By Quinn, Nation, and Millett
Published here with authors’ permission
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The Pacific is the largest ocean in the world and has more than 5,000 islands. These islands make up many different countries, but together they are called the Pacific Islands. The Pacific Islands are always warm and the weather is the same for most of the year. Between the months of April and November, there is less rain and some cool winds but the weather is still warm. The people of the Pacific Islands came from Asia a long time ago. We know this because a few of the words in their many different languages are the same as words in Asian languages.
In the following story we can see how life was in a Pacific Island village many years ago. Today, many places in the Pacific have changed, but it is good to look back to see how life was in the old days.
A day in the life of a Pacific Island village.
The life of the village begins when the sun comes up. The shouts of the young men are heard among the trees. They call to one another as they get ready to go to their work. As the sun begins to shine on the soft brown roofs and the tall thin trees, birds call and the noise of the sea is mixed with the noise of the village. Babies cry and little children roll out of their beds and walk down to the sea to wash their faces. Children go to find their friends to go fishing. The whole village opens its eyes and goes towards the sea.
Some of the men get ready to take the boats out fishing. Through the village a noise calling the young men together is heard. They come from all parts of the village. Some go with their digging sticks to work in the village garden. Others work in their own gardens. Some go to get food to bring back to eat on that day. Little children are too hungry to wait for the first meal of the day so they eat the food left over from the day before. Women carry washing to the river at the far end of the village, while the older girls go fishing or make cloth.
In the houses, the older women and the mothers with young babies sit and talk about the day. They laugh and call to each other. The old men sit by themselves rolling leaves to make rope. Some families are already hard at work cooking the food which has been brought from the village gardens. Children are running backwards and forwards, carrying water, helping each other and getting in each other’s way. They get leaves to put the food in before it is cooked.
At twelve o’clock, the ground burns the feet of the little children, and they run into the houses. Some women carry leaves to keep the sun away from their faces. Everything is quiet and as the sun slowly moves towards the sea, someone shouts out ‘a boat’. The men bring their boats out of the sea and pull them on to the land. They are tired because the day has been hot. The fish are put on the floor, or in front of the houses until the women pour water on them. The men come home from the gardens. They go together to a big meeting house to drink and talk, and then everyone eats the food that the women have made. The day is almost finished.