9 January 2014

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The picture at the top is normal bananas – a stalk of them hanging in our kitchen.
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Bananas have cousin in Fiji called “vudi”  (pronounced VOON-dee).   They are much fatter than a regular banana, and really have to be cooked to be enjoyed.   The typical dish here is fully ripe, boiled and served with coconut cream.  Yum.   
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Here is Akka holding a stalk of vudi.  Can you see the difference?
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The vudi bush is nearly twice as tall as a normal banana bush.   This is really all I’d planned to say about  vudi.   I was planning to show some photos of the geese (snooze) and some bugs (yuck) … but last night…..
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Austin brought up the heart of a vudi bush he’d cut down.   We knew that some banana hearts are edible, so he wanted to try this one.
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And then he discovered that the vudi heart has incredible fibers!
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So today, Austin kept playing with it.
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He tried wrapping his finger with it.   Lua (visiting daughter) remembered that when she was in kindergarten in Pohnpei, she cut her foot really badly once.   The teacher cut down a nearby banana bush, took the heart, beat it with a stick, took a handful of the pulp and put it on her foot.  It stopped the bleeding.  She was grateful for that – it was nicer than getting a wound beaten with a sandal, which was the village treatment she’d experienced before.
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The vudi fibers made a very good-looking bandage.
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So Austin made more that he spread into a gauze.   The gauze is soft, slightly sticky, and very absorbent.  We came up with a lot of possible uses for it.    Austin noticed how strong the fibers are, and thinks we might be able to make rope from it, if necessary.   Then came the question, can we use it for a wick?  So some old cooking oil in a small bowl – a bit of the banana fiber – TA DA!   Instant lamp!   Yes, we can use it for a wick.
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So, for all these reasons, VUDI is the star of the blog for this week.  And, with all those other benefits, it turns out that the vudi heart IS edible – it is sweet and tasty.  Surprise, surprise, surprise.
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8 thoughts on “9 January 2014

  1. My handsome husband Nigel has just informed me that in Rabi island he witnessed people using young Vudi leaves to heal deep cut wounds. A man stepped on glass and got a deep cut on his foot. They took the youngest leaves from the vudi tree -the ones poking straight up that haven’t unfolded yet, the part closest to the base- chewed it up and spit it on the wound. They re-applied it each morning 4 days in a row and it worked very well (better than the other leaf they use in the rest of Fiji for cuts- mile-a-minute/”wabasucu” and “botebotekoro”). He’d seen it once before as a child in Naisogovau with a kai Rabi relative doing it when his cousin got his leg cut with a sharp cane knife accidentally in a “let’s see who’s knife is sharper” game with his friend after filing their cane knives. Healed with vudi leaves.

    • Hey Clara – that’s great info. Please ask Nigel for any other local medicine memories from Fiji and send them to me. I’ll poke around the farm and see if we have that stuff here, and we can play with it. Thanks and big hugs to Nigel.

  2. Absolutely fascinating. Forget the geese and bugs – they can wait another week. I really enjoyed the exploration of vudi.

  3. I tell you what- there is NO ONE in my life from whom I could learn these things. So, thank you! And the other lesson is this- it’s only those who actually have time to imagine (instead of working till they drop and having zero time for creativity) that invent, create, and move us forward. Down time is critical for the future.

  4. Indians has been using banana stem fibre as wick for many centuries, We use the leaves as disposable plates, we eat the flower and stem, we dry the outer layer of stem to use as string and rope, the fibre for clothes and wick and of coz the banana…Its good to know you’ve found the ways of using it as well.

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