eating an English missionary in 1867,
contrite villagers in Fiji are now eating
humble pie and want to say sorry.
Rev Thomas Baker, from Playden, East Sussex,
was cooked and eaten by the people of
the remote mountain village of Navatusila.
They only thing left of Mr Baker, a clergyman
with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, were
his leather boots - and they even attempted
to chew them.
The people of Navatusila believe they
were cursed because of the actions of
their cannibal ancesters. They have no
electricity, no passable road leading
out of the jungle, and down the years
they have suffered a series of misfortunes.
In a bid to break that curse they have
invited the cleric's descendants to attend
a special ceremony of atonement, where
they plan to offer an apology for the
sins of their ancestors.
But whether it will break their run of
bad luck is another matter. They have
apologized to no avail before, when they
presented the Methodist Church of Fiji
with Mr Baker's overlooked and partly
chewed boots in 1993.
The 35-year-old Mr Baker is the only European
to have been cooked and eaten in Fiji.
His death helped to create an image of
missionaries as blundering proselytisers
who ended up in a cooking pot as the natives'
- October 15, 2003.