This week I went to Manioc Nakamal at Freshwota 4, there are 4 windows. For today’s edition of word of Kava Vine, I sampled kava from Window number 4 and the kava I drank was Melomelo from Ambae.

I spoke to the owner of the nakamal, 34-year-old Watson Lui from Lombaha, North Ambae and he gave me a little history about the nakamal. 

It was established around 2011, just a small area for the customers to come and enjoy their kava session. In 2015 when cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu the nakamal wasn’t destroyed, but Mr. Lui decided to give it a little bit of an upgrade, building a new house for the mothers to sell their food.

“This land is mine so I decided to do the nakamal to help me and the mothers in this area. Back then cyclone Pam made it difficult for us to find money to pay rent and school fees. My customers are mostly Ambaen abut I do have visitors from different island and also expatriates that come to enjoy the kava,” says Mr Lui.

The Nakamal is called Manioc because the nakamal was started where there were a lot of manioc, as the nakamal grows they cut down the manioc plants but the name still remains.

There are two huts in the compound, and the question I asked my fellow kava-drinkers was, “Why do you choose to come to this Nakamal to drink Kava?”

Here is what they have to say:

Name: Allan

Island:Santo

Age: 37

Comment:

I come to this nakamal to drink kava because it is a quiet place, when I drink my first shell I relax with my kava and enjoy the silence. Also, they have very good ‘washem mouth’ for me to eat and the environment is welcoming. I really like the kava it because it is strong and clean.

Name:Abu Vii

Island:Ambae

Age:38

Comment:

I like to drink kava here because the kava is strong and worth my money. I only drink 3 shells so when the kava is this strong and clean the effect is stronger and much enjoyed. The ‘washem mouth’ is very good since they have a variety of foods that they sell. Here the atmosphere is friendly and all of the people here are my family, so I feel comfortable around them. The nakamal is clean and there is a lot of chairs to sit at where I want to. But the nakamal should have their own toilets for customers to use.

Name:Melissa David

Age: 28

Comment:

When I drink kava, I like to eat as well so I like it here because the ‘washem mouth’ is good and there are a lot of chairs for us to sit on. I live at Beverly Hills and me drinking kava here is awesome because in terms of transport, the nakamal is located just close to the main road. This makes it easier to stop a bus home. The kava is strong and clean the shell serve is big. Additionally, if I want to fill a plastic of 1.5L, it will cost me only VT800.

Name: George Taun

Island: Erakor

Age: 32

Comment:

The kava is strong and clean, so when I drink only 3 shells I am already drunk and enjoying the kava. The atmosphere is friendly and there are a lot of chairs and space to sit.

Name: Vira Tari

Age: 38

Comment:

I come here because they are my family. I want to support them and it’s much better to give back to my family than someone that I don’t know. The kava is strong and clean.

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