tapa-cloth-weaving-panel-200pxWe trudge barefoot through the rain and wash our muddy feet at the entrance. About thirty people, mainly women, are sitting on the floor, waiting. Bowls of food steam and cool on a long white cloth laid over woven floor mats. Pretty ornaments, pictures and flowers decorate the room. Beaten cloth hangs from the walls.

The simple blend of formality and homeliness takes me aback; it contrasts so sharply with everything about our sailing trip. We don’t have any formality on our boat, or homeliness; I don’t do either very well.

The art of civilisation has been finely-tuned here. Everything here means something; the ornaments have a history. Children touch them, grown-ups tell their story. Someone here made the woven mats and beaten cloth. This room is the pride of these people; it hums with light and family ties.

These life experiences — and many more — are detailed in Dyana’s Anchors in an Open Sea trilogy, beginning with book 1: The Yoga of Sailing.

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