This morning at 7:00, Hilda came by and delivered a stapled piece of paper. Benjamin was on the porch reading his Bible, so he brought it inside where Aaron and I were making dozens and dozens of banana muffins for a sewing workshop. The paper was an invitation to attend the opening ceremonies of the workshop, from 8:30-10:00. We asked the kids how they felt about both of us being gone for a little while, and they responded with a resounding affirmation that we should attend. I really, really like interacting with my kids through school, and I miss them when I don't get to be home, but I'm so proud of them for encouraging us both to go. They are very much a part of the team and the reason why Aaron can be the Lavukal Translation Advisor. And I trust my kids to do what they are supposed to do while we are gone!
So Aaron and I took banana cake and went down to help set up for the workshop. Even though it was supposed to begin at 8:30, the bell hadn't rung yet and we knew it would still be a while before everything got started. Aaron ran back and forth from the house to the workshop venue, bringing tablecloths and mugs and anything else that might be helpful. I played with kids, helped put food on trays, and untangled string that was being tied up to hold flowers for decorations. As people begin to arrive, Aaron got to sit and visit with the other "big men" from the village, and I hid amongst the other moms. After the opening prayer and the speeches, Aaron got to declare the workshop "open" and cut the string to be all official.
In the speeches, the ladies thanked me for providing material. Unbeknownst to me, the material and yarn I've been donating from time to time over the last several years had been saved for this very workshop.
As the opening ceremony finished up, we heard somebody shout "Bikoi!" From our village, we can see the ships coming from far away. I knew that my friend, Margaret, was planning to catch the Bikoi to go to Honiara for her daughter to deliver her first baby, so I wanted to make sure I hugged her neck before she left. I checked on the kids at home, then walked down the hill to Margaret's house. Before I got there, I was stopped by Leku who wanted to borrow a crochet hook. I told her I would loan her one of Sarah's but that I needed to go to Margaret's house first. Imagine my surprise when Leku told me that Margaret wasn't at home, she was at the clinic with her daughter who had delivered a healthy baby boy in the middle of the night! I hightailed it back to the house and grabbed the camera. Katherine had just finished her school work, so I took her along, too. She is fascinated right now with babies and being a mom, and I knew she would want to see the new baby.
On the way to the clinic, we stopped to check on the sewing workshop and the deliver the crochet hook to Leku. Watching so many women working together made me so excited! Many of the women already know how to sew using the hand cranked sewing machines because of a workshop held here by SWIM (Short term Work in Missions) in August of 2011. SWIM donated the sewing machines that my friends were using today. These ladies wanted to pass on their skills, and I watched as my friend, Ofoaen, learned to crochet,
while others began sewing food covers (very important to keep off the plethora of flies here). Even little Lolikia was very interested in the sewing machines, it won't be long before she'll be the one whipping out beautiful clothes and useful food covers.
Then Katherine and I walked over to the clinic at the end of our village. We tiptoed up the steps to find a tired mama and new baby sleeping underneath a pink mosquito net inside the clinic,
but I couldn't find Margaret. When I asked, "Margaret vasia?" (Where's Margaret?), her granddaughter just said, "Heaka" (Over there.) Finally, after I asked several times, the granddaughter clarified by telling me that my friend had gone to use the "facilities" on the nearby beach. Marulaon has "facilities" on each end of our coastal village. So, Katherine and I sat down to wait. Margaret's twin granddaughters and her youngest son waited with us. They kept trying to go get Margaret, but I felt a little awkward about interrupting her. The kids begin to pull leaves off the bushes and play with them, and then we got tickled and started laughing and playing. They made what looked like sunglasses out of some of the leaves that had a natural curve to them.
Margaret eventually came of the bush and greeted me enthusiastically. She kept thanking me for the "text", and I couldn't figure out what she was talking about (I certainly hadn't sent her a text message!). Finally she said something about Hebrews, and I remembered that last week I had given her one of the sheep with the reference of Hebrews 13:20-21 written on the back. She said that those verses were powerful. She was so thankful that she didn't have to go to Honiara hospital for the delivery and that God had strengthened her daughter throughout the birth. Here's the best part: the little boy's name will be Hebrews!