Tuesday, December 23
When we woke up this morning, the plan for the day was work a little, play a little, get ready for the boat tomorrow. Yesterday, we finished cooking and closed up the kitchen, super thankful for the small, propane powered refrigerator we have to keep all of that food from spoiling until we get on the boat. I spent much of the day delivering things to friends: leftover unpopped popcorn, empty air-tight containers, laundry detergent, onions, and fish hooks. It's important in this Melanesian culture to maintain relationships well, and it's important to me, too, to have time to say goodbye and hug necks before we leave.
When we checked our e-mail, we received an update from our director informing us that the Kosco office was now predicting the ship's arrival at 4:00 p.m. TODAY instead of tomorrow. That sounded a little bit strange to us, but we kicked everything into high gear just in case. We also started asking neighbors lots of questions about what they had heard from the ship or on the radio, and we began sending lots of e-mails to colleagues asking for updates and confirmation.
The Kosco used to come right to Marulaon, but we've heard rumors that some people in our village offended the boat's crew, so the Kosco now stops at a village about twenty minutes away. Our neighbors began telling us that the ship wouldn't be in the Russell Islands until tomorrow morning, but we hadn't heard anything definite from Honiara, so a little bit before 4:00, Aaron made the decision to load up the canoes with our things just in case the ship really did come. So, we quickly turned off the fridge, stripped the beds so we could wash the sheets in Honiara, gave away the pineapple, papaya, and pumpkin I had saved for supper, and began hauling everything down the hill while Aaron went to talk to the owners of the motor canoes. No time for showers or a change of clothes, we were getting on that boat stinky and sweaty!
Friends helped us carry everything down the hill, Olivia grabbed little Muna, who was happy as long as she got her sugar cane. We were ready to drive away when I realized it was 4:30, time for SITAG's radio sched, so I ran up the hill, unlocked the house, and turned on the radio to chat. I discovered that the ship wasn't coming today! Our colleague told us that the updated arrival time was between 8:00 and 9:00 tomorrow morning. So, our wonderful Marulaon friends offered to cover one canoe with our bags still in it, and the rest of our luggage was carted to a friend's house to stay on the porch overnight.
We carried our backpacks back up to the house, scrounged for sheets and towels to make it through the next sixteen hours, turned the fridge back on, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Jason and Kayla were troopers through the whole ordeal. Now we could get a good night's sleep at home instead of trying to sleep on the ship. God's timing is always perfect!