Eating in Vanuatu

Everyday Life

Life and everyday life on Vanuatu

On the following video you can see what a day in the life of a child in Vanuatu can look like. However, the girl tells in English. Perhaps you can already speak a little English and understand everything, otherwise let your parents or teachers help you with the translation. But you can also understand a lot else.

Problems

Who knows Vanuatu?

Few people know the state of Vanuatu, a country in Oceania defined by ebizdir. The small country usually only makes it into the headlines of the newspapers when another hurricane swept over it and left a swath of devastation. These storms are also known as cyclones in the region. It was the same in March 2015 when cyclone Pam reached the islands and destroyed a lot. Such natural disasters are a constant threat to people and their everyday lives are determined by them. They live with the threat, but lately it has been the severity of the storms that has increased, not necessarily the number.

Destruction everywhere

This storm Pam destroyed a lot. 15,000 houses were damaged or broke. The eastern and southeastern islands in particular were badly affected. Houses near the beach were under water meters deep, windows were dented and doors were torn out. Water and power lines were destroyed and traffic came to a standstill. Especially in the capital Port Vila, a modern city, 90 percent of the houses were damaged.

The fear of storms remains

It was only through the efforts of many aid organizations that the construction of the country could begin again. The supply of drinking water was particularly important. The harvest was destroyed and most of the food supplies. Since a large part of the residents live from the cultivation and sale of food, the livelihoods of the people were initially destroyed.

Unfortunately, Pam was no exception. Hurricanes occur here again and again. Because the land is so flat, the waves have an easy time. Many of the island’s residents are beginning to retreat to higher regions. But then they have to leave their home, which is not easy either.

The inhabitants of the islands have had to learn to deal with disasters over the centuries, if not millennia. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and hurricanes are part of their lives. But due to the severity of the storms, the damage is always great these days.

Eating in Vanuatu

What to eat in Vanuatu

The French lived on Vanuatu for a long time until they finally left the country. What they left behind, however, was their cuisine, so Vanuatu’s cuisine remains influenced by French cuisine to this day.

What are taro tubers

Do you Taro? Probably not, right? Taro is another name for taro and one has rediscovered as a healthy food to Vanuatu. Rediscovered because it is a very old vegetable. The tubers are white-brown in color and can be up to 20 centimeters long. They can even weigh up to 15 kilograms. Incidentally, the leaves are thrown away, only the roots are used. And what happens to it? Taro is made into a dish called Simboro in Vanuatu.

A vegetable for a cyclone region

The advantage of taro: the vegetables are ideal for a region that is repeatedly hit by cyclones. The tuber is firmly rooted in the ground and is not so easy to destroy. By the way, taro can always grow, you sown it and the taro root comes out. So everyone always has something to eat regardless of the season. Taro was grown many thousands of years ago, probably before wheat. Some suspect that it is the oldest crop ever on earth. The only downside to the tuber is that it takes a lot of water to grow. Longer dry seasons, like those on Vanuatu, are troublesome.

Often people cook with the simplest means

On this video you can see how the most important dish, laplap, is prepared on Vanuatu with the simplest means. It is still quite common in the country to cook like this.

What is kava?

A drink that is popular in Vanuatu is called kava. Although this drink does not contain alcohol, it is said to have an intoxicating effect. In terms of taste, the brownish liquid should be reminiscent of rinse water. It is made from the roots of a pepper plant, which is crushed into powder and mixed with water. Kava is very important to the residents of Vanuatu, so guests have to try it, anything else would be impolite to the hosts. Kava is traditionally drunk from coconut shells. The drink was originally reserved for men only.

Eating in Vanuatu

Economy

Most of the people work in agriculture

Most of the people on Vanuatu work in agriculture. They grow coconuts, peanuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, vegetables and various tropical fruits. The livestock industry is also important, cattle and pigs are kept.

Fishing also serves as a source of nutrition. The industry is not that far developed, mostly the harvested products are further processed. There are also traditional handicrafts (see everyday life). There are no natural resources on the islands that are worth mentioning.

Tourism is growing

The small state earns most in the area of services. For example, there are a lot of banks on Vanuatu. In addition, there is the income from tourism. Due to the beauty of the landscape, tourists are always drawn to the islands. There are also many luxury hotels on Efate Island. The islands are also frequented by large cruise ships, most of which come from Australia.