This week I went to Manlang Kava Bar at Freshwota 6, on the Malasitapu road opposite the Isaac Store. It has 5 Windows. For today’s edition of word from the Kava-vines, I sampled kava from Window number 3 - kava from Santo.

I had a chat with the owner of the Manlang Kava Bar, a young man from Emae called Jerol George. The owner gave me a brief history of the bar. The Manlang Kava Bar started on the 11thof October 2020 so it is a fairly new bar. Before the Nakamal came to be, the area was just a garden with banana and laplap leaves.

George started off the nakamal with only 1 Window. He saw that the business was good so he went on to New Zealand to do seasonal work for a few months. On his return, he decided to expand his nakamal to 5 Windows.

“I started getting into kava business to provide for my family,” he said. “Since the pandemic struck, life has become harder. I see that by running the nakamal I can make money. The nakamal is still expanding, there’s an area for a pool table that will be in place and operating soon.”

Speaking to the kava seller for Window number 3, Hens Namu, aged 37 from Tanna I learned that he has been in the kava business since the year 2000, selling in the Freshwota 6 vicinity. But there wasn’t a good pool of customers so he decided to move to a commercial zone where there is access to shops and ‘washem mouth.’

“Every day I see new faces in the nakamal,” he said. “I do this to support my family. I have been at the Manlang Kava Bar for about two months now and it has been great. Most of my customers buy take -outs and some like to be at the nakamal to enjoy the kava and chat with friends. My kava window opens every day, except on Sunday.”

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 are their responses:

Name: George Kalo

Age: 52

Island: Emau

Comment:

I live at Ohlen area. The reason I come and drink kava at Freshwota 6 is because the kava is clean, strong and the serve of a kava shell is big. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. There’s a lot of space to sit and to enjoy the fresh air and the ‘washem mouth’ is very good.

Name: Dave

Age: 35

Island: Ambrym

Comment:

I come here because when you having your first shell you feel like you are in another world, the kava takes over and you are in kava mode. The kava is very strong, clean and fresh. I also have easy access to transport to Teouma.

Name: Dolsy George

Age: 54

Island: Ambae

Comment:

This nakamal belongs to my son. Even though he doesn’t operate a window but I know that by drinking kava here at the end of the day the money goes back to my son. I am a woman who likes to drink kava and also like to mix kava as well. But ever since this nakamal started, I don’t go anywhere else except here because the quality of the kava is good and that’s what am looking for. In addition, i prefer Santo kava. The kava is strong and clean. Whenever I drink kava here, the next day I feel fresh, no upset stomach and I get up very early in the morning. Even though I usually set my alarm, I wake up before my alarm goes off in the morning.

Name: Tom Lui

Age: 51

Island: Epi

Comment:

I just live across the street, that’s why I come here to drink kava. Furthermore, the kava here is strong, clean and it is kava from Santo.

Name: Robert Aru

Age: 19

Island: Ambae

Comment:

I often drink kava in some nakamals where the kava is dirty and not strong, so when I drink kava I always end up here to finish off my kava session. Here the atmosphere is friendly, it’s close to home the kava is clean, strong and I feel comfortable to just relax and be myself here.

Name: Yollanda George

Age: 24

Island: Emao

Comment:

I like it here because the kava is strong and the effect of the kava comes slowly. Moreover, the kava is clean and when I wake up next morning I feel fresh, there are no adverse effects.

Name: Randy

Age: 34

Island: Emao

Comment:

The kava here is strong and clean. The service of the kava sellers is very good, the place has a big area for customers to relax and enjoy their kava. It is also clean, with easy access to transport. The kava sellers are usually generous and give customers a free shell. I look forward to seeing expansion to accommodate a pool table and other drinks such as beer.

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