From February 15

After morning prayer, the bell rang many times to call the community to work on the clinic and the new nurse's house. When we first came to Marulaon, our village had a clinic and a great nurse. Unfortunately, the nurse got sick and died, and the clinic has remained empty for two years. Last year for Lent, the community worked to get the nurse's house ready, but things were never finished. If we don't get the clinic and house ready by next week, our village will lose the chance to keep a clinic. Currently, we must paddle about fifteen minutes and walk through a coconut plantation another fifteen minutes to get to the nearest clinic.

We always try to participate in community work if we have the skills, so Aaron walked over to work on the clinic. 

He and Chief Leonard worked to replace the screen on the clinic while the women weeded and planted new flowers

and the men sewed new leaf for the house and built a new kitchen. Chief Leonard's youngest son, Kapu, oversaw the work on the clinic,

and Chairman Hensi's daughter, Mariska,

made sure the guys were doing everything right on the nurse's house.

On my way over to the clinic to take pictures, I found Skita's mom peeling bark from a stick.

 I assumed that she was going to use it tie something together, like bamboo to make a fence. However, she told me that after you peel the bark off, then you peel the skin of the bark off to leave the supple strip of white. Then you tie it around your back when you need to go work so your back won't hurt. Both she and Skita extolled the virtues of this cure for back pain, so I told them that the next time I went to hoe heaps of dirt to plant back uvikola/cassava and umalau/sweet potato, I would come get some of the bark.

Later in the afternoon, the kids went to play and I walked around with my favorite new picture. Among the pictures my sister sent is one of my parents, my siblings, and their spouses. It is the first current picture I have of my whole family since we left almost four years ago. Now, Katherine can practice matching the names and faces of these strange people she doesn't remember. I found Ofain making lelenga

and her granddaughter, Bernadine, making a broom. 

I practiced my Lavukaleve and showed off my new picture.

When I returned to the house, I found the usual group of kids waiting for band-aids.

We must hand out ten to fifteen band-aids a day! Sometimes the kids just have an old scratch, but sometimes they really do need a band-aid and some antibiotic ointment. The tropical climate here makes the band-aids fall off really fast, though. When we return to the States in a few months, I think we will be field testing band-aids to bring back with us.


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