the wilderness lodge
solomon islands

peava village

Peava is a typical small Western Solomons village with a population of approximately 120 and a maritime subsistence economy supplemented by the artisinal wood carving that Marovo is world famous for. The people are pure Melanesian and speak Marovo language, an Austronesian tongue. Most inhabitants are Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) with a subtle but pervasive persistence of traditional spiritualism and mythology. With the village Sabbath observance from sundown Friday (6:00PM) to sundown Saturday (6:30PM) all boat use, fishing and work in the village stops, and the Lodge does not provide boat trips or transfers. We can offer guided walking trips to the wild weather coast rivers, and guests are welcome to snorkel around the lodge area, swim, and walk through the village, gardens and rainforest. While the Sabbath restrictions on activities may seem somewhat dictatorial from a Western convenience-obsessed perspective, it provides an experience of peace and Pacific tranquility you'll not soon forget.

What sets Peava apart from other villages in the Western Solomons is the spectacular position - a protected blue water lagoon opening onto the open ocean and pristine and teeming reefs backdropped with Gatokae Island's rugged rainforest cloaked mountains and uplifted coral reefs with extremely fertile soils.

A typical day in Peava sees the women heading off to the gardens mid-morning and returning to do the cooking and housework in the afternoons, men might go fishing and diving, work on the house or help with heavier garden work, often looking after non-school age children while woodcarving in the middle of the day. Children are allowed many hours to play and the school day is usually 8am to 1pm. Kerosene lamp lit conversations of matters local and global often stretch late into the night occasionally interupted by birdcalls and the giggles of youthful trysts in the surrounding rainforest.

With the presence of government almost non-existent and the traditional chiefly system greatly undermined by the church and economics, most decision-making takes place in family groups while school and church matters often involve the community as a whole. The supply of those third-world staples - rice, tinned fish and petrol - aside, the village is very self-sufficient.

By establishing the wilderness lodge as an example of sustainable development and promoting conservation and environmental awareness, one important step in preserving the most biologically diverse place on earth has been taken, now it's time to ensure the lodge is a viable example of sustainable development in the long term. With sound management, local participation, and the ongoing involvement of the scientific community to monitor resource use, a sustainable existence for the people of Gatokae can be realised.

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