Hey guys! I assume some of you have seen my many pictures on pics as well as my askreddit thread. Many people requested an IAMA so why the hell not.

I lived in the rainforest for a good 7 years of my life with my grandmother on an Island called Rendova in the country Solomon Islands. We didn't have any access to running water or electricity. To go to school I had to walk to a neighboring village. We cooked constantly over the fire because we had no oven. My life consisted of playing in the ocean, playing on the land. It was a very fun experience. My dad however, decided I needed to come over to Australia for education. I literally went from a place with no technology to a place with technology everywhere. It was very frightening but at the same time really amazing.

I don't have any pictures of that time (we didn't have cameras) but I do have heaps of photos of when we went back. Go ahead and ask me anything! I will do my best to answer majority of your questions.

The album http://imgur.com/a/qDI4o

Me now http://i.imgur.com/eqjPr2q.jpg

Edit: I should probably mention where this is.

Edit: I made this short video out of my sisters recordings when she went in 2009. It may be bad quality but I TRIED! I SAT THROUGH IT UPLOADING FOR YOU GUYS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5S566HIUvg

Edit 2: Alright guys. I have been redditing for about 8 hours straight and I am tired as anything. I'll try answer whatever questions you have when I wake up. Byeeeeeeeeeeeee for now.

Edit 3: Alright so I woke up and I tried to answer as many questions as possible and I am going to wrap it up here. I hope I have been a good OP too all of you and you enjoyed the AMA. Thanks guys for the interesting questions and you're all pretty funny! Keep up your cheerfulness and remember you are in charge of your happiness so do what makes you happy. Byeeeeeeeeeee.

Edit 4: Also if you have questions that are deeply troubling you and you feel like you can't sleep without them been answered, feel free to PM me. Byeeeeeeeeeeeee again.

Edit 5: I have talked to my mum and have convinced her to do an AMA in the future so be on the lookout for my mothers AMA

Edit 6: There's a crowd fundraiser for my village if any of you are interested. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/linerva-s-legacy/x/8075437

Comments: 3261 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

discovolunte1015 karma

Any snake or croc stories?

merrderber2691 karma

You're going to love this. When we were younger we would play a game where we would throw a pot lid as far as we could into the water and someone would have to fetch it. Basically like playing fetch with your dog. The kid who would win was the one who swum the furthest. One day, a kid through the lid really far but the other kid was determined to get it. He swum out really far and then bam. The crocodile got him and dragged him underwater.

Edit: Thanks for the gold! If it was real we would probably play fetch with it!

Nth-Degree2430 karma

No... I didn't love that. :(

merrderber1687 karma

Sorry!

sorry-wrong_thread1240 karma

Did he die!?! I'm worried!

merrderber2302 karma

yep.

kingsvillektp196 karma

I like how nonchalant you're about someone dying while playing a fetch game. Did y'all keep playing?

merrderber408 karma

Hahah. Of course we stopped!

TheDarkBoy413 karma

I'm imagining you all just standing there in silence for a few seconds, then someone is like: "Oh well, who wanna play ball?"

merrderber817 karma

Oh no! There was definitely mourning but things happen in the village.

alky-holic383 karma

OMG what an awesome sto... Wait what?! O_o

merrderber631 karma

That surprise ending.

Lost_Marbles_Crazy255 karma

Did he die?

merrderber814 karma

Yep!

discovolunte166 karma

Thanks - that's crazy. I've heard about surfers going there and getting back in the boat and then spotting a croc.

So was it well known that there were crocs there but you swim anyway?

Many snakes?

merrderber363 karma

They only come around every now and again so we just swim anyway. There are heaps of snakes but if you're just careful, you normally avoid them.

AbdoBax62 karma

D-did he .. Die? :(

merrderber115 karma

yep

behonourable668 karma

What kind of religion do people follow, if any?

merrderber1488 karma

Christianity since the missionaries brought it in. Before we use to believe in the demons of the land and make sacrifices to them but we're over that now.

Ether09890 karma

... You should probably expand on that demon and sacrificing part.

merrderber1092 karma

Well you know how those weird goth kids have their rituals and what not. Well we didn't know what Satan was but we did have our demons and ancestral spirits who we had certain rituals towards. I think at one stage we even had human sacrifice.

ugadai531 karma

What was the craziest thing you saw coming to Australia?

merrderber1217 karma

Probably not the response you were expecting but the lack of people talking to each other. In my village we knew everyone and we would constantly always talk to each other. When I came here, my dad didn't even know our neighbors or ever talk to them! Also, my dad barely spoke to his relatives whereas I was use to seeing all my relatives nearly everyday. It was just a crazy thought to me!

Nth-Degree479 karma

I've grown up in that culture, and I find it weird, too. Once a settlement gets to a certain size (say 500 or so), you no longer know everyone. At that point, you no longer talk to everyone. Once it gets to a few thousand people, you can be anonymous. At that point, there is no incentive to even try to connect with or consider other people.

It's weird. I don't even know the name of the lady who lives next door. I doubt I could pick her in a line up of other sixty-something year old women that looked vaguely like her. I've lived here five years.

merrderber343 karma

I so agree with your comment. I guess it's easier to keep in contact with everyone with a smaller population.

RustyBagel506 karma

How easy was the transition from being in a place with nothing really, to having access to all this amazing technology?

merrderber835 karma

Well, it was really hard at first but I'm a pretty chill kid. I personally found it hard but bearable. I had to learn a lot of new things which was really overwhelming but because of my chill kid state of mind, I didn't let it get to me. I was determined to learn everything as fast as I could and not give up. I feel like many other kids would act quite differently from me though. :)

purplegreendragon449 karma

Hi. What is a traditional breakfast where you come from? Oh and what do you eat now, is it still the same breakfast for you or something you discovered?

merrderber789 karma

Well, I use to normally have tea and taro for breakfast. Not the tastiest thing to most people but I enjoyed it. Now that I live in Australia, I eat a breakfast for champions. Weatbix all the way!

JakeFromStateFarm0440 karma

What technological advancement did you find in Australia that you feel would benefit living in the rainforest the most?

merrderber821 karma

Probably advancements in health. The nearest hospital is about 4 hours away by boat so a lot of the time, if someone needed attention then and there, they would have probably died.

MakeYourOwnLuck424 karma

My other comment got deleted for not being a question... so I'd like to state again that the bulldozer being stolen was my favorite part of the album, and I found humor in it.

So I guess my question would be, did they ever find it?

merrderber526 karma

Nope, it's still there/

MakeYourOwnLuck188 karma

You guys should sell it.. buy yourselves some supplies with the money.

That thing is worth a pretty penny.

merrderber620 karma

I think we should keep there as a trophy. Maybe I should sell it as a artwork explaining the fight of the little man against large corporations.

atalossofwords122 karma

What I'm more interested in: did it help? Did you actually slow them down or did they just bring in another one.

merrderber307 karma

It's very hard to bring big machinery to the island, so yer it did slow them down.

TrueSanDiegan413 karma

How did they get clothes if they live out in the middle of nowhere?

merrderber820 karma

Every wondered where your donated clothes go to. This is where. A lot of them were brought over my missionaries and have kind of been handed down generation to generation. Also, a lot of people have families living in the capital who buy clothes for them as well. I tend to bring a lot of clothes when I go down there as well!

DaeronTheHandsome391 karma

Do you miss anything about the low-tech lifestyle?

merrderber1079 karma

There are so many things I miss. It truly is a relaxing place to live. Imagine just living off the land. You don't have to deal with deadlines and this concept of time running out. I also talk to a lot more people there because I'm forced to. If it gets awkward, I can't just go on my phone because I don't have one! You really do form better connections with everyone because you are forced to.

elephantcage338 karma

Referring to that bulldozer, have you had other disputes with coorperations claiming the rainforest? If so, how did you solve the problems and did you get any support from the governments or other coorperations?

merrderber663 karma

Really good question! We have personally been in a court battle with a logging company for about 10 years now. The logging company claimed that we had no right to the land and this was a free land that anyone could claim. The way we claim the land is we pass down from generation to generation a small bracelet that says the land is ours. The company won the first battle and moved my mother from her original place where she grew up. They completely tore down that area of the forest. They tried to log further in and that's why we stole the bulldozer.

casadeparadise329 karma

On a scale of 1 to Hell No, what are rainforest spiders like?

merrderber717 karma

Probably a HELL NO! Hhaha, I'm not scared of them but if you're not use to them, you would probably cry.

NorthBlizzard263 karma

Are they dangerous?

merrderber633 karma

Yep!

vagos47328 karma

Did you have any short of organised athletic activities?

merrderber694 karma

At Christmas we do! We play soccer, volleyball and netball against other villages on the island. Here's a picture for you!

http://i.imgur.com/nED3peX.jpg

CatchThisDrift326 karma

A super personal question, but one I think lots of people wonder about for a variety of situations. How did/do the women deal with their periods?

merrderber465 karma

Reusable cloth. You put the cloth down there and wash it in the river. It's like a pad you wash.

mfupi71 karma

I know some people in Oz, Canada, UK, America who use reusable cloths pads, but they see it as an environmental movement or economic movement, or because they believe it's healthier. (I use cloth pads for a combination of these reasons.) Some people think that it's gross, or would see you doing that in your home village as the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman, thinking it's so terrible that you don't/can't use disposable cloth pads. What do you say to people who feel this way (negatively) about using cloth pads?

merrderber228 karma

Well if use a pad or tampon, the dog will eat it. I'd much rather use a reusable cloth then kill the dog with my tampon.

Indydegrees2312 karma

Any cool island stories?

merrderber1351 karma

Hahah where do I even begin. My family is the head family who owns a reasonable size of land. Women traditionally inherit the land, not the men because men are hunters while women are farmers. My great grandmother x6 or something married the chief. The chief had no right to the land but his sisters did. One day the chief died and at that time, the women and her children were considered to be nothing anymore because her husband was dead. To ensure her children's future, she hung herself over her husband body. Her blood sacrifice took the ownership of the land from the chiefs sisters to her children. We sometimes joke saying the story is basically the story of Jesus and how he sacrificed himself for us.

Megadoculous287 karma

What technology surprised you the most?

merrderber586 karma

The real question here is what didn't I find surprising! Hahah, gosh,the one that was on the top of the list of things that surprised me was the telephone. I remember my dad showing me the phone and me just thinking it was plain magic. We didn't have any phones and only had a radio we listened to. So to hear that I could talk to whoever I wanted just by calling them really shocked me.

ILoveMyselfSometimes247 karma

Do people have more sex since there is no light and its easier to hide away?

merrderber452 karma

I wouldn't really know but I know a lot of the teenagers sneak off into the bush quite a bit at night time so the answer is probably yes. However, everyone kind of knows everything and everyone going on in the village so if you walk off with someone they would immediately know what's going on. I don't really know. Sorry!

PrometheusTitan179 karma

Is there any sex education? Any form of prevention readily available? Or do people tend to get pregnant very young?

Also, if it's mostly huts, presumably you can hear goings-on. THe pictures you showed don't really indicate anything that would dampen the sounds.

merrderber384 karma

Ooooh. Umm not really. Most people just get the talk from their parents. Prevention is done by planning a girls cycle. There is also this plant that apparently aborts the child. Young people are obviously fueled by their hormones so there is a bit of teenage pregnancy. Also, if you want to have sex, going into the rain forest is probably your best chance at privacy.

english_major246 karma

Could you tell us a little about your family? I assume that you have one parent who is Melanesian. How old are you now? What did your parents do for work there? Now? Thanks. Looks like a cool life.

merrderber685 karma

Sure! My dad is Australian. He met my mother when she came up to the capital Honiara. My mother was working at the college he was teaching at through Ausaid. He got deported for seeing my mother. My mother at the time was still married to a politician but wanted a divorce so he got my dad deported. My mother fled with me back to Rendova for us to be safe from her husband. I am currently 18 turning 19.

alky-holic244 karma

How often did you get outside visitors at the rainforest? What did daily meals consist of? Now that you live in a place with so much technology, do you miss the quiet of the rainforest?

merrderber537 karma

Barely ever. We get that one occasional weird white guy who's decided to drop everything and go travelling to an exotic place. Daily meal is probably fish, cassava or taro and rice if we feel like it. Lots of fruits though. I do miss the quiet. When you go there, it's like the ultimate meditation trip.

parkmeeae186 karma

How are visitors treated?

merrderber424 karma

Like a god. Hahha. My brother in law went there and they were so nice to him. They would always make sure he was comfortable. Kids would line up to see him. They would always feed him.

Misaniovent229 karma

Was it because he was an outsider or because he looked so different?

merrderber319 karma

Both!

Timeon156 karma

The idea of the weird white guy showing up makes me chuckle. How did that usually go down?

merrderber296 karma

Everyone rushes to meet him. We barely get white guys so it's just amazing when we do. If you pull out the camera, kids will go crazy. They'll want to be in all your photos.

lynsea241 karma

What do you see yourself doing after you finish school? You have such a unique upbringing that I couldn't see it not having an effect on you. i.e. environmental/conservation studies.

merrderber1018 karma

This is going to surprise you but I actually study Law. There is a reason though. My people have been in a court battle with a logging company for a very long time so I want to be able to help them.

MsSara77195 karma

What language was spoken by the people in Rendova? Did you learn English in schools there or after you moved?

merrderber308 karma

I know it as Rio, but it may be called something else. Like that's the what we call our Language but other people call it something different and I'm not sure if I'm even spelling it right in English. You learn English in school but it's very different to learn English then speak it. SO when I moved I had a hard time with English but I eventually got to where I am now.

Edit: Just asked my mother properly about this and she said that in our language we are Rio people and we speak Rio, however what we are called to other people is Touo. Sorry for not clearing that up!

Homestaff17192 karma

What was it like the first time you watched TV?

merrderber560 karma

I feel like it would be similar to someone who has done drugs. It was amazing and scary. My mind was so confused but so intrigued. Also, kids cartoons are so scary.

yalladavai180 karma

What are some things you learned to appreciate during your time in the Solomon Islands, that people in Australia take for granted?

merrderber428 karma

Probably been able to easily communicate. I remember once my uncle who lives up the other side of the island came with his boat with an engine on it to deliver something. He went back and when he did, we realised we hadn't told him something really important. Because there was no way we could communicate, someone had to offer to paddle up the other side of the island to tell him the message. My cousin and I decided to do the trip and it literally took a day to paddle up to the other side of the island. If we had a phone we could have just called but hey. It makes some amazing stories to tell your kids!

Freakblast171 karma

What was the hardest concept to grasp when you moved to Australia?

merrderber584 karma

Well my people are really upfront. If 're getting fat, they'll tell you. Here I would tell people that they were fat and my dad would automatically hush me. Also, a lot of kids to me were crazy. I remember seeing a kid throw a temper tantrum and thinking, 'what the hell is wrong with this kid?'. In my custom there is a huge respect thing. You do that, prepare to be disowned. SO the fact that kids were purposely rude to my parents confused me.

RscMrF201 karma

To be fair, I have lived in civilization my whole life, and the first time I saw a bratty kid yelling at their parents it confused me too.

merrderber135 karma

Glad not to be the only one!

fiashdance151 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, it is an amazing story and I hope you are happy how your life is turning out. What a great experience that so many people would never be able to have. I am pretty jealous you got to experience two extremes of different life styles on this planet, plus you are really pretty. I do have a few questions also:

  • How did you keep in contact with your dad before you went to live with him?

  • Why didn't your father try to have both you and your mother come to Australia sooner?

  • Where does your mother live now and do you still get to communicate with her?

  • What is your goal in life now? Do you want to go to school and get a job like everybody else seems to want to do? or go live back in the rain forest or something completely different?

Also please don't take this the wrong way because it is a crude comparison at best to make but I thought of this movie as soon as I started reading your story: relevant?

merrderber348 karma

I'll try answers your questions as best as possible.

1) Basically, I didn't keep in contact with him. It was kind of awkward moving here to say the least.

2) My dad was kind of deported from the country so it was really hard for him to get us over because you know, deportation makes it like that.

3) My mum lives with us. Funny story about how she came over. Her husband she was married to (not my dad), use to wait at the airport everytime there was a flight to Australia to catch her and bring her home. She wanted to divorce him but he wouldn't allow it. My mum basically dressed up as a guy and made her friend pretend to be her girlfriend to get past her husband and that's how she got to Australia.

4) I guess my main goal is to use the most of the opportunity here because heaps of the kids in the village would have killed for the same opportunity. I don't just want to go to school and get a job, I want to excel at school and do the best that I can do in my job. Ultimately in the end I want to retire there but I want to do my best here first.

Hahahah I have a sense of humor! I totally get your reference and it makes me laugh

Edit: Human is not the same as humor

fiashdance38 karma

I guess what I was asking with how you kept in contact with your father is.... how did you know that he wanted you to come to Australia?

merrderber79 karma

Well I didn't know at all! I guess he told my mother he wanted me to come and I was brought on a plane over.

herbies18142 karma

Hey

I used to live in Papua New Guinea, but in the city. But I've spent some times in a friends village and your photos do bring back memories.

Hahaha I know what school that is, looks like BSHS? Could be wrong. Did you do boarding school here in Australia or did you live with extended family?

merrderber159 karma

I lived here with my dad and yes that's BSHS! I knew something would recognise the uniform.

Bjouk128 karma

What was your most memorable experience while you were living in the rainforest?

merrderber415 karma

Probably seeing this massive fish. It was about the size of my canoe and I thought for sure I was going to turn out to be that bible story about Jonah and the whale. After my initially fear, I really wanted to catch it to show off to my friends and be like 'look at you losers, I am the best fisherman in the world'. Unfortunately I never did catch it but thinking about it now, that would have been a very dumb idea because it would have pulled me into the water.

djdadi122 karma

Could you give us a short breakdown of your daily schedule? IE, time you woke up/went to bed, how many meals, did you help prepare food all day, play all day, etc?

merrderber352 karma

This was my schedule when I was a kid and it varied day to day but here's a general run down. Wake up, go to the river and bathe, wash the dishes at the river and do some laundry, make breakfast, clean up the area a bit, make lunch, after lunch go to the farms to go harvest stuff, If I didn't need to do this I would just play, come back and start preparing dinner, eat dinner and then probably just chill and talk to everyone else and generally have a good time.

nonstopdisco-111 karma

Sounds like a very interesting experience! How did health care work out in the rainforest?

merrderber281 karma

Hahahha, the natural way! We have a lot of local knowledge about what plants will use on wounds, what plants will stop constipation, you name it, someone will probably be able to tell you how to solve it naturally.

creepinghard102 karma

Why do you need to dry out coconuts?

merrderber124 karma

AHHH! I can't remember what the reason is. It's right on the tip of my tongue. I'll get back to you later on this.

Donna_Freaking_Noble100 karma

I hope this doesn't come across as insensitive, but do your family and friends on the island treat you any differently for having lighter skin? Or is it not a big deal?

merrderber84 karma

They treat me a bit daintily. I may be brown but I still occasionally burn. They always know my skin is not as strong as theirs when it comes to bites from insects.

kaffetakk89 karma

can I come?

merrderber260 karma

You and the other redditors who want to come. You guys should start a reddit village ahhaa.

gretchen864287 karma

I noticed in some of the photos there were companion animals (dogs, a cat, that bird). Do people on the island keep pets a lot? Or is it more like for hunting purposes like the dogs in your earlier album?

If people do keep pets, what sorts do they keep? Did you have one? Did you think it was strange how many people keep animals as pets when you moved to Australia?

merrderber207 karma

Animals are for practical purposes. Dogs are for hunting, cats are for catching mice. However, we still really love them but I think if they didn't do their job we wouldn't.

My people find it so weird that you guys keep pets for nothing in return. I guess the return is companionship but they still find that thought really weird.

omnilynx70 karma

Dunno if this is poor etiquette, but I thought of another question. Does your village think of you--being someone who "got out"--as a sort of local golden girl (i.e. are they proud of you), or do they think of you as someone who's abandoned the culture?

merrderber143 karma

Well I am their golden girl but I could easily be seen as a snob if I wanted to be one. I try every year to go back and show my people I haven't really changed so they don't shun me.

zshoppe69 karma

From your pics, thanks for sharing, it looks like a wonderful experience; great source of education. Would you like to spend the rest of your life there?

merrderber193 karma

I will probably retire back there. However, at this point of time, I will try use the most of my opportunity here to be successful. Many kids would have killed for the opportunity I was given so I feel like there's an obligation to do my best for those kids.

knifehandzzz68 karma

Has anyone from "civilization" ever came to your village and stayed? Maybe they were tired of the business and just decided to get off the grid?

merrderber390 karma

Not many people know about my village so no. However, after mentioning my story on Reddit for the past few days, quite a few people seem to want to move. Who knows? Maybe you guys can start your own Reddit village. That would be the ultimate meetup. A meetup that never ends.

Coglioni57 karma

Where do you want your kids to grow up?

merrderber134 karma

I would love for them to go live there for their childhood but I would probably move them back to Australia for High School.

Buttermynuts49 karma

Were that any drugs that were done on a regular basis?

merrderber107 karma

Probably just Betel nut and Tobacco.

hastein5563 karma

Betel nut?

merrderber4 karma

Google it. Hahah I don't know how to explain it!

mini_oreos49 karma

[deleted]

merrderber113 karma

1) Traditionally no. It's a boys thing and boars are really scary. If you can't climb a tree fast, you are automatically excluded because if the bore chases you, you are screwed. I wish I could contact the boys and ask for their secrets. Fishing is relatively easy. We have tons of fish so if you drop a line into the water, you're bound to catch something.

2)I BATHE in insect repellent. I am kind of a pussy now and my skin can't take been bitten. As soon as I am, it's downhill for me. You just get use to the spiders. It's just like how you would view lights. It's just something that is there.

3) Oooh. Custom story time. There's this place we are forbidden to go alone. Back in the day, women were forced to go give birth in private somewhere by themselves. Don't ask why, it was just the custom. The place is said to be haunted by a woman that dies in her childbirth. If you a young man, she will try and flirt with you by giving you massages. If you are a young woman, she will try and kill you because she is jealous that you are still young and alive.

4) Umm, just don't be stupid? Just because you think something looks nice to eat, chances are, it will probably kill you. A lot of the time they tell us to stay away from bright color things because they are probably poisonous. Also, find water. Water is where life is.

Nth-Degree40 karma

I take it that going to a first world country and getting a western-style education is unusual? What do you plan to do at the end of it? Go back or stay in Australia?

merrderber83 karma

Hmm not really. The way my school there worked was very westernised because the missionaries did bring things like schools in. I plan to use the most of my opportunity here because I feel like I'm obligated to. Many of the kids in the village would die for this opportunity.

CaptainGreezy37 karma

What was your reaction to gaining access to media like television and films? Or had you already had some exposure to that in the neighboring village? Is technology-based entertainment something you have embraced or kept at arms length? Anything you have become a fan of? I imagine your experience being like a character in science fiction from a pre-technological civilization suddenly being beamed aboard a starship.

merrderber122 karma

The way you explained it sounds spot on. I basically had no exposure. Television was really weird. Films were also really weird. At first I thought it was a representation of every day life and everyone had jammed packed lives like action movies. Also, a lot of murder mysteries puzzled me. We didn't have much crime if any in the village and I would wonder why people would want to kill.

trainspotting236 karma

No phone? No lights? No motorcars?

merrderber44 karma

Hahaha! I said you name it, we wouldn't have it! So the answer is nope.

Indydegrees235 karma

Is there anything you miss?

merrderber107 karma

Gosh so much. I miss just been able to run around or swim in the sea. There I feel so free. I also really miss my friends and family.

Holocaust__Denier35 karma

Did you have Pokémon cards?

merrderber149 karma

Funny story actually. When I first came here, pokemon scared me. It was kind of like, 'wtf are those creatures and why do they have weird powers?'

AG_ENT33 karma

Wow great questions. Two things that stand out in my mind is that nice one has asked about the wild life.

What the best encounter you had with an animals there? I read about the fish, what else?

Also, what are some morals you have but don't see in there. Everything must be a culture shock

merrderber107 karma

Probably the dogs. Dogs are really mans best friend. I was in the forest once and my dog followed me. We ran into a boar and with no knife, I really had nothing to defend myself with. The dog was physically a lot smaller then the boar but it defended me and took on the boar. The dog fought for a long time and eventually took it down but not without it been injured. I'm tearing up right now just typing it. Fortunately, the dog recovered, but I will always love dogs till this day.

Over there, we have this thing where you can ask anyone for anything ad their suppose to give it. I hate people leeching off my hard work but over there it's just normal. It's not really a moral but yer, that's what I hate.

wind_power31 karma

What is your honest opinion on the fact that missionaries brought Christianity to your location?

merrderber85 karma

I think it was good. It stopped a lot of very harsh cultural practices such as human sacrifice, head hunting and cannibalism. We are very lucky though that we remember the old ways and it is still passed down from generation to generation. I've seen other cultures where they have completely lost their culture because of the missionaries.

impetrik28 karma

[deleted]

merrderber144 karma

send a pic

electricoctupus26 karma

Speaking as someone who has been living in big city after big city, I cannot tell you how cool it is to have a glimpse of a very different life, far far away. Thanks so much for doing this AMA and for all the photos...it really took me away for a while! :-)

Anyway, is your village growing in population or is it in decline? I suppose my concern is that with some cultures like yours, the younger people migrate to survive and the elders who are left die out, along with the language.

merrderber30 karma

There is definitely a decline. Most young people want to get out because they think life is better out there. Actually a lot of problems are caused by this in the capital. Lots of people are there with no jobs.

SentientCouch25 karma

Hi, I don't know if you're still answering questions, but I have kind of an esoteric one. How did/do people in your home village keep and conceive of time? When you were a child, were clocks and calendars part of life? Are there indigenous ways of keeping time? Lunar/solar festivals? And how about now? Do folks back in the village ever say stuff like "let's finish by five" or "I gotta wake up at 6 tomorrow?"

merrderber56 karma

Hahahha we run on island time! Really I go there and I completely forget the date. Time I feel is a very Western concept. We don't have deadlines for anything. Once I returned to the capital city a week early because I didn't know the date.

JimeDorje24 karma

How does it feel to have the most unexpectedly metal AMA ever?

merrderber34 karma

Satisfying

x20mike07x20 karma

Do you feel like one society has an overall higher level of happiness of the average member of society between where you used to live and now? I know it isn't really a quantifiable matter, but I was curious if there is some kind of noticeable difference.

merrderber68 karma

Umm I don't really have an answer. I think you can be happy anywhere, as long as you are the one in charge of your happiness. You have to do what makes you happy in life!

RemcoTim11 karma

Thanks for having this AMA!

My question is: did you have an understanding of the technology and lifestyle from around the world ? If you did, how did you look at this ?

merrderber34 karma

Hahah nope! Everything was really quite like magic to me. When I came here everyone's lifestyles really confused me. Just the thought of not even growing your own food and relying on the your groceries confused me. I asked my dad about what would happen if the food in grocery store would run out and he responded with that would probably never happen in our lifetime kiddo.

Eternally657 karma

What country was the rainforest in?

merrderber20 karma

Solomon Islands! It's on the island Rendova.

Comichal4 karma

Were their people you were forbidden to talk to like 'the others' in Lost?

merrderber10 karma

Hahah sorry to disappoint but no.

shinaynay1 karma

Do you think it is more or less difficult to learn with technology, now that you've experienced both styles?

merrderber3 karma

I still like doing things the old way. For example, my high school implemented laptops last year just before I graduated and I found them way to distracting.

ApplePuncherd0 karma

http://i.imgur.com/A0QElrt.jpg

That kid with blue shorts...

But let's go to the question. Why did you deciede to live on the island?

merrderber1 karma

I'm kind of from them. My mother put me there when I was younger and I didn't know anything else outside the village.

MarloStanfield1-2 karma

is it true that people who live isolated in the forest for years become sexually attracted and active with plants and trees? if yes did you bang any fauna?

merrderber2 karma

HAHAHA. WHERE DID YOU HEAR THIS FROM? No, I have never heard about anyone banging trees.