National Geographic : 1992 Jul
know any better. When I seemed to be taking too lively an interest in these exotic meals, Simon said, "But I have heard that in America you eat crocodiles some- times, and we never do that." M UNUWATAiS a small island in the long chain of islands that forms the western edge of the archi- pelago. It is so far away that Munuwatans who go to the mar- ket in Losuia are often stranded there for days if the weather turns bad. I had seen them sleep- ing out under the trees on the beaches of Kiriwina, waiting out a storm. Not quite a mile long and half a mile wide, Munuwata's strang- est feature was that it had no drinking water-no spring, no stream, no pool, not even a swamp. Why on earth would people wish to live in a place where there was no water? There was a Trobriand answer: because the island was so lovely . It was the prettiest island I had seen in the whole archipelago. It was full of coco- nut trees, it had grassy fields and one small shady village of well- made huts, perhaps 150 people all together ("not counting chil- dren," someone told me). The vegetable gardens were large and fertile. When the Munuwatans A shamefaced villager is given comfort by loved ones jamming Losuia harbor to part with him and some 70 others being shipped to prison on the main island ofPapua New Guinea. Their crime: insult turned man- slaughter. A dispute between two villages over yam quality left one man dead. Heads shaved in mourning, women ofhis village stand grim faced amid betel palms felled during the melee.