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Tanna Villages


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Their villages are simple. People still live in traditional huts with just one door and no widows. People on Tanna, Vanuatu rarely use modern building materials. Walls are made of local grass called wild cane; palm leaves cover roofs. They sleep on mats. There is no furniture. All their belongings are kept on the floor. There is no electricity, only kerosene lamps. Each family has a kitchen, which is in a very similar building, but with open fire in the center. Only women prepare meals. The main source of food comes from gardens located always outside the village, somewhere in the bush.


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Each village has special hut called nakamal. This is where men meet every evening to talk and drink kava, their traditional beverage. Kastom forbids woman not only to enter nakamal, but even walk in close proximity at the time when men gather inside.


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Kava is a non-alcoholic intoxicating beverage drunk mainly by men in south Pacific islands. Tradition in Vanuatu is that young boys prepare kava by pouring water through chewed roots getting this way a brownish fluid. If kava is strong, narcotic effect and numbness of a tongue are visible after first shot.