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November 15, 2006
Langa Langa Lagoon, also known as “Akwalaafu,” is situated within the Solomon Island on the west coast of Malaita. It is a natural lagoon that is 13 miles (21 km) in length and less than 0.6 miles (1 km) wide. The lagoon has plenty of artificial islands made of stones and dead corals on the shallow reefs where the local inhabitants live. These islands were made by the people of Langa Langa lagoon to protect themselves from the headhunters on the mainland. The people here are known for their shipbuilding skills and for shell money making. The women generally make shell money from only four types of shells. Throughout history, shell money was typically used to purchase food, equipment or was given away at ceremonies. The people here move from one island to the other in canoes built by hollowed tree trunks.
Like many of the peoples of the Solomon Islands archipelago, the Langa Langa maintain a tradition of tattooing that goes back thousands of years. Many of the elder women are tattooed, with the face, chest and forearms being the most common areas. Although similar in many ways, the Langa Langa tattoo style is quite unique from the styles of other people of the Solomon Islands. Langa Langa elder women often don intricate necklace-style tattoo designs on their chests and geometric designs on their forearms and hands.