Why Have Thou Forsaken Me!
There gave been lots of support for the tearing down of some of our market locations. Interestingly, only betel nut market locations are targeted. Certain comments such as "Theres such a bold action which will set the pace for a beautiful Honiara", comments relating to drugs, and illegal activities are all but some of the justifications and victory chants. I wonder what a beautiful Honiara means? Skin deep beauty but dying on the insides? An expat friend of mine mentioned once that he does not want to come to Honiara to see another New York. He is here to see our culture and traditions and how we live. Remember people remember their interactions with other people rather than inanimate objects.
It is too bad that we are stereotyping mainly because illegal activities will happen in any popular meeting point be it our markets, soccer pitches, wharf fronts. Using the same judgment criteria it seems the main market is close to getting bulldozed as it has its worse share of criminal activities escalating as far as stabbings. Aren't there supposed to be laws to curtail illegal activities. Be-aware that there are more illegal drugs in Columbia and other western nations without betelnut stalls.
I remember the Late Solomon Mamaloni getting his bag of betelnut through Brisbane Immigration to share with friends. It was part of a luggage this famous son of the Solomon's never went without. Bart Basia during his many commentaries at Lawson Tama never went without his dose and no one ever seemed to mind. The City Council mayor chews it, its part of a tradition that is still going strong.
A lot of our work force managed to get their current jobs because their parents sold betelnut and a whole lot of students nowadays go to school because of this plant. It is not an illegal product, and it is as timelessness as the story of Headhunting, of Rapu'anate and of Hauhari'i.
All we need is just one location for vendors to call home, somewhere where they do not have to feel like strangers in their own country. I remember Kukum market getting torn down, followed by the Rove market and White River markets, barbaric acts against humanity. Is it because these locations promote a lot of sexual immorality and drunken stupor such as our night clubs do? Do they cause as much dismay and consternation as our RCDF's and the popular $50,000 grants did? Is it because it is foreign introduced? The look of things is that the frown is targeting the wrong way of life. Bless you the night clubs and the casinos and the RCDF's, you are not to blame. Haves vs. the have-nots and we know who always looses.
I sometimes chew my betelnut late in the evenings and sit back and reflect on life's intricacies' and in my times of loneliness, betel nut is a friend indeed. More than once when purchasing a betelnut, I've smiled and off handedly told the struggling mothers selling betel nut to "no worry.. keepim change" because I know these small profits will add up to fight the evils of a third world curse, that of the lack of access to foreign means of survival such as education, clothes, food for money, and the vendors in turn have always offered me the extras from their own bags.. bonus ones.
How many countless friends I've met over a betelnut I can not remember, not because of memory loose attributes caused by chewing betelnut but because they are indeed countless and I have figured out that they are more genuine than beer friends.
I do not encourage people chewing betel nut, but as they say "One person's garbage is another person's food". But I see the daily struggle that instills in the vendors that determination to lose sleep and get that extra buck legally for a belief, as well as serve their customers at any time of the day. If only our leaders can have half the determination, drive, belief and resilience these guys have.
If I were to have lots of money, I'd build a barge over the sea where vendors can sell their supplies.. Its no ones land. But I do not have that sort of money. Imagine the sight of James Tora and Nati in a canoe paddling to get some betel nut. Different works of live appreciating a simple Solomon Island snack.
Somehow, some people somewhere are not seeing the reality that one mans poison is another mans food... and they do not see the background benefits. That of the School fees, the bus fares, the tuck shops springing up in the villages and that new dress struggling vendors sister is wearing.
But I'm day dreaming too much. Back to reality, damn! This is just as bad because these vendors are our citizens and we can not keep ignoring them. Clean people sitting in offices, give us dirty people a break! Give us a legal location where you can come and visit us more often than you go to your offices.
Oh brother..Why have thou forsaken me.
Why Have Thou Forsaken Me?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Sisco Wa'ahero and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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