Wallis & Futuna is a French overseas territory one-third the size of Singapore and inhabited by 15,000 people of mainly Polynesian origins. The territory comprised of three large islands, Wallis, Futuna and Alofi, the last being uninhabited since the 19th century after all its inhabitants were murdered in a single raid and eaten by the then cannibal people of Futuna. Today, W&F is a staunchly Catholic country governed by the French through the hereditary kings of Wallis, and of Alo and Sigave in Futuna and Alofi islands. Its tiny capital, Mata’Utu, is a sleepy village by the sea, dominated by the Royal Palace and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Good Hope.
Once again, I bumped into Lee Abbamonte, American globetrotter I last met on the flight to Nauru, and we had a great time exploring Wallis together. During my three day visit, we not only saw Wallisians celebrating the Feast Day of St Pierre and St Peter with their king (involving much dancing, feasting and offering of complete roast pig as sacrifices), but also explored an ancient Tongan fort and a perfectly round extinct volcano crater lake after a muddy drive on unmarked tracks.
I also had interesting chats with French expats and locals about the complexity of local politics in what is a very small island and the fascinating interchange of powers between the French Government, local government, the powerful king of Wallis and the Church, all funded courtesy of French taxpayers. I have a lot to write and would post a much longer story at a later stage.