Avocado Adventure

We set off after school on a mission - hike to BekaBeka village for the Thursday afternoon produce market. It was rumored that they would have avocados. Avocados. How far was it to the village? Who cares! Avocados! How do we get there? Who cares! Avocados!

On shore, Samantha gives us a quick set of directions. Get to the logging area, go through the carvers village, cross three rivers, turn left at the war canoe, and then follow the bigger path. I felt like we were on an episode of Dora the Explorer as I walked along repeating the vague instructions over and over in my head.

“Through the logging site, past the carver’s village, across three rivers, left at the war canoe, along the wide path, and up to the land of avocados. Logging site, carver’s village, three rivers, war canoe, wide path, avocado land...”

Crossing a river on bamboo bridge

Along the way, folks working in their yards came out to greet us, but Matt pressed on, unsure of how long this hike actually was. The distance we’d been told by numerous people along the way was even more vague than the directions. There was no time for pleasantries - avocados awaited.

Somehow I managed to shuffle along the rickety, bouncy bridges, in spite of my wobbling knees and much to the amusement of everyone else! Narrow bridges of rounded bamboo poles barely held together are not my thing.

Major logging operation (yikes!)
Thankfully, after hiking for two hours, we found BekaBeka village (which really was a secondary school campus and not a village at all). A man greeted us on the path and in response to our queries about the market he shook his head.

“No market til 4 o’clock today.”

Uh-oh. The people in Peava said it was at 2ish. Hmm. If we wait for an hour or so, then it will get dark on our hike back. That’s not going to work. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. We weren’t going to give up so easily, especially after a two hour trek.

SDA campus
The campus was expansive and nicely maintained as a private SDA school that receives support from the SDA church. One man we spoke to said he was visiting the headmaster because his son was expelled last year when he was caught chewing betel nut. The Adventists in the Solomons can be easily recognized. They are the only ones without the bright red lips and dyed teeth that result from the customary chewing of the betel nut and caustic lime concoction. I guess it’s a ‘one strike and you’re out’ rule on campus, but luckily his son would be allowed back for the new school year and given another chance.

“Are there any avocados around?” We didn’t miss the chance to ask yet another person about the sought-after fruit. But again, the answer was “not yet”.

Cooking house
Finally, though, on our way out of the campus, we tried one more time. The cook’s wife said hello as she was cooking the biggest pot of rice I’d ever seen in the cooking house. We made small talk, and then got down to business. Desperation was setting in and the sun was getting lower in the sky.

“You don’t by chance know if there are any avocados for sale anywhere around here, do you?”

“Well, the market isn’t starting for a while, but... there is one tree over in the yard of a vacant staff home. I could show you where it is and maybe you could find some there.”

Avocado tree!!  At last!!
JACKPOT! A gaggle of kids joined us in our hunt through the brush that surrounded the spindly tree, warning us to watch out for the centipedes. But even biting centipedes could not deter us. One avocado. Two. Ew, a mushy one. Three. Four. I felt like I was a kid searching the churchyard for Easter eggs! The ever-helpful Solomon Islanders would not quit there, though! A young man was fetched to climb the tree. Somehow, he climbed holding a long pole, and managed to knock at least 7 more out of the tree and right into Matt’s outstretched hands.

In a matter of minutes, our bag was heavy with fruit. The cook’s wife told us that they don’t really eat the avocado, except to put it on bread, like butter. As we left, Matt and I rattled off the recipe for good old guacamole, and she seemed excited to try something new. I pulled a packet of cabbage seeds from my bag, and gave it to her as a simple thank-you for her help, and we set off on our hike back home. Mission accomplished. It’ll be guacamole tonight!!!

It's sushi on Perry tonight!

Mark and Michael almost back after a long journey hunting for avocados in the bush!


  1. Lori Cody (your Mum's friend)July 5, 2017 at 4:34 AM

    Love this adventure. Would it be ok to ask a couple of Caribbean sailing friends to join your bloc?
    I think they would love it too.


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