Friday, 6 June 2008 1:40 PM

Networking over Betel Nut Session

Networking is a term used in more office-setting scenario but for the laid back Solomon Islanders, this is applicable in all setting.

One classic case that depicts the laid back lifestyle is the chewing betel nut session that is seen all over town.

Betel nut is a native fruit of Solomon Islands which is linked to the cultural norms of the islanders.

"Betel nut is used as a traditional welcome gesture that is given to guests visiting the rural communities," Solomon Times was informed.

The habit of chewing betel nut was traditionally acceptable among the old people during important meetings among elders in the villages, or when occasions such as bride price taking place.

Today however, things are different because even a five year old kid can be seen chewing betel nut.

In an interview with Solomon Times, Michael Livio from the Western Province said that although he does not chew betel nut, from his observations, people who chew the fruit have a lot of friends.

"Betel nut chewing involves a lot of relaxing interaction among the people so it is turning into a social activity," Mr. Livio said.

For a lot of betel nut chewing people approached, they said that they make a lot of friends just going up to a stall to buy and chew.

"We stand around with other chewers to share the bottle of lime and that is where interaction and friendship takes place," one man told Solomon Times.

Another one said that he chews betel just to keep him busy.

Others revealed that chewing the fruit makes them feel energetic and lively to tell a lot of stories.

Another woman told Solomon Times that when she chews the fruit, she feels like telling a lot of stories because it gives her a very happy feeling.

"When I am not chewing the fruit, I will feel sleepy and also feel very bored," she added.

Today selling betel nut is becoming a fast income earner for most as the interest grows rapidly in the Solomons.

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