Sunday night, we heard a knock on the door about 8 o'clock. Eileen was letting us know that her daughter Naris was in labor and that they were leaving for the clinic. They returned Monday morning with a beautiful baby boy. The clinic had run out of water, so their stay was shorter than anticipated.
We gave my parents a few days to catch their breath. On Wednesday, December 15, we enjoyed our normal market day. Later, Sarah, Olivia, Mama and I went with Kiko in a dugout canoe to dive for kalimeta and fishing. We didn't have much success, so we split the food - Kiko took the fish and we took the kalimeto. Mama and Katherine pulled each little critter out, and we enjoyed them in a sauce of coconut cream and curry after we shared some with Kiko and with Eileen.
Thursday, we woke up to rain. The rain continued (lai hoanu) all day, and Eileen showed up late in the day to plant the 20 + pineapple tops we had been keeping for the garden. From my mom's journal: "In the afternoon, Eileen came by the house on her way to the bush garden. She offered to take Joanna's pinapple tops and pepper plants to put in. Bless her heart, she was less than thrilled when Joanna told her that three of us wanted to go with her to work in the bush garden. However, Eileen was gracious and the three of us followed her into the bush, down the narrow trail. We stepped over roots, watched for falling coconuts and admired God's lush creation....We had rain during the night and in the morning. It was the type of rain Aaron calls "garden rain" (soft and gentle) as opposed to "rain tank rain" (hard and heavy); so the garden, while not muddy was damp enough to cling to my sandals. As we walked back to the village, evidently my sandals were brushing agaist the inside of my ankles and calves creating horizontal stripes. The first I knew of it was when we stopped to say, "hello", to three women seating outside a house at the edge of the village. They pointed to my legs and laughed. Joanna translated (ngotau hunuhunu); I looked at my striped legs and we all had a good laugh."
Friday morning, we again awoke to a drizzle. After morning chores, Mama sat under the house and played games in Lavukaleve with the kids -- Number Bingo and Body Part Concentration. She brought lots of mini candy canes to share, so they enjoyed the sweet treat while they learned together.
Later in the day, Mama and I got one of the boys to climb up one of our coconut trees and cut down some branches to help make shade for our newly transplanted Chinese cabbage.
By Saturday, December 18, we had overflowing rain tanks and depleted batteries. Market kept us going back and forth to the house to empty baskets full of food and bring them back down the hill for more.
We bought a beautiful fish that had been motued, so we decided that instead of motuing cassava pudding (lelenga) we would motu sweet potatoes (umalau)
and pumpkin leaves to eat with the fish.
The best part is licking the pan with the coconut cream! I went down to ask Eileen if I could take some banana leaves (bua) to motu my two trays of food. This was the first time I had ever cut the leaves by myself, so Eileen watched me to make sure I didn't cut my fingers off. I taught my parents how to prepare the umalau and the pumpkin greens, and everybody pitched in to make some of our favorite foods.