We didn't even have to wake the kids up this morning because they were all awake and getting ready before 5:00. I'm so proud of them and their willingness to help and to be a part of Team Choate.
Yesterday, Team Choate and Team SITAG combined for the fastest loading of the truck I've ever seen. And this morning, several of our amazing colleagues were at our door before 6:00 to accompany us down to the wharf.
We bounced through the potholes of Honiara, arrived at the wharf, and paid our $5 fee to enter (as well as the fee for the SITAG truck filled with kids and cargo right behind us). After a hard rain all night long, the wharf was slick, but the sunrise promised a clear morning for loading the ship and traveling out to Marulaon.
With lots of helping hands, it didn't take long to unload the truck and move all of our cargo to the Kosco. It always looks like so many boxes when we travel, but I have to remind myself that we have sheets and towels, clothes, school books, and food for the next 9-10 weeks in those boxes and buckets.
Even the ship's crew helped out, tossing boxes up to the deck where Aaron was waiting to catch and some SITAG friends were ready to play Tetris with each box that came their way. We were soon settled into favorite spot on the ship, and other colleagues joined the party with enough cinnamon rolls (and coffee!) to share.
Our ship stops at the Russell Islands and then heads out West toward Gizo. Another ship leaves at the same time for Gizo, but doesn't stop in our language group. So, our ship was fairly empty, and many of the people were headed for either Yandina or Marulaon. This sweet baby was one of them. She let me take her picture, and then I showed her and asked, “Ami hin?” (Who is it?) “Inu!” (It's you!)
After I snapped this photo of the three musketeers on board the ship, I realized they were all dressed alike. I guess this is the SITAG Translation Adviser uniform: full beard, grayish blue t-shirt, and khaki shorts. Classy. We're so thankful for our colleagues who work alongside us, slogging through the day to day work and being faithful to what God has called each one of us to do.
We got off around 9:20 on glassy seas. Although it's been more than a year since the family took this ship ride back home to Marulaon, we soon settled back into a familiar rhythm.
Read a little bit...gaze at the beautiful view...
take a selfie with this amazing man. There is nobody else I'd rather go adventuring with. And, yes, that is the ocean behind us. It was a beautiful color as we pulled out of Honiara.
God blessed us with dolphins on this trip. They played around the ship as we neared the end of Guadalcanal. As usual, when we left the protection of Guadalcanal, the sea started rolling gently. I was really thankful for Bonine and for the space to lie down until we entered the shelter of the Russell Islands. However, Olivia chose to make her way to the side of the ship and not fight the nausea. She felt much better after she emptied the contents of her stomach into the ocean.
We pulled into Yandina a little after 2:00 and began unloading boxes and boxes for the stores there.
Aaron and Benjamin bought the family some green coconuts at the little market, then Aaron walked to the police station to look for our empty petrol can from last weekend's canoe ride adventure.
The can was in the police canoe, which was out and about, so Aaron can back to the ship. We people-watched for the next couple of hours while the ship finished unloading. Our friend, Leonard, was on the ship with us, so I caught up on the births and deaths and current events of his family and our village. We finally arrived in the harbor in front of Marulaon around 5:00. Finding familiar faces in the canoes around us was fun! I'm grateful that our neighbors are so willing to come to the ship to help unload us and all of our boxes. Three canoes and multiple trips later, we finally opened the door to our house as boxes piled up on our porch.
It had been a long day, and we still needed to find something to eat in all of those boxes. We're a little out of our routine of moving back and forth, so we had forgotten to pack a “first things” box with a quick supper and clean sheets inside.
We didn't make it to church tonight, but as soon as the service was over, Hensy and his extended family came over to shake our hands. His wife, Nancy, and their new baby didn't come, so I made a quick trip over to their house to ooh and aah over their new little one. I learned that six little boys had been born in the last few months. As I walked home, the sun was setting and the peace and quiet of the evening was descending. As we continued to unpack, we eventually found a box of cereal that Aaron had purchased on the “expired/sale” rack. We mixed up some powdered milk with one of the water bottles I had frozen in Honiara that had now melted. Cold milk and stale cereal never tasted so good. Because we were home.