He came up to me with a pair of scissors, “This will get it out,” he said as he pointed to my leg.
“No, no, no!” I replied knowing that he failed at looking for a needle to help me.
Finally with the use of fingernails, he took the tiny shards of coral that were causing me pain out of my leg.
In several places, I think my leg got infected, but I did a good job cleaning up the rest of it, so I am no longer seeing green there.
How did this all happen? Am I really that accident prone?
Well maybe… but I was fishing for palolo.
I had heard that palolo, the sperm of the coral, were coming either Monday night, Tuesday night, or Wednesday night, and after getting it wrong several times last year, I wasn’t going to miss it this year.
My sister and I awoke at 3:30 in the morning, not sure when the others would be going. We decided to head to the bus stop to wait it out and watch. Lying around the bus stop we saw many people with their homemade palolo nets and buckets going either left or right. Right was the ones who would try to catch palolo in the next village, and the left were the ones who enjoyed a “rocky” start and would climb on rocks to use our village water.
Finally we saw one of the teachers from my school and set off with her. We were going to our neighboring village, which was nice. When we arrived there were very few people on the sand, but soon, it became more crowded with people playing music to make it like a beach party. If you looked tai, in the ocean you would see half a dozen men with flashlights scanning the cold morning water, ready to let others know when to jump in with their nets. They screamed out many updates, such as, “Maybe this is the wrong day.”
Finally, maybe half passed five, the time had come and everyone bound for the water. It was an amazing site to see, because many of them had flashlights, they were all pointed at the water, and we had gotten so used to the night’s sky being our only source of light. It was beautiful to watch everyone at work. They did their own, “palolo dance” to capture them in their nets.
One of my year 8 students who had a huge national exam was in the water, because he knew palolo catching is one of the best days of the year. (I am NOT saying this is a good test taking strategy to wake up in the middle of the night to do this…) Other kids were having the time of their lives, picking up some of the sperm and eating it fresh.
Finally when the sun became to come up, and we would be able to see what was happening, my sister and I headed into the water. I only stayed on the sandy bottom, but there were still many palolo swimming my way. I was amazed at how long they were.
It was so nice to be a part of my village and go kapalolo. It really is an experience that shows you pure acceptance into the village.
Besides who doesn’t love a slimy wormy sperm from the ocean to eat in the morning?