Saturday, January 1, 2011

Even more from Marulaon

Sunday, December 19, Aaron was invited to preach. I was really proud of him for preaching a great sermon in Pijin. You can see our wooden benches and kneeling rails. I have knee callouses from going to the prayer service every night!

On Monday, we still weren't getting good sunlight, so we put a halt to anything that used electricity during the day so we could run our little 12 volt fans at night. We created a great assembly line for washing, wringing, and hanging clothes underneath the house.
Today was also a special day because my Benjamin turned 10!!! His week in NICU during an ice storm in Arkansas ten years ago seems so removed from our tropical climate here in Marulaon. I'm so proud of the vivacious and kind boy he has become. A cut on his arm has become quite infected, so we are starting him on antibiotics. Even though he really doesn't feel good and his arm is red and swollen, he still so willing to help.

Tuesday, December 21, a Mother's Union group from Malaita arrived. Our half of the village was responsible for providing breakfasttomorrow, so we made lelenga. First we went to our small garden close to the house and hacked down the thin trunks. We quickly gathered a crowd of little girls who wanted to help me take the ubikola out of the dirt. Notice me swinging that knife - who'd have thought I would be hacking plants with a bush knife?!?
Benjamin is quickly becoming quite the garden guy. He helped me dig up the ubikola, and he is getting really good at digging the mounds of earth needed to plant the root crops.
Then we all pitched in to make a huge tray of lelenga to share with the visitors in the morning.
On Wednesday morning, the Mother's Union group asked for a big church service complete with communion. So several of our family attended the service. I ended leaving early because my tooth was hurting so badly. This is the same tooth that gave me trouble in Brisbane, and it's been hurting for a while now. I started antibiotics yesterday, and I'm hoping that they will kick in soon. My early departure caused my neighbors to question me later in the day. When they learned that my tooth was hurting (nganeo laure), they informed me of all their tooth woes, too! I took lelenga down to feed the visitors, but when the Mother's Union did their big program, I stayed home and slept. My dad has caught the village cold and really feels rotten, too.

We decided to hold our "Choate Christmas" on Thursday, December 23, to avoid all of the Lavukaleve festivities. Aaron made our traditional gingerbread waffles, and we enjoyed opening gifts that made it across the ocean from friends and family. A big thank you to those of you who remembered our family during this special time of year.
Later in the day, Eta came over and helped us build a new bed for the Chinese cabbage. She asked her cousin, Thomas (who built our kitchen), to help, too. Everybody worked together to bring rich dirt over, and we had the bed ready for the new transplants by the end of the day. Then it was time to make lelenga for Christmas Eve. Each family was asked to bring 15 parcels of lelenga and 10 parcels of fish to help out with feeding everybody for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Karumalun (where Ezekiel lives). We made about 20 parcels of lelenga, and Eta brought the special leaves (fafanem) to make the individual portions of lelenga. She even stayed around a little while to make sure we knew what we were doing.

On Christmas Eve, Aaron, Mama, and my girls went over to Karumalun in a canoe, while the sick ones stayed home. Many people in Marulaon have the "flu". The clinic has run out of Panadol (a fever reducer), so we have had many, many people asking us for meds. I was able to share some medicine and some food with Margaret and Rebekah's family just down the hill - almost their entire family is sick and in bed. After I checked on them, I spent the rest of the evening making banana muffins to take to Karumalun for breakfast in the morning. Aaron sang in Marulaon's choir tonight, so the whole crew returned shortly before midnight.

Sarah has been practicing diligently for the Christmas Day dancing. I was so proud of her! I would have tripped and fallen several times. She worked really hard and represented Marulaon well. Four groups (young girls, married women, young boys, married men) from each village should have danced. However, so many people were sick that only Sarah's group danced.

Monday, December 26 - Yesterday at church, I learned that that family who lost a son to a crocodile last August will have a hair cutting/cleansing ceremony on Friday. Since we won't be in Marulaon, I asked Kiko if it would be appropriate to take the family some uncooked food like ubikola and sugar. So early this morning, I went out to my small garden close to the house and began to harvest a few heaps of ubikola. Some of them were really deep in the ground, so I went next door to ask Nancy to help me get them out without breaking them. She said she would come in a little bit, so I went back and attacked another heap of ubikola. Unfortunately, I also attacked my left index fingernail. By the time I had bandaged it, Nancy had completely removed all of the ubikola! I took them down to Sylvester (she's the mom, and it took me a long time to figure that one out) and told her we would be remembering her on Friday.
Tonight, the community threw a going away potluck for my parents. Just before prayer, uncooked food began arriving from people who weren't planning to attend. So I had extra food to cook. I had to go over to Eileen's to double check how to cook the fish in coconut cream. Chairman said he would ring the bell after Evening Prayer, and about 8:20, the bell finally rang. We are all usually in bed by that time! Finally, the party started about nine. We sang and danced and made speeches and ate lots of good food.

Last day in Marulaon - We've been so busy these last few days that packing and preparing to leave have really taken a back seat to all of the activities. Thankfully, we are all beginning to fell better. This morning we frantically packed and cleaned and listened to the shipping report - the Bikoi didn't report, so we had no idea if it would come before lunch or late at night. We also participated in a big church fundraiser to make money for finishing the church building. Each couple was asked to bring SI $100, and each child was to bring SI $5. We had already drawn names to exchange gifts with another family from Marulaon. Our family had hinted that what we really wanted was another woven mat to replace the one that got loaned out and never returned. We were excited when the fundraiser finished and Leku brought the mat up the hill to our house.

Finally, at the 3 o'clock shipping report, we heard that the Bikoi was expected in Marulaon around 6 p.m., so we had some time to relax and visit with our neighbors.

Our neighbors are always so sweet to help us load the canoes and take us out to load the Bikoi. The evening was beautiful, and the seas were calm! We enjoyed an amazing sunset from the top of the Bikoi.

We settled in on the top of an almost empty Bikoi and spread our mats to get comfy for the seven hour ride. After a couple of hours, the beautiful stars began to disappear, and rain drops began to fall, driving us down to a lower deck. The lights were on downstairs, and our spots were on top of the engine room, but some of us managed to rest before we pulled into Honiara a little after 2 a.m. The faces of our sweet SITAG friends encouraged us so much! They helped us get everything off the deck of the Bikoi. We had to walk through another ship to get to the dock, and the captain wouldn't allow anything out of the hold. So we all drove back to SITAG with plans to come back to the Bikoi in the daylight to retrieve our boxes.

We are so thankful for the smooth trip on the Bikoi, and we know it's because of the many prayers offered up on our behalf.


The dB family said...

Very thankful for God's travelling mercies for you again. So good to be reading your posts again too.


The Hibbard Family said...

Oh how much fun I am having reading these posts!