Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Palm Wine

© by Chad Finer

© by Chad Finer

© by Chad Finer

© by Chad Finer
This series shows Pa Sam first gearing up and then climbing a palm tree near his farm in order to get palm wine to drink. As mentioned in the previous blog palm wine was thirst quenching on a hot day, yet it was an acquired taste - very yeasty and fermented to give it an alcohol content. It took me a while to get used to it - and I found it very filling. On this day Pa Sam had finished the slash and burn process and was planting rice on the uplands. He would throw (broadcast) the rice seed out and then "scratch" it into the soil with an adze. I was there to help him out - along with Patrick Garlough, his "brother" Emile, and I think "little" Alfred Garlough. The farm sat on a hill above the village of Vaama Nongowa - this was where Pa Sam lived with his wife Massa.At mid-day Pa Sam went up a nearby palm tree (clearly he did not have a fear of heights) at the edge of the clearing and came down with a container (a "bulie" which was a dried gourd with a cork-like top)full of palm wine that we all shared. Given that it had an alcohol content one could get intoxicated if you drank too much. However I remember it being very thirst quenching on that hot humid day. Although I noted above that I helped that day scratching the rice seed into the soil with an adze, I probably was not very helpful as the skin of my hands was soft and I remember rapidly blistering as I worked on. As usual I had my cameras with me to document Pa Sam heading up the tree - and somewhere I have pictures of the planting process as well.

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