Vaghal Small Nambas Tour at Vao
One hour north of Malekula’s main city of Lakatoro is the village of Hone. Hone Vaghal, or “secret magic place of the village Hone,” is home to a tribe of Small Nambas. Small Nambas are one of Malekula’s native peoples who were once headhunters and cannibals. Today, they are a welcoming and hospitable people that carry on the peaceful traditions of their ancestors.
The Hone Vaghal Small Nambas Tour at Vao is a half-day activity where visitors are encouraged to learn the old customs from native people in traditional dress. This tour is also only short walk from the Tam-Tam Bungalows. When visitors arrive they are met by the high chief who will personally welcome them and introduce the Small Nambas in the village. Guests will witness local games, crafts and old practices such as devil hunting.
The highlight of the tour is the history and story of the Small Nambas told through traditional dances. Guests will see several dances including a bird dance, war dance and the Namagi life ceremony dance. The dancing concludes with a public dance that all guests are encouraged to join with the Small Nambas dancers. Examples of old magic, bird catching and fire making will also be demonstrated.
The tour concludes with a small feast of a local delicacy called sor-sor lap-lap that is cooked with hot stones and served with coconut milk. Sor-sor lap-lap is a root vegetable cake made with yams, taro or manioc. It is a meal that is meant to be shared with friends and family. The vegetable is pounded and placed on a layer of lap-lap leaves. Coconut milk is squeezed out of freshly grated coconut, and pieces of meat are added. The leaves are wrapped up around the food, and everything is cooked together in the leaf parcel.
When finished cooking, the leaves are opened up on the ground, everyone sits in a circle and shares the meal. The Hone Vaghal Small Nambas hope that all guests leave with a little bit of the secret magic of Hone.