By Leigh Pirie
While driving with my husband and children, 6 years old and 4 years old, on a slow Sunday afternoon I suggested that we visit the Betikama Adventist College to look at the carvings and the WW2 memorabilia. Despite the fact that my husband has lived here for 2 years he has never ventured out to the school and was pleasantly surprised by the well kept grounds of the college, the sporting fields and the Betikama carving shop.
As we drove into the manicured college grounds we were greeted by waves from the smiling students out for a walk. We then drove past the coconut trees, classrooms and residences and veered to the right on the dirt road to reach the building which houses the handicrafts and is the grounds for the WW2 memorabilia. My daughters and husband enjoyed walking amongst the wreckages of planes, tanks and engines. These are all in good display condition, despite the obvious machine gun bullet holes and 70 years of rust. While there are few signs with any information, the lack of signage did not distract from the gravity of walking amongst these machines of war in the knowledge of the horrors which occurred during the battles on Guadalcanal.
The carving shop offers an ever changing array of beautifully hand crafted items ranging from sago palm seed carvings to chess boards, bowls, animals, tables and exquisitely detailed nguzu-nguzus with shell inlay. The carvings are provided by parents of the students and the funds raised assist in the payment of their child’s education and boarding at the college. This fact alone, coupled with the high standard of the work, encouraged us to invest in some handicrafts.
After shopping, we headed out the back of the store to look at a small crocodile in an enclosure and some very large panpipes. The gardens are very well maintained and the peaceful setting of the college contributed to a very enjoyable visit for us all. The staff were friendly and welcoming and were willing to answer any questions we had of them and chat to my daughters about the crocodile and the carvings they had purchased.
All in all, it was a lovely way to spend some time on a Sunday. This little known shop barely 5 minutes off the main road at Llunga holds some wonderful artefacts and locally made crafts.
Directions to Betikama Carvings and Copper
(A big thank you to Angie for providing the directions and photos below. These are a great compliment to Leigh’s article – Editor)
On google maps, this is the point to go to. It comes up with both numbers but the first one should find it for you.
Google also says that it is 10.2km from the Heritage Park Hotel. You drive past the Golf Course, and it looks about 4th turn on the right, where the huge open air covered building is.
1st Photo: Look for this sign on the right for the turn off.
2nd Photo: After you turn, you’ll see this sign on the immediate right.
Keep driving on that road, past the big electrical place. Drive through the Seventh Day Adventist School (remember to wave at the kids!) and you’ll come across Betikama on the right.