I am currently reading the Sex Lives of Cannibals and for anyone who wants to have another understanding of what life is like in the Pacific, I suggest you pick it up!
I have seen quite a few people reading it in my training group and they all are in agreement that we can relate to how the author is living his life in Tarawa. (Although it seems as though Sāmoa is a little more luxurious.
I love what he says about the animals because it is completely true. Although I love dearly Albert and Sativa (my cats in Colorado), I can see the point of view of Islanders out here dealing with animals. Unless they serve a purpose, what is the point of them. (Although I can argue that Albert is a world class bug catcher, along with small critter catcher. Although he catches them outside and brings them inside. I still haven’t figured out a way to train him that the catching should only be done inside.) Cats really do not have a purpose in society. (Unless you talk to my dad and he will argue that it makes amazing food in Chinatown.) They might eat a few bugs, but there are so many here that it does not seem to make much of a difference. This is why cats are at the bottom of the eating chain. (First the more important people in the household, then the children who server the food, then usually dogs and cats…if there is anything left.) Cats are treated differently than other animals in Sāmoa as they are allowed to be in the house. (However if they come too close to you while you are eating you can bet that a rock will be thrown at them repeatedly until they scram. I used to feel so badly for these cats, but it is just their way of training them. Although I have not resorted to throwing any rocks (I am told that it will change), I have began to accept them being thrown. However I do not plan to resort to these tactics.
Most dogs also do not have a purpose, unless you consider their purpose to guard your house and bark while trying to attack any visitor you may have. (Please don’t be scared mom, I swear the dogs are more tame on Savai’i opposed to Upolu.) The dogs at my house also have a purpose, to ward off the pigs. Only one of the dogs actually does it, and I think he does it approximately a quarter of the time. I have learned to enjoy his job when he is not doing it. The pigs really enjoy going into areas they know they are not supposed to be in (i.e fenced areas). When they see me they stand there in shock not knowing what to do. I then begin to run after the pig while they run fast into the locked gate several times, then realizing that it is locked after hitting their head several times, they go under the fence in the hole that they created.
When dogs start to bark uncontrollably or go someplace not allowed they are also getting things thrown at them. Dogs have thus learned that when a rock is picked up to try and run away…smart dog!
Animals are not seen as companions here. They are seen for the purpose they need them for, and in some islands in the Pacific, that could entail a food source. (On islands like Tonga dogs are eaten.)
Water in many places is based upon the water tanks, and as I have found out from asking around, that at some period of the year, the water does run out. The author deals with this situation and many more than I can see myself going though. I had so many connections while reading this book that it was great to see other people going through them. He is living on a smaller more remote island, so I can imagine things being a lot worse where he lives than on the gigantic islands of Samoa. (Gigantic when compared to many other islands here.)
So if you are interested in reading about some of the adventures I may be going through, go to the library and pick up that book!