Makira supports more single-island endemic birds than any other island in the Solomons, and CI is working to protect the interior rain forests there.Local landowners have established a plan for forest management under the guidance of CI and other non-governmental organizations, an effort that involves working with the villagers and showing them how the protection of the land serves their own interest as well as that of the world.We ached from the climbing and the slipping and the chaotic feeling that we didn’t know where we were or where we were going; from the river crossings when the current came up to our shoulders; and from the weight of our wet clothes.
As we scrambled along a path invisible to the untrained eye, each of us was helped by our own guide, gentle, benign, steady and, amazingly, barefoot.
But that first night, I had not yet learned to deplore them, and though the food was not good, it had at least the advantage of newness.
After dinner, we sat in a big communal hut with a small lantern on the floor and learned, to the locals’ immense amusement, to chew betel nut, a skill I hope never to use again.
Aside from Roger, we were the first foreigners they had seen in more than two years. It was situated high in the mountains, with a commanding view, beside a fresh stream.
The houses were made of leaves, and opposite the bigman’s hut, where we were to stay, there was an almost equally large hut for the village pig.