Three Stalls, Three Stories: Auki Market

Allen Abana sells watermelon at the Auki Market

The market is a big part of life in the Solomon Islands. And people from all over the country bring their produce to the many markets – Honiara’s bustling Central Market being the biggest, and busiest, of them all.

The maket place also brings in all sort of characters, so to reflect that, SIBC is introducing a new online-only feature called Three Stalls, Three Stories.

We will interview three market stall holders from around the country and find out where they come from and the stories about their produce.

The first one in our series is Auki Market – a new market building which, some say, has the best pineapples in the country.

Allen Iro and Stephanie Ronnie

Cousins Allen Iro and Stephanie Ronnie from East Kwara’ae sell oranges at the market.

They say there are “lots” around at the moment.

But according to the duo, they prefer to stay in Auki for one reason: “It’s too expensive to get to Honiara,” Allen said. “And it’s nice here, sometimes the market in Honiara isn’t very nice.”

They said they came to the market on alternative days “depending on how many oranges we have”.

Noela Feke

Noela Feke, of Langa Langa Lagoon, puts in a lot of time and effort into her creations.

Noela is one of the many villagers from the famous Lagoon who create shell money necklaces for trade and bride price.

The most elaborate designs, she said, took up to three weeks to get right – depending on how ready the materials were.

“It takes a lot of effort, but I like it,” she said. “If we have the material I try to come to the market often.”

And although not as many tourists come to Auki, compared to Honiara – and there are far more shell money sellers at Central Market – she said the odd araikwao came by.

“But mostly local people buy them,” she said.

Allen Abana

Lugging watermelons is a tough job.

And for Allen Abana, it is a a little too tough to get them all the way to Honiara.

“I get them here by truck,” Mr Abama, of West Kwara’ae, told SIBC. “It’s very hard to get watermelons to Honiara.”

Mr Abana said this season had not been as good: “it’s been raining too much,” he said.

His farm was about 200m by 100m, and he started it himself. “It’s hard work, but I like it.”

 

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