From January 17

Last night, we heard lots of singing and dancing nearby, and many people walked by our house quite loudly throughout the night. This morning, we discovered that a young lady graduated in December from Fly Harbor School at the other end of our island, and now she is getting ready to move to Honiara to continue her education. The party was to celebrate her finishing 6th grade and moving on to secondary school. Sixth grade is as far as most people get in the Solomons. School fees rise dramatically past the 6th grade, and most people don't need to keep going to school if they plan to continue living in the village, growing food in the garden, and gathering from the amazing variety of fish and shellfish found around here.
 
Janet, the chief's wife, came by this morning to invite us to a farewell party for two of her sons who are also going back for school. One of her sons in entering Form 5, or what we in North America would call 11th grade, and the other one beginning 8th grade. The school year on this side of the world runs from the end of January to the beginning of December. Janet spoke to Aaron all in Lavukaleve, and he understood what she was telling him! I'm so proud of my hubby. We're really honored that she would invite us to come celebrate her boys.
 




  Today, we tackled cleaning the books in our bedrooms. We'll save the school books for tomorrow. Because of the bugs and the dust, we wipe down and flip through our books in Marulaon every time we return to the village, and ever time we get ready to leave.






Even though books fall apart really quickly here in the Solomons, and they acquire a distinctive (or should I say “dis-stink-tive”?) smell, we love our books, and we want them to last as long as possible here. Sometimes, you just have to pause and take a break in the midst of the chaos, though!



Aaron took our screen door off its hinges and put new screen on it.  The old one was pretty beat up. Who knew this would be part of his job description?


While he worked on the door, I walked off to the point to get specifics about tonight's party. Janet said the party would begin around 7:30 “Solomon Time”. That meant more like 8:00 or 8:30. I also learned that a monetary gift would be appropriate to bring in addition to food. I was bold and asked her how much, since we've never done anything like this before. She said, “Oh, twenty or thirty dollars”, which is roughly equivalent to three or four American dollars. On the way back from Janet's house, I stopped and talked to the three sisters – Kiko, Grace Delight, and Daisy. We visited for a little bit, then I asked Kiko how to fix the “dry mince” (also known as texturized vegetable protein – TVP) that she made for a translation workshop in Marulaon. She tried to explain it to me, and finally I just asked her to come to the house after Evening Prayer to show me. I would make a double batch and share it with her.


Mid-afternoon, the kids and I decided to go reconnect with some more friends. It's hard to find adults at home this time of day because it's prime work time. Most mornings, everybody is still around the house, but after lunch, it's time to go to the garden, go fishing, or go copra. North of our house, none of my friends were home, but just south of our house I finally found Sylvester peeking out her window. We visited for a while as she watched her youngest play in the ocean and float around in a small canoe. Susie is one of Katherine's friends, and Katherine really wanted to go swimming with her buddies, so she and I took off for the water. She had the best time playing and swimming!  As I watched her play, I visited with Atkin and Julie. Atkin recently dislocated his ankle, so they asked if we had any medicine to help with the pain. When I took Katherine back up to the house for a bath, I grabbed some meds and returned down the hill to Atkin.


So, now it's just after radio sked with SITAG, and we are eating cheese and crackers to tide us over until the big party tonight at Chief Leonard and Janet's house. I just took a look at the thermometer, and it's about 90 degrees in the house at just before six o'clock in the evening.  I'm so thankful for fans!

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