National Geographic : 1972 Jan
stories about their customs and crafts. Metak, for his part, seemed most interested to learn that not all namba wearers live on Malekula. "Ee got plenty man all same you?" he asked Bong. And Bong assured him, "Ee got plenty little bit." Later during the trip, Bong and I traveled into northern Malekula's steep hills, so that he could visit the once-cannibalistic Big Nambas of Amok. Bong had first met some Big Nambas while working at the huge United States base on Espiritu Santo during World War II. The Big Nambas had not yet come under the control of the Anglo-French Condomin ium, and a strong hereditary chieftainship provided leadership. The tribe practiced warfare and limited cannibalism until perhaps the late 1940's, when the condominium was able to extend its administration over the area. Just before we arrived at Amok, Bong turned to me and asked, "Kal, you thing Big Nambas savvy kaikai [eat] you me?" Though I suspected he was jesting, I assured him that we would be safe. I had visited the Big Nambas several times, and nothing unpleasant had happened. In fact, because these people are easier to contact than the Small Nambas, they frequently receive visitors from the outside and are more accustomed to tourists. Amok, the only Big Namba village of consequence, with 100 inhabitants, is located about 30 miles from initiations, funeral feasts, or social grad- Not to be outdone by the festively dressed girls at a ing rites. So tame do pigs become that Nimangi grading ceremony, a Small Namba boy sports they lie like dogs at their owners' feet. a honeycomb headgear decorated with bright blossoms.