Don't anger the ancestors

“Toilet paper is banned. It is not allowed!”

I was in East Kwaio, Malaita Province, Solomon Islands, clarifying the rules around staying in Laete’esafi’s mountain hamlet.

Laete’esafi, a priest to his people, lives at an altitude of 700 metres in the East Kwaio Mountains (Figure 1) and his ancestors are central to his everyday life.

We were still in Atoifi, a coastal community where we work with the local hospital and surrounding villages on research capacity-building. We were due to depart and were