Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Melanesian pit barbeque

The Brothers uncover the pit barbeque in Alex and Lynn Leger's Topsham back garden

It has been all of five years since the Solomon Islands monks of the Melanesian Brotherhood had last visited to Devon. We first met them on that occasion at Alex and Lynn Leger's house over a magnificent evening of food and music. The next day they sang and danced in Exeter Cathedral, a most remarkable and moving occasion.

Over the intervening period, there has been civil unrest and turmoil in that far off and seeingly idyllic archipelago of South Pacific islands. There has been violent conflict and the Brothers have suffered some terrible losses including the lives of seven of their members. Their important role in working towards peace and reconciliation was acknowledged when they were awarded the United Nations Pacific Peace Prize.

It was always hoped that the Brothers would return again to Devon, and now they are back for the summer. They have already spent six weeks in the north of England where Willy, Bishop of Melanesia, together with his wife Kate and family, live in Gawsworth, near Macclesfield. Now they are back down in Devon, for Bishop Michael, Bishop of Exeter, also has strong links with the islands. He and his wife Esther and daughter Catherine have spent time in the Islands and have been instrumental this time in bringing the Brothers over to England again. During their time here, they have a busy programme of visits where they will perform their unique drama, song and dance, with music on their beautiful bamboo pan pipes. A highlight is the 'Passion of our Lord', drawn directly from their own experiences of conflict and 'a moving testimonial of hope and courage in the face of violence and death'. If you can possibly get a chance to see them, then I urge you not to miss it!

Some pig!

Over the past years, Alex and I have spoken a number of times about trying to recreate a Melanesian pit barbeque in which to cook a pig Solomon Islands-style the next time the Brothers come over.

Here is the full story of how it was done.