Sunday, 23rd September 2018


99 ways to use a coconut #14

A kid swinging on Funafala


The children use this coconut three on Funafala Islet of Funafuti atoll as a swing! Only about three families live permanently on Funafala, a 40 minutes boat trip from Fogafale, the main islet of Funafuti. However, many families come to stay here on this beautiful islet in the weekends – taking a break from the urbanized and overpopulated capital.

Tourists can rent the Kaupule (city council) house and stay there for some days to experience local life and the life on this island without any shops or connection to the world.


99 ways to use a coconut #8 – #13

A local and wastefree picnic!

Going on a picnic is a very popular Tuvaluan time-killer. You can go with your friends, your family or your colleagues (and in this tiny society your colleague is often your friend and in your family at the same time…and the other way around). You can go to a special place on the island that you live on, or choose a totally different island for the occation.

You really dont need to bring anything, you can just go looking for coconut crabs in the bush (#8), or spear fishing in the lagoon. Then you can cook it all on the beach with the help of dry coconut shells (#9). You dont need to bring barbecue cutlery, you can just use the core of a palm leave (#10).

And if it should start raining, the coconut leaves can also be used to protect the fire! (#11)

If you get thirsty, you can just grab a green coconut from one of the trees and drink the sweet coconut juice directly (#12) before you start making the plates out of the coconut leaves (#13).

And simsalabim – a completely local and wastefree picnic!


Norwegians got the cheapest petrol in Europe


Takk til Olav Brostrup Muller

LO leder Roar Flåthen trekker LOs støtte til klimaforliket (og vår felles framtid) fordi han mener det er for dyrt...

I dag kom Olav Brostrup Muller med en fantastisk pressemelding i Grovt Sagt spalten i Klassekampen som jeg må dele. Den omhandler selvfølgelig LOs nyeste klimapolistiske utspill og heter:

LO tar ansvar:

Pressemelding, 11.06.11
Landsorganisasjonen (LO)
Youngsgt. 11, 0180 Oslo

Til redaksjonen,

Det har den siste uken festet seg en oppfatning i media om at LO og Roar Flåthen har snudd i klimapolitikken. Dette er ikke riktig: Vi har bare gjentatt de synspunkter vi alltid har hatt. Faktisk var de fleste av våre klimasynspunkter ferdigformulerte allerede på slutten av 1800-tallet – så den kan dere jo tygge litt på…

LO mener bare at vi er nødt til å praktisere klimaforliket på en slik måte at det ikke rammer verdens mest miljøvennlige industri.

Heldigvis har vi ingen slik industri her hjemme, så vi risikere heller ikke at den rammes. Dette gir oss et viktig strategisk utgangspunkt, som vi er nødt til å prøve å beholde.

I tillegg har LO utarbeidet en rekke forslag til miljøtiltak:

Ved hjep av en blanding av asfaltering og utplassering av giftdeponier i tregrensa, vil problemene med gjengroing trolig være løst. Et slikt løft vil også sikre norske arbeidsplasser i byggeperioden, samt norsk kjemikalieindustri.

Mange av våre medlemmer plages av allergi, særlig om våren. Dette kan vi effektivt gjøre noe med: LO går inn for å videreutvikle norske smelteverk til å også produsere asbeststøv som så kan drysses over norske parker og skoghold fra lav høyde. Hvis trær og busker dør, har vi kommet et langt skritt i rikitg retning av å utrydde pollenallergi en gang for alle.

Vi må ha realistiske mål om hva som er praktisk mulig å kutte hjemme i forhold til hva man oppnår ved å bidra til kutt ute. For eksempel er det vanskelig for oss i Norge å utrydde beltedyret (det dreper regnskog!). Dessuten er slike beltedyr , i motsetning til tapir, kke alltid like interessert i å resirkulere papir (dette har vi forstått utfra illustrasjonene på en rekke pappkartonger her på kontoret). Beltedyret må bort, ferdig med det.

Fornøyde nå?

Jeg sier takk til Olav Brostrup Muller i Klassekampen lørdag 11.6.11 for å gi meg en god latter og sier som Olav Elgvin i samme avis – JEG SENDER DEG GJERNE NOEN BØKER ROAR!


Dumb dogs: Mammals on Tuvalu

On Tuvalu the only mammals (in addition to humans) are pigs, cats, rats and dogs.

In Funafuti, the overpopulated capital, the pigpens are everywhere – outside the houses, on both sides of the runway and some are particularly lucky, situated with an exclusive view over the blue lagoon.

The pigs are important in Tuvaluan culture. Whenever we hear a pig whaling in the neighbourhood, we know that there is an important celebration going on. The pigs are slaughtered barbecued and eaten for the community functions (it be church or island) and for weddings, funerals, birthdays and other festivities. Wealthy people have many pigs and especially on Funafuti, where the consumption of pigs is valued three times higher than on the outer islands (!).

From the Household Income & Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2010

The cats are as everywhere on earth, useful to keep the rats away at night. We have one ourselves. She really likes our garbage and whenever we had fish, she is likely to have spread the bones all over the kitchen floor by the morning. However, she doesn’t really seem to like rats so much, for our rat is still living happily in one of our drawers.

Last it is the dogs – some domesticated, others not really…and the dogs in the last category are definitely not making life better on Funafuti. Some dogs stay almost permanently on the airstrip (sometimes the planes even have to fly an extra round over the lagoon so that the ground crew can chase the dogs out of the way) and many of these might attack you.

The dog-packs run around on the island and should they find a poor female with her maturity – there will be no peace for several days. The dogs literary kill each other over the chance to multiply and the humans, sick of the continuos barking, do their best to kill or severely injure the dogs as well. On Funafuti, the police have had several unsuccessful clean up projects. The dogs are gathered and shot by the beach behind the waste dump. Then they are left, waiting for the tides to take the corps away. Some of the outer islands, like Nukulaelae, have taken to more drastic measures and here dogs are totally abolished. This might be a good solution as there is no vet on Tuvalu – leaving the country with no means to control its dog-population (or to care for them if they should get sick…).


99 ways to use a coconut #7

Kai kai, Moe moe (eat eat, sleep sleep) is not an uncommon expression.


Sleeping is an important part of life on Tuvalu. It is the ultimate time killer – if you don’t have anything to do, if you have eaten too much, if you are too hot or if you are just bored – JUST SLEEP – siesta can be at any time of the day!

Tuvalu is situated just south of the equator and the sun is always shining right upon us. This makes the heat another challenge. So at any time between nine and four can be so hot (and even hotter if there is no wind) that you actually can’t do anything but to lay down and relax if you don’t want to collapse of water shortage or a heat-stroke (this is especially true for us Palagis – foreigners), and what can then be better than a nice hammock in the shadow of two coconut trees?

But take care: After-lunch-sleeping is extremely addictive;)

Sleeping is also an integrated part of the social life. The many functions often lasts until the early morning and sometimes during several days. To the functions, the familys function kit includes a basket of food and drinks, a mat (papa – made of pandanus) and pillows (!). When the food is consumed and the speeches are made, the children and those who are tired can go to sleep for a bit and then continue the party when they are more rested.

Manuia Tepo (good night)!


99 ways to use a coconut #6

This is the modern variation of the traditional way of collecting rainwater on Tuvalu. The old way is illustrated in the Dr. Gerd Koch´s book “The Material Culture of Tuvalu” from 1961. At that time, Tuvalu was called Ellice Islands, which with her sister colony Gilbert Islands – now Kiribati -  was a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916 – 1978.


99 ways to use a coconut #5

Make coconut cream!

The coconut cream has become a world wide cooking ingredient. In Norway and most of the western world we best know the coconut cream like this:

Canned magic – the coconut cream is an easy way to make even the most boring dinner a success. Well, easy for us rich people that are as dependent on money and the supermarket as we are cut off from the nature. The natural way of making coconut cream is, however, a bit more complicated and not to forget, time consuming.

First you have to climb up in a coconut tree and get some coconuts (2-3 for a dinner maybe…). Then you have to break the outside shell so that you are left with the coconut we can buy in the shop – with the hard brown shell. Then you need to break the coconut into two pieces, pour out the water inside and start shredding out the meat. Then when you have emptied all the coconut halves, you take a cloth with small holes in and start squeezing the juice out – this is the real carbon free way of making coconut cream (unless you import the coconuts…).


99 ways to use a coconut #4

The todi

The coconut tree can be used for several things other than just eating the coconut. The sap of the tree, or the todi, can be used for several purposes such as squash or alcohol, you can cook it and make syrup or you can use it instead of milk or instead of yeast. The coconut milk and the todi are essential ingredients in Tuvaluan cooking. Syrup is, for example, the traditional source of sugar, a commodity that Tuvaluans did not have access to before the British entered the island state.

So, to get this handy coconut sap, you will have to cut one of the branches. Then, hang a small leaf that leads the sap down the bottleneck. The bottle will fill up within one day. A good Tuvaluan husband is someone that knows how to cut the branch, so that you can get a lot of todi.


99 ways to use a coconut #3

Germinated coconut

In Europe, the only way we use to eat the coconut, it is when it becomes brown. Then we break it in two parts, drink the juice and eat the white flesh, most of the time, it does not taste anything, but we have the feeling that we are eating a piece of Tropics. On Tuvalu, even the germinated coconut is eaten. It is important to explain that the seedling cannot be eaten, just the flesh inside.

The first way of cooking this germinated coconut is to mix it with todi (the sap of the coconut tree – again!) and sugar. This mix is baked and called UTANU.

The second way is to shred all the flesh of the coconut (the germinated and the usual one) and to mix it with todi. Then, the Tuvaluans cookers put it in the fridge and eat it as a salad called     Vaite.

There are many other ways, but this two ones are the most common ones on Tuvalu.


99 ways to use a coconut #2

A member of the Nukufetau community

Peace negotiator

The coconut has always been an important part of Tuvaluan culture. In some cases it has been crucial in order to ensure peace and order on the island state. Yesterday, we got to hear the story about how the coconut can work as a peace negotiator on Tuvalu and why the colours of the island Nukufetau (one of the nine islands of Tuvalu) are red and white.

A long long time ago, the Chief (Aliki in Tuvaluan) discovered, to his great fear, that a warrior had entered the shores of his beloved island Nukufetau. The warrior, with his red and white clothes and headwear, was terrifying and like nothing the king had ever seen before. The Chief was nervous. He would rather avoid any trouble on the island. The warrior looked dangerous, but the Chief had an idea. The warrior was probably thirsty as he must have travelled far. So the Chief decided to send his two daughters with a grilled coconut each to meet the red and white warrior.

When the warrior saw the two beautiful girls coming towards him, he removed his headwear and joined them to meet the Chief. It turned out that the warrior was named Laka and had come all the way from Tonga. His father, the king of Tonga, had too many children, and had sent his sons out to find other islands to rule. That was what happened. Laka became part of the island council and ruled on Nukufetau until he died in a battle on Nui some years later.

And this was the story about how the Chief of Nukufetau avoided a bloodily meeting with Laka and how the colours of Nukufetau became red and white. Everything thanks to a quick-witted Chief and two coconuts.

Maybe we all can learn some lessons from this story…

(The story was told us by the secretary for the elders council (the Falekaupule) on Nukufetau and is retold as I remember it).


99 ways to use a coconut #1

On Tuvalu it seems like the coconut can be used for almost anything. Through the next five months, we will try to find 99 ways of using this handy plant.

1- An umbrella
The most basic way of using a coconut tree is to use it as an umbrella. If it suddenly starts raining, you can just go and sit under a coconut tree. If it is too sunny, it can protect you from the sun. But watch out for escaping coconuts!