27.04.2009 30 °C
Much has happened since we last had a chance to provide you all with an update. We have but two weeks left here and times seems to have disappeared quickly in the last little while. Overall we are "fat and sassy" and staying healthy! Hygiene is not one of the strong points here so things we take for granted all of a sudden become vital to staying healthy. eg) boiling and filtering drinking water and trying to keep things dry to avoid fungal infections etc.
I have never been in a place where it rains so much! Almost everyday we get torrential rains which leave the soil in a constant state of being water logged. And this is the dry season! If only we could send some water back home!
Awe cnyway, after enjoying our weekend break at Oyster Island (this included kayaking, swimming in the blue hole and snorkeling) we returned back to Luganville. We have been immensely blessed by a missionary family allowing us to stay in their guest house here. Brian and Renee are from the States and have included us in their family by providing us with meals and playing games with their kids etc. We were able to continue helping a pastor in town set up a youth center. This included more painting, odd jobs like hanging a door, making a program and designing a bulletin board. They are also building a front patio using natangara (local roofing material which is dried palm fronds) that looks quite cool.
This weekend just past we went with Brian and some Ni Vanuatu pastors up in to the bush! We traveled two and a half hours by "road", an hour by boat and then a 40 minute trek through jungle in thick mud to reach the Tehali speaking tribe. Their village is at the north of Santo near Big Bay. We went to visit another missionary couple who are working in the clinic that Brian built there. Brian just happens to love fishing! On the way we took the opportunity to troll surface lures in the pristine waters of the bay. Rachel's lure got hit first and after much effort she brought a lovely 4 foot barracutta to the boat. Our local guides soon subdued this toothy critter with a swift knife through the head. These fish are nasty and one could easily loose a finger or toe if your not careful! An hour passed and we had a few more hits on our lures but nothing stuck. Rachel's reel again started screaming as line peeled off! This time a monster from the deep had taken hold. After a fair struggle Rachel realized we would never see this fish. The wire trace had been frayed from the teeth of this fish! Disappointed, we continued towing lures and soon enough Rachel's lure was consume again. Rach and I shared the fight and after about 15 minutes we brought a 45 pound (25 kg) Wahoo into the boat. Wahoo are one of the quickest fish in the sea. This was truly a day we will never forget!!
So we arrived at the village with enough fish to feed everyone there! It was a pleasure to meet Gary and Pricilla from Montana who are working a the clinic. Gary showed me all the ins and outs of how to set up a solar system properly. Pricilla showed Rachel how the clinic is run and what she is dealing with. Everything from treating fevers, dealing with worms, wound care and preventing infection is done.
On Sunday the church put on a feast for us which included lap lap (mashed banana cooked in banana leaves), mashed taro with coconut cream, rice, beef, manioc, crabs, bananas and fish. Its tradition to dig into the mashed taro using your hand and all which is a little scary and hardly anyone here washes their hands! But for the most part the food was tasty and good.
It was a great trip out there and we both learnt a lot. It was amazing to see how much impact missionaries from the West are having in that place. They are using medical care as an open door to tell the people about the gospel.
We can now understand Bishlama pretty well and speak it a tiny bit. It basically a mix of French, English and native language. But there is many different languages in Vanuatu.
Tomorrow we fly back to Ambae for our last two weeks. Please continue to pray for ongoing health and safety for us. We have many more stories to tell you in person soon!
Till next time, God bless you. Look em you! (See you later in Bishlama!)