin Rara's six month old baby boy.
Tabeta catching breakfast

We found out that marriages are arranged by the parents although two people who love each other can ask permission to get married. Most couples have large families. Children are often adopted by extended families in cases of separation or if they cannot financially afford to keep the child. Sadly, physical abuse (wife beating) is also fairly common.

Some of Bill's family - Taipau, Pauline, baby Steven, Kasipoa, Bill, and Tabeta - note giant grog bowl on left made from oyster farm float.

The families we met were devout Catholics (all wore rosaries around their necks) and we later visited their church, Our Lady Fatima, in Tabwewa. On Sundays at Albert Cove they prayed to the Virgin at an altar set up in Rara and Panea's house. This brought back memories of the Mexican fishermen who often had shrines close to their remote fishing shacks in the Baja.

Rani and Tabeta cooking rotis

As we spent more time ashore, our lives slowed down to the rhythm of Rabi time. 

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