Saturday, November 5, 2016

Big nambas, smol nambas

Around any barbecue, going back in time to cannibal feasts, blokes have tended to polarize into one side or another of a bipolar issue. Holden vs Ford, Mac vs Windows, Nikon vs Canon, league vs AFL, etc and bloody etc.

In Malakula, (sounds like molecular) which is a large island south of Santo, there are two tribes; the Big Nambas and the Smol Nambas.

A namba is a penis sheath.

An uninitiated cynic might think that this was a contest of member size. 

But no. It is not member size that is the differentiating feature, but the width of the belt of the namba. Big nambas have wide belts. Smol (small) nambas have narrow belts.

We sailed south from Luganville to Wala Island on the east coast of Malakula. We had a number of interesting experiences there, including a visit to a Smol Nambas display of dancing and other kastom activities.

They were essentially trying to leverage some preservation of their traditions from tourist money. It was good to see the kids and young people being drawn into the process.

George talking to a local on Wala Island

The happy beneficiary of some of the reading glasses we distributed.

Tamtam split drums on a ceremony ground on Wala Island.

Outrigger canoes on Malakula Island

Smol Nambas men and boys

With a couple of ring-ins! 

Smol Nambas women and girls.


  1. National Geographic eat your heart out!
    What lens are you using for the people photos?

    1. Thanks, Brian. I mostly used a Nikon 28-300mm FX zoom. A few photos were taken with an 85mm f/1.8 prime.

  2. Fascinating! And spectacular (as always!) Liz