Young mother getting the lines all crossed up.
* * *
Austin invited some friends from Lautoka to come to the farm for a Happy Chicken workshop …. and also to give us a masi making workshop. Well, Alex got the “workshop” – the rest of us got a “demonstration”
It was at this stage when I showed up.
Wati and Lisa are peeling the inner bark from the outer bark. The outer bark, which used to be a waste product, can now be sold for paper making. (So maybe we’ll figure out how to make paper here, if we start doing masi stuff.)
Once the bark is peeled, it is rolled up and put water to soak.
Oh! Here are more masi trees arriving. (Thank you, Eseta and Winky)
The gang brought their pounding board and their pounders or spreaders. Notice the grooves? The pounder has 4 unique sides: one with wide grooves, medium grooves, small grooves, and none – just smooth. Each side is used at a different point in the operation.
Now Susana and Wati are starting the pounding process – each with a pounder, using the widest teeth side.
(Just an aside – Austin and I went to see the movie “Moana.” In one of the screenshots of the Polynesian village, there are three people sitting at one of these boards, each with a strip of bark cloth. I was so excited to recognize what I had just seen in real life 2 days earlier!)
Meanwhile, more bark is being stripped.
Alex – a farm resident who is also my son-in-law’s brother – is getting his first lesson. But what to do with all these leftover sticks?
Oh, yes – that works! I am also thinking perhaps a new handle for the leaf rake.
The process takes hours. The pounded out strips were soaked. Now Wati is wringing two of them and placing them one on top of the other, and also folding each “foot to head.” You can see how much wider the bark is already. The next pounding is of this four-ply together.
Here it is at the end of the pounding – with an original bark strip for comparison.
And here it is drying on our table overnight. (It would have been left to dry on the floor, but the ladies did not want cat footprints on it.) You can see the masi is longer than the table and nearly as wide. That piece is made of two of those skinny masi trees only.
To make a larger piece of masi, they glue pieces like this one together. A tree sells for $2 (this has $4 of “tree”). This unprinted masi would sell for about $20. When printed it could sell for $60. Value Added !!
* * *
This is our Peruvian purple corn. Austin made a really delicious drink out of it with ginger and cinnamon. Healthy.
* * *
And a really magnificent turn…. the government fixed our road. Just like they said they would – four years ago. Fiji time 🙂 – it doesn’t mean “never” but it does mean “be patient.”
* * *
Happy week, everybody.
* * *