Black and White Sunday: Tribe

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

We lived on the island of Tanna (that has just been severely hit by Cyclone Pam) for several years in the nineties. The local peoples lives were certainly lived in tribal (family ) groups each headed by a Chief. The circumscision ceremony was held when the boys returned to the village after having been held in the bush for three months with only the men for company. The procedure is performed by the ‘Clever’ (witchdoctor) with a sharpened piece of cane when the boys are three to eight years old. My time on Tanna is the subject of my memoir  Nightmare in Paradise which is in its last edit.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

In response to Black and White Sunday

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in Cee's Black and white Challenge, Memoir, photography, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Black and White Sunday: Tribe

  1. Interesting story Irene. Excellent pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible shots. I cannot wait to read your memoir, Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula says:

    Dear Irene, I feel privileged that you shared this post with me. Please forgive me for not showing up sooner. This is a terrific set of photos that is showing something I never have a chance to see in person. Congratulations on your memoir and these wonderful captures. Thank you (you are the winner :D)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Black & White Sunday: Tribe (response to Guest Challenge) | Lost in Translation

  5. Pingback: Guest Challenge: Tribe (B&W Sunday) | Lost in Translation

  6. Charli Mills says:

    Such a rare glimpse into a different culture. Do you know if circumcision is their own idea or from outside influence? It must feel so good to run about with one’s buns free to the air! I can’t wait to read your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sherri says:

    Can’t wait to read your book Irene…last edit, wow! And wonderful photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tish Farrell says:

    Wonderful photos, Irene. Real documents when such ways of living are well on the wane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was a period of my life that had a huge impact on me. I’m glad I am snap happy as I have a huge archive of photographs from a period of life which certainly is on the wane and will be gone in many respects before long. What won’t go quite as quickly are the belief systems underlying the culture and this I found particularly fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell says:

        Yes, me too on the belief systems. Ever since we left Africa in 2000 (after 8 years) I’ve been digging away trying to reconstruct the rest of the iceberg to go with the tip I observed. It’s when people start taking on board the ‘received wisdom’ that they are uncivilised if they believe things in certain ways, that I start hopping up and down. Male circumcision is massively practiced in East Africa, as a boy cannot be considered a man otherwise. As with your experience though, much of this is now being carried out in local clinics, which is good for health, but the long period of learning in the bush either doesn’t happen or is much truncated. It has left a real knowledge gap in social relations, and especially responsibilities in marriage, which in many ways incoming faiths have not replaced.

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      • We haven’t lived there since it has been the practice to do the procedure in hospital but still have the time in the bush so I don’t know what effect it has had on society and the culture. Belief systems serve a purpose in the society in which you live, allowing you to survive in the environment you find yourself in. As that environment changes (as the west encroaches) the belief systems aren’t the right fit. Unfortunately this is happening at such a rapid pace that doesn’t allow for the gradual change. When it happened in the west it occurred over centuries, not a matter of twenty years.

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  9. The images could be hundreds of years old, but the encroachment of modern civilization happens so quickly and is so consuming. These photos are a treasure. All over the world, ancient societies give way to modernization. So much loss, the extinction of nation hood in an old sense.

    Liked by 1 person

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