Friday, July 31, 2009
Sometimes I feel like we live in a glass house. All of the windows are always open, so everyone can hear what we are saying, and we can hear what they are saying, too. However, they have learned the art of speaking softly, and we are still just loud Americans. Since all of the neighborhood kids have been on a school vacation, they frequently hang around our house. One of their favorite things to do is to watch me hang out clothes and tell each other to whom each piece of clothing belongs. So, as I hang up each pair of underwear, the little girls giggle and call out the name of the owner. It's a great chance to get to know the kids and another opportunity to get over my pride.
Today at market, I bought some urio (coconut crab). Frequently when my market basket gets full with large produce, Aaron takes it back up the hill and brings it back empty for a refill. He carted it back and forth several times today and took the urio up as well (I even learned how to say, "Hold it well so it doesn't bite you!" in Lavukaleve.) When I finally came back to the house after gathering some more language data and visiting with friends, it was time for radio sked with SITAG. So I quickly started on supper so we could eat before Evening Prayer, and Aaron got on the radio. All of the sudden, the board that we keep learned up against the fridge (to prevent burns from the heating element) fell over with a clatter. I looked to see what had happened and found a huge urio climbing up the back of the fridge! I took over on the radio so Aaron could catch the crab - Aaron is great at avoiding the pinchers. He quickly captured our meal, and we found the vines and the !
bag that the urio had shed in its bid for freedom. Now we know to cook the urio right away so it doesn't have a chance to become an escape artist. Can't wait to tell our neighbors about this one!
Last, week, Aaron began pruning the molokita (a sour orange) close
house. He was trying to eradicate all possible sources of entry to
since we've discovered two rates in the last few days (and one more
to get in during the night). Keeping the branches away from the
helps cut down on the leaves that get trapped on top of the water
So, he hacked away at the branches while the kids gathered over a
molokita. We had plenty to share, with enough left over to make
since they were all still green. I put the jug into the freezer to
quickly, but then I forgot to take it out until the next day when we
discovered that molokita slushy is quite nice! It's been fun to
treat with the house girls after we've been working out in the sun.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Outside my window...sun rising over the Pacific, the sky blazing in scarlet and reflecting in the clouds making everything in the house glow (I never get tired of the sunrises here).
I am thinking...how good God is to give us breezy sunny days and cool nights with rain to fill up the tanks and water the gardens, anybody wanna visit?
From the learning rooms...switching composers from Charles Ives to Igor Stravinsky, History - WWI, Sarah - using cause & effect in writing, multiplying & dividing decimals, Benjamin - creating a travel journal, addition & subtraction of compound units of length, Olivia - studying similies, numbers to 40, Katherine - beginning to learn her shapes with play dough & cookie cutters, lacing cards, and painting over white crayon shapes, Science - static electricity experiments and light bulb experiments
I am thankful for...how well Olivia's face has healed
From the kitchen...leftovers (tuna salad) from all of the fish I bought at market this weekend and the fish and lelenga that two different neighbors brought yesterday
I am wearing...denim sleeveless jumper, Olivia love the pockets because she can sort the clothespins by color and stick them in my pockets when we are hanging clothes outside
I am reading..."Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, and International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together" by Ron Hall & Denver Moore (break out the tissues)
I am hoping...and praying that we will be good neighbors, that we will manage our resources (food and money) well as many people have begun to ask us for things, and that we will have insight into the way our neighbors think
I am creating...the beginnings of friendships!
I am hearing...Katherine's little feet padding down the hall as she searches for her Daddy (she's an early riser), Aaron in the kitchen as he makes the coffee, the bell calling everybody to morning prayer
Around the house..getting ready to varnish the floors, the chief, Leonard, continuing to work to finish the beautiful porch rail
One of my favorite things...snaggletooth kids (update - Olivia lost another tooth today, that tooth has been hangin' around for weeks, but she dropped it in the coral gravel under the house and can't find it)
We had a great weekend! At market on Saturday, we bought some bananas (sa torov) and some umalau in addition to lots of other fish and fruits and veggies. I continue to be amazed at how God provides fresh foods for us to enjoy and to keep our bodies healthy. So, I got to make potato salad and banana pudding to eat along with our hamburgers and watermelon to help us celebrate America's Independence Day. The girls cut start shapes out of some red, white, and blue foam, and we set some vanilla scented tea lights on top to decorate our table. We have been praying that God would help each of us find at least one good friend here in Marulaon. Each of the big kids played ALL afternoon outside with neighborhood friends. We heard lots of laughing!
Then, today, we had some boxes from the States arrive on the Bikoi. What a treat! Those of you who write letters and send boxes certainly encourage our family and extend our longevity here. Almost every day we tell the kids, "This box of pudding came from so and so", or "These muffins...: or "These bandaids..." Thank you for taking the time to choose things you know we will enjoy and for paying the postage to get your package all of the way to the Solomons.
I was working on vocabulary with Eileen when I heard Benjamin holler. He came limping toward me with blood flowing from his foot, so I helped him begin the ascent to our house, and Eileen's husband David carried Benjamin the rest of the way. Benjamin had cut the base of his big toe on a shell, and he bled all up the steps! Aaron began to patch him up, and I headed back down to Eileen's where I had left Katherine. I got settled in, picked up my notebook, and began to ask Eileen another question, when I heard Olivia scream.
Those of you who know Olivia are well aware of her tendencies to be dramatic when it come to pain. My back was to her, and when I turned around, I saw my blond beauty with blood streaming down her face. I handed Katherine to Eileen and began to trek back up the hill with another bleeding child after sending Sarah up the hill quickly to warn Aaron to get the first aid supplies back out. Olivia and I made it up the hill, and her screaming quickly gathered a crowd of curious onlookers.
As we washed her face, we quickly found that she had several cuts on the right side of her face. She had been playing in the hammock ("ila" - also the word for net) with other kids when she fell and slammed into the coral beach. We cleaned her up, applied antibiotic ointment, and assured all of the neighbors that she would be okay. Looks like she will have a black eye and a sore face for a while. God was protecting her, though, because the deepest cut was just under her eye and another cut grazed her eyebrow.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Janet (the chief's wife) was supposed to come and teach me how to put in a garden today, but Skita came by mid-morning to tell that Janet had hurt her back and couldn't come. Skita wondered if she and Auntie Sarah could help me. So, within just a few minutes, school was out for the day, and everybody was in the yard working. Skita and I weeded on the west side of the house while Auntie Sarah and Benjamin worked on breaking new ground on the north side (they quickly found a snake). It didn't take long for us to gather an audience, but thankfully, they were a hard working audience! All of the school kids are enjoying a four week break from school right now, so Wendy and Harris (both girls about Sarah's age) worked with us and younger siblings helped carry away the weeds.
The ground has a covering of what looks like clover with a web of strong roots. To get ride of it, you hold up the clover with one hand and hack at the roots with your bush knife. It rolls back little by little, and when you have a big mass, you take it out to the burn pile. After we had a sufficient space cleared, Skita and Auntie Sarah began planning where to plant everything. We bought some seeds in Honiara, and the Lee family left some seeds in the house. We decided that it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and plant the old seeds, too. So, on the west side of the house, we planted watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin, and green beans. On the north side, we planted umalau and obikola (which Skita called our "Christmas pudding" since it will be ripe in time to make lelenga for Christmas). It was really hard work to dig those big holes! As I was digging, some ladies were sitting down the hill on the beach watching me. I think they were tickled that I was digging with a big ol' !
pick ax, because they just laughed, and I waved at them.
We paused for lunch and shared our potato soup (made from umalau and obikola) with our helpers. After lunch, we grated old coconut husks (making our own mulch) to mix with some rich bush soil that Skita and Harris carter to the house. We mixed the two together and place them in some planters (again, thank you to the Lee family) so we could start the tomatoes and two different kids of leafy cabbage and transplant them later. Sarah and I are a little sunburned, and I know I will be sore tomorrow, but we have really enjoyed working with our neighbors today. They have given us their whole day and worked REALLY hard to help us out.
Monday, July 27, 2009
For Today...Wednesday, June 24
Outside my window...sun shining brightly, a nice breeze blowing and bringing the wind chimes to life, almost ripe molokita (a type of orange) hanging outside the window
I am thinking...that God has convicted me lately to be more encouraging to my children and to take more time to just have fun and enjoy them
From the learning rooms...Spanish American War, Teddy Roosevelt, Wright brothers, switching artists from Georgia O'Keeffe to Jackson Pollock
I am thankful for...our sweet neighbors and their patience with me as I learn their language and their culture
From the kitchen...whatever I find at market this afternoon
I am wearing...blue v-neck t-shirt, red skirt, beaded "salvation bracelet" from a friend in Memphis, hair in a braid (the kids have been commenting on how long my hair is getting!)
I am reading...just finished "These Strange Ashes" by Elisabeth Elliot. If you want a first year missionary's perspective, PLEASE read this book. She echoes many of my feelings as we finish our first year on the mission field.
I am hoping...that our e-mail gets up and running soon. We hate not being able to communicate with our friends and family.
I am creating...lots of banana and mogea (bush apple) muffins to sell at market this afternoon.
I am hearing...the wind chimes (thank you, Lord, for the breeze!), neighbors chattering, a bird taking a bath on top of our rain tank
Around the house...Aaron building more book shelves and a window seat
One of my favorite things...listening in to conversations of my neighbors and being able to pick out a few words.
A few plans for the rest of the week...beginning a garden tomorrow
Friday, July 10, 2009
I was working on vocabulary with Eileen when I heard Benjamin holler. He came limping toward me with blood flowing from his foot, so I helped him begin the ascent to our house, and Eileen's husband David carried Benjamin the rest of the way. Benjamin had cut his the base of his big toe on a shell, and he bled all up the steps! Aaron began to patch him up, and I headed back down to Eileen's where I had left Katherine. I got settled in, picked up my notebook, and began to ask Eileen another question, when I heard Olivia scream. Those of you who know Olivia are well aware of her tendencies to be dramatic when it comes to pain. My back was to her, and when I turned around, I saw my blonde beauty with blood streaming down her face. I handed Katherine to Eileen and began to trek back up the hill with another bleeding child after sending Sarah up the hill quickly to warn Aaron to get the first aid supplies back out. Olivia and I made it up the hill, and her screaming quickl!
y gathered a crowd of curious onlookers. As we washed her face, we quickly found that she had several cuts on the right side of her face. She had been playing in the hammock (ila - also the word for net) with other kids when she fell and slammed into the coral beach. We cleaned her up, applied antibiotic ointment, and assured all of the neighbors that she would be okay. Looks like she will have a black eye and a sore face for a while. God was protecting her, though, because the deepest cut was just under her eye and another cut grazed her eyebrow.
Skita is now helping us with the house and yard. I asked her if she could put in some flowers around our yard to fill in the "fence". So she and I went over to Ruthie's and found the most beautiful flower garden! Ruthie eagerly dug up some bulbs and hacked off branches to share with us, and Skita and I came back to the house with arms full of blooms. First, we had to weed some more, and again we drew a crowd of young helpers. About thirty seconds after I started hacking at the roots of the clover, I unearthed a snake. Skita quickly clubbed it to death with a stick, and I kept on weeding. After I found the second snake, Skita hacked a couple of poles off a tree with part of a branch still remaining on the end. These formed a small hook that would catch the bottom of the clover mass. So each kid hooked a branch in the bottom of the clover (after banging on it to scare away any snakes) and pulled so Skita and I could chop at the base. Working together, it didn't take !
us very long to clear away the weeds and begin planting. Skita dug the holes, and I put in the flowers and watered them. Some of the flowers remind me of ones in the States. We planted a pretty purple one that looks like morning glory and a very fragrant white plant that reminds me of gardenia. We finally finished the western and southern sides of the yard. Then Skita asked the neighbors for some banana trees, and we planted a big one and a small one just on the other side of the south border of our yard. Not wanting to get sunburned again, I told Skita that was enough for today, and she came up on the porch to rest. We swapped "custom stories". I read her "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and she told me a short one (in language) about a mother and daughter that go into the bush together. I got a little excited when I could pick out a few words and catch a little bit of meaning as I typed in her story. I imagine it was her version of "The fat cat sat on a rat", b!
ut it's a start! My triceps and hamstrings are beginning to remind me
that I haven't done any yardwork in a very long time, but by Monday, I think I'll be ready to put in the eastern flower border between us and the ocean.
Monday, July 6, 2009
We're moving up the learning curve! Last time Sarah and I only watched as Skita finished preparing lelenga. Today, Sarah and I took ingredients and our own cassava (obikola) scraper over to Auntie Sarah and we all worked together from beginning to end. We went around 2 o'clock, and Auntie began by showing us how to peel cassava. It was easier than I thought. You take your bush knife (I now have my very own small one � it's about a "cubit" in length), and cut off the ends of the cassava. Then, you cut a slit from top to bottom. Next, you work the tip of the knife in under the thick skin to pry it off, and the whole thing peels beautifully! After we had peeled the cassava we had bought at yesterday's market, we washed it and scraped it. Aaron helped us out by scraping nine coconuts at home, and he brought the coconut over as we were finishing up the cassava peeling. We put a tiny bit of water in the coconut. Then, we took a piece of finely pounded bark, placed some of the grat!
ed coconut inside, and SQUEEZED. Once all of the coconut milk was out, we boiled the liquid. Then Auntie brought out a big pan and apologized for not using only leaves! This pan is from WWII and it was made in the USA, so they call it the "USA pan". Auntie Sarah showed me how to heat the leaves by drawing them slowly over the fire so they wouldn't crack when we folded them into the "USA pan". We layered the cassava and coconut milk, and Auntie built a big fire using coconut husks. She put many large stones on top, then we all went outside to visit and slice bananas for the lelenga. After a while, she went in to check the stones, and we all joined her and finished making the pudding by adding the bananas. We placed the pudding on top of the hot stones, then placed more stones on top of the pudding and covered the whole thing with leaves like we did with Skita. Then, we each went back to our own houses to cook supper and get ready for Evening Prayer. After Evening Prayer, we !
went home, but it didn't take long for Auntie Sarah to come and get us
for the unveiling of the pudding. We all watched as she pulled the heavy pan off the fire and took off the stones. When the banana cooks, it turns red, so the pudding had a reddish tinge this time. Auntie cut it into pieces, and we took some home with us to enjoy.
Ruthie is helping us with the house and the yard this week. We saved some of the seeds from the two types of papaya (manioko) we bought at Saturday's market, and she helped us plant them this morning. We planted them in groups of three along the northern border of our yard. Sarah came behind us and ringed each plot with either coral or stones. We're hoping to enjoy some papaya by the time Thanksgiving is here!