Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Updated Her Blog

From November 10th to January 15th there are new posts - so check them out!!!! I'm still working on putting pics but internet is just too slow - ugh!

On the boat to the airport on Tongoa and Tongariki is in the background

The plane from Tongoa to Vila - it only holds 8 people and a pilot that looks like he cant be more than 16 years old (and why isnt he looking where he is flying???)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Receive Mail Finally

Today is the first time I’ve received mail since arriving on Tongariki. As I’ve mentioned before mail has to be shipped from the PC office to my island since there is no post office or airport. It was either the ships kept changing the departure date or they completely passed Tongariki (apparently we are too small to matter) or the ship company forgot to put my packages on the ship and they stayed in their office for 2 weeks. So, when I got my mail I had 4 packages and over 20 letters. Thank you to everyone who has sent me something – it means so much to me to have all your love and support (in other words they keep me from going island crazy). It was like Christmas today – I though about spreading everything out over the next week but couldn’t resist. I was so excited to open everything I carried 2 of my 3 bags up the 30 min hike to my hut (I’ll pay for it later already my neck is sore).

Some highlights of the swag I got:
- coloring books and crayons (for the kids that come over and hang out – my place is like a youth center)
- bracelet making supplies (I’m queen of the friendship bracelet and I ended up making one for every kid in Erata. I felt like a sweat shop and so after I said nomo)

some samples of my mad bracelet making skills

- tons of magazines (thanks so much! I love reading about gossip, fashion and whats going on in the rest of the world)
- soup mixes (beans – its been 4 months since I’ve seen you)
- and tons of other stuff and great letters.

I loved reading all your letters – they made me cry, laugh out loud and miss you guys even more. Keep sending the letters I’ll eventually get them and it gives me a way to stay connected.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Learn Local Language

Slowly I am learning a few local words and phrases, such as:

NuNu = Mom
Bob = Dad
NaNa = Sister
TiTi = Brother
Uma = Grandma
BuBu = Grandpa
Meeme = Aunty
LoLo = Uncle

Shu Shum = Small
Keeya = Big

Will-Lou = Quick

Sikeetek = One
Kerroo = Two
Ketoll = Three

Corro = Go
Corra = Come

Cokinneekan = To Eat
Corro Go LoLo = Go Shower

On the left is the Kinde and on the right is the Coconut Primary School (1st - 8th grade)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Finish Her Survey

I have completed 47 health surveys and I am exhausted but it feels good to have been able to talk to every family on the island. I now feel ready to move forward and try to make an action plan and figure out what I can do to help. The troubles and challenges they face are common anywhere such as:
- Income and budgeting
- Family planning
- Jealously
- Over consumption (and the struggle between keeping their traditions and
Western influence and goods)
- Climate change

I’ll be leaving soon for Port Vila (back to the capital) to meet with the other health volunteers and should get a better idea of how to put all the information I gathered to good use. I’ll keep you updated on my projects and workshops.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Live in the Rat Hut

Rats Rats Rats. Well I guess they look more like large grey mice then the traditional huge brown rats with long tails – but everyone here calls ‘em rats. So, I’ve actually spotted in the daytime GusGus (who is fat) and Jerry (who is petite) both run across my floor and at night I can hear them both eating. “Eating what?” you may ask. Well, EVERYTHING – from the cap of my water bottle to my toothbrush holder, my toothpaste, my clothes and even playing cards. They pee on my stuffed animals and leave dropping everywhere.

Exhibit A & B: Can you see the holes in my shirt and toothbrush holder???

I had a cat – Dracula – who I inherited from Lei Tong (the last volunteer). However, he threw up worms all over my floor and I got pretty angry and made him sleep in the kitchen after that. He was good at killing rats but was picky about the food I’d try to give him – I think he wanted tuna but I always tried to feed him island food. While I was going around to the different villages he was caught eating baby chickens and so they killed him.

Sadly one of the last pictures of Dracula - RIP

Also, while I was going around to the villages and sleeping in other’s huts I had some run ins with the rats. One time I awoke to one licking at my foot – from then on I wore socks or made sure to cover them up. I found out its common for rats to try to eat people’s feet because maybe they didn’t wash them good or have food still stuck on them. One boy had a huge chunk chewed off – I asked him why he didn’t wake up but I guess he just sleeps like the dead. When I hear a rat scurry close to me or feel his weight on my legs I always kick them or shine my light to run ‘em off.

I have a new kitten now, her name is Leno and she is small still but I can already tell she’s going to be the best rat killing machine ever. And at least at the moment just her presence in the house is scaring the rats.

Leno resting and Leno practicing her quick reflexes w/ my handmade toy

Friday, January 1, 2010

Say “Tata 2009” and “Halo 2010!”

Happy New Year everyone!
I stayed up till midnight to bang bells and shout but soon after I was ready for bed. I had a glass of kava with dinner and I think it made me tired. New Year day we ate together as usual at the nakamal, danced to string band music and watched some videos. Yes we watched videos because the community pitched in for benzene (fuel for the generator). Of course the selection is not great - either home made string band videos, compilation fight videos like of Mike Tyson, or straight to DVD type movies in America. Oh well at least it’s something and you can’t be choosy out in the bush.

For entertainment I’ve been reading a lot. Thank goodness for the kindle because in the last 2 weeks I’ve read 5 books.
The Red Tent
The Handmaids Tale
The Assassin’s Apprentice
The Royal Assassin
The Assassin’s Quest
All great books. Keep sending me more recommendations!