Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oops! I cut my leg

The people in the village are often reluctant to let me use a knife, telling me that I might cut my leg or arm, but I usually don’t listen and use them anyway. Then they tell me that I’m a rebel.

Well their prediction finally came true – I cut my leg. This is the story of how it happened…

We went to take our new canoe from the bush to the water, so that it could go across to the island and continue to be carved. It’s easier to drag the canoe over ground if you lay some sticks along the path to slide it over, so we were cutting branches to make runners.

Mostly we were cutting coconut branches that were lying on the ground and I was impressed with my accuracy, hitting the same spot regularly and not hitting it all over the place. One time we came across some thick green upright stalks which were going to make good runners, so we cut some of them, and when I did my second one, the swing of the knife continued towards my leg.


(A cluster of bush knives – mine is the shiny new looking one with a short blade. They tell me that if I had one with a long blade, I wouldn’t have cut my leg.)

It felt like it just brushed my leg, but it made a cut which started bleeding, so I told my village mum (Iaa) who was with me. She told me off for using the knife because she was concerned for me, and then she found a leaf in the bush, scrunched it up and put it on my cut. This leaf is good for stopping bleeding. Then I was horrified to see Iaa take her knife to her laplap (wrap around skirt) and cut off a strip, which she then used to tie around my cut to hold the leaf on and to put pressure on the cut to stop the bleeding.

Straight after that, the canoe was ready to be pulled. Iaa had told me, “Now you can’t pull the canoe because you’ve cut your leg.” But I was disobedient and pulled the canoe for the first 100 metres. Then my makeshift bandage fell to my ankle, so Iaa had to fix it up again and then I didn’t do any more pulling and we made our way back to the village.

Then I got the next bout of bush medicine – a shoot of wild taro, heated up on the fire and the hot liquid squeezed out of it and onto my cut. Ouch! It was to help dry up the cut and prevent infection.

Putting a brave face on:


And here’s a close-up of the cut – gaping open. (These two photos were of the second treatment with the wild taro shoot later in the day).


Then I realised that my whole body felt a bit weak and strange and I felt sleepy. I certainly didn’t feel normal for a while and I had a lie down. Maybe it was a very mild form of shock.

The next day, we got the nurse who lives in the village to have a look at my cut, and she made a butterfly strip from my medical tape and put it on. It really held the skin together a lot better, as it was gaping open. I also had a bit of an audience when the nurse came over – a 5 year old, a 7 year old, a 15 year old and a few others; I don’t mind that though.


Thanks to all the good, loving care that I and my cut received, the cut didn’t get infected and is now healing well.

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