Finishing the story...
Our last night in Marulaon, last Tuesday, we had just tucked the kids in bed, turned off the lights, and headed to get ourselves ready for bed when we heard a knock. I went to the door to find two of the ladies who had worked on the creation story, and one of them was really mad. She was upset with me for making changes to her story. I couldn't tell if she was angry because of the women I had chosen to help me with the back translation or if she was angry because I hadn't brought the updated version to her first. I'm sure that some of the blame was mine. In my haste to get ready for the trip to Honiara, I printed an edited version and gave it to one of the group who crafted the story. I asked her if the group could get together without me to look over the changes since I was headed into Honiara. Now, I've learned to do everything in person and abide by "Solomon Time" instead of trying to hurry things up! Anyway, after she and I talked, I think we restored our relationship and the story is on hold until we can sit down and work things out together. I would appreciate prayers for unity throughout this whole Bible story project. I don't want my zeal to create discord. From the beginning, I'm emphasized that the first draft of the stories will be changed and that it takes a lot of humility to be a part of this project and watch your work be torn apart by somebody else.
Our family woke up early Wednesday morning to prepare for the arrival of the Kosko. We never really know when it is going to arrive until we listen to the shipping report on the radio. Last week it arrived at 8:30 a.m., but sometimes it doesn't come until midnight! I went down to market and bought the few things available, then finished packing before I listened to the Maritime station at 9 a.m. when all of the ships call in their position. They all try to wait their turn, but sometimes they talk over each other, so listening and understanding over the static is somewhat of an acquired skill. We discovered the Kosko wasn't expecting to make it to Marulaon until around 4 p.m., so I enjoyed some extra time with the kids - listening to Olivia read her history and science too me, reading along with Sarah in her current reader, "Scarlet and Miniver", and after school we played some hand and foot. Quite a gift!
Sure enough, the ship pulled around the corner of the island a few minutes before 4:00, and Katherine, Aaron and I loaded into the motor canoe. Naris had cooked fish and lelenga and asked me to deliver a box of it to her brother and uncle in Honiara. I've met them before, but I knew they wouldn't have any trouble finding my face on the wharf at midnight! Aaron helped us climb up the rope ladder and carry the boxes on board. We found a great spot on the side of the deck where we would have a nice breeze and unfolded our mat. It was hard not to be able to kiss, hug, or even hold Aaron's hand in a goodbye, but Katherine and I watched him climb back down the ladder and into the boat. He hung around for a few minutes while others loaded, then we waved as he putted away back toward Marulaon.
Several canoes from Karumulun were loading the carved wooden super-sized "mortar and pestles" that my friends use to smash uvikola or havu to make culinary delicacies. I called down to them and tried to use a little bit of Lavukaleve to tell them that I wanted one. After about an hour, the boat moved off toward its next stop at Yandina, where it took on several huge ice chests of fish headed for Honiara's Central Market. We even watched one slide from the ropes mid-air and spill the huge freshly gutted fish all over the deck! After Yandina, Katherine and I munched on some trail mix and settled down for the night. She brought her lava-lava, but when I packed I thought we might be traveling during the day, so I forgot to bring one. When the sun went down, the breeze was cold! I ended pulling my night gown out of my back pack and wrapping it around my arms as I snuggled with Katherine to keep us both warm.
After tossing and turning (because on a hard deck isn't conducive to sleep), I finally sat up and finished reading my Cadfael book. We pulled into Honiara about midnight, and I called SITAG friends using Naomi's cell phone. I took Katherine and the first box onto the wharf and looked for a familiar face behind the gate swarming with people. Finally, the welcome sight of our SITAG director appeared, and I passed Katherine on to him to be passed to his wife (a favorite of Katherine's). Another SITAG friend joined us, and the three of us finished unloading, paid for the cargo charges, and elbowed our way through the gate. Thankfully, Komnis (Naris' brother) quickly found me in the throng, and I was able to give him the box after asking him, "Inu kea kim?" (Are you hungry?).
We gratefully arrived back at SITAG and tossed our bags and ourselves into the house where we stayed last June and July. Finally, we turned the lights off at 1 a.m., thankful for the safe trip and for the many people who prayed us safely into Honiara.