DOBES Archive

Kinship Relations
The intricate kinship system of Ambrym comes with a number of rules which determine how people have to behave towards one another. Taboos hold mostly for those relatives who are eligible as in-laws (see the session about the marriage lineage). They range from a ban on jokes to forbidding a person to be in the same room with certain relatives.
In this recording, the speaker explains how the people on Ambrym produce copra. When someone sees that many coconuts have fallen down in one place, he will collect them and heap them up. Then he will set a day with some of his relatives to scoop out the coconut flesh. The flesh of the mature coconuts is scooped out with a special chisel and then its brought to a nearby oven. There, the coconut pieces are spread out on a platform which is heated from below so that the flesh will dry out. Then, the copra is filled into big sacks and when a cargo ship comes, these sacks are quickly transported to the coast on one of the few local trucks.