Last night was Dailin’s birthday and we celebrated with a few of the families we love from this beautiful island of Nuku Hiva. Dailin asked if I could prepare our family favorite of Sri Lankin curry for his birthday meal. Around three oclock I took a huge package of frozen chicken out of our freezer and headed over to our friends home to cook. I used the biggest pot we have on the boat and all the rest of the potatoes and sweet potatoes and onions we had on the boat. Thankfully I brought lots of curry powder and garlic and fresh ginger. These islands have plenty of limes, coconuts and hot chili’s so we gathered what we needed and headed out in the dingy. Alyssa came with me with everything needed to make a banana cream pie. Every day, three meals a day, everyday of the week this family had insisted on cooking huge meals and island feasts for us. I wanted to make sure our meal was enough to fill everyone up.
After half and hour of cutting, peeling, grating, chopping and mincing I was ready to begin cooking my meal. Just as I turned on the heat to my huge pot our friend Coco came in the kitchen and asked if that was all I was planning on making? He then presented me with a big bowl of chicken he insisted I add. He said that Marquesas people eat a lot!!! He also presented me with a giant cauldron to transfer my meal to. I was very appreciative but hoped it would all actually get eaten. It was the most giant curry I had ever made in my whole life. He generously grated and squeezed a whole pile of fresh coconuts for my sauce. It truly smelled wonderful but I do not think they have ever eaten curry like this.
Alyssa immediately understood we would have to greatly enlarge our dessert so we requested the largest cake pan they had. Sure enough it would have fit four cakes. She made a giant pile of pastry crust and sliced the last of our huge bunch of bananas. We tripled the banana cream pudding and whipped a whole litre of whipping cream. It cost ten dollars for the cream. It looked beautiful when Alyssa set it in the freezer to cool. Many hours later as everyone was seated I prayed that there would be enough and that they would like our offerings. Thankfully I had brought roasted cashews from home because I found out you cannot buy them here. We explained about putting bananas on the curry and sprinkling cashews if desired. In the end I had to refill the cashew bowl three times and as Norm went up for his last serving he looked in the giant pot and smiled. He pointed out that it must have tasted OK since there was nothing left to scrape out. I admit I was a little shocked but so happy. Alyssa’s dessert was delicious and everyone raved on and on about it. They think Alyssa is the best cook ever. Honestly, I love having her here on the boat with me. She also made them Poubelle’s a few days ago. While Poubelle is the French word for garbage it is a dish from Normand’s missionary days in France consisting of hollowed out baguettes filled with a creamy sauce of chicken, green peppers, onions, tomatoes in a white vache-qui-rit cheese sauce. They were surprised and delighted. They eat baguettes and soft cheese with each meal but never like that.
As we are planning on leaving this morning our friends presented us with beautiful hand made island leis made out of seeds and some made out of shells collected in the Tuamotu Islands. It is hard to believe a week ago we did not even know these beautiful people. They have opened their home and hearts to us. The kids will miss sleeping in soft, dry, non-moving beds. They will miss big island breakfasts and lots of fresh water to shower. I will miss their washing machine, and the big communal kitchen. But more than any of that I will miss the generosity and love we found on Nuku Hiva. Our boat is stocked with fresh bunches of hanging bananas, huge bags of pomplemouse, baskets of mangoes and papayas, starfruits and limes. Our friends also got up early to bring us a huge bag of fresh baguettes. We will forever feel longing when we remember this incredible place. I do not know if we will ever return because it is such a remote place in the world but I realize I have actually been to this island three times in my life.