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PacificEdge | March 28, 2017

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Solomons journeys: Just a little wet underfoot

Solomons journeys: Just a little wet underfoot
Russ Grayson

THE ROAD… it’s only a minor swarth that takes you from the main thoroughfare to the office, training centre and urban farm of the Kastom Gaden Association (Solomon Island Pijin for Customary Gardening Association — KGA). And sometimes it can be a little wet underfoot.

There’s far more foot traffic than vehicular traffic on this road and were you to keep walking you would end up at a settlement on the seashore. That’s where most of those people traipsing along the road are headed to, or from.

When I first walked this stretch from where the van — for that’s what constitutes public transport in Honiara — drops you to the farm, the road wound past bush and across the narrow waters of Burns Creek on a wooden bridge. That bridge is still there but the bush has turned into a cluster of houses and the first length of road is now populated with little shops, most selling betel nut, the mild narcotic palm nut that depresses hunger and stains mouths red.

You know you’re almost there when you see the Tatua family’s organic farm where the road swings towards the sea. It’s on the family’s land that the KGA has its farm and training centre.

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No dry feet here. Fiona Campbell tries to aviod immersion in a puddle the size of a small wetland.

I have walked this road many times but my last trek proved a muddy and moist experience, thanks to recent rains. Like many such roads, this one is unmaintained and the depressions had turned into puddles… large puddles… more like small, inland seas, perhaps.

So it was that we arrived at the KGA buildings, where we were to provide a workshop in how to prepare material and place it on the organisation’s website and Facebook. Our feet were soggy and a little slippery with mud and we slid around in our sandals rather than on the muddy road.

Despite a somewhat aquatic walk, the visit was well worth the effort for the crew at KGA are an industrious lot and we had a good workshop with them. That was confirmed a couple days after returning to Australia when we found the website populated with new stories and pictures.

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Fiona crosses the wooden bridge that spans Burns Creek. The Tutua family’s organic farm lies ahead, just around the corner.

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At last — the KGA office is in sight.

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