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Published: October 20th 2008
So the other day, we had “a day at the beach”…
Along the beachfronts of Ambrym the volcano's lava flow carved out little pools before it let out into the mighty sea. These pools, when the tide is not in, are thermal hot springs. A day at the beach, here, means sitting in hot water as cold salty water crashes against the rocks around you. Amazing and unique to even the islands of Vanuatu.
The hotwater provides a luxury beyond self indulgence, as well. Since, we virtually have no water in my village, we need to carry our clothes down (as it’s a steep climb to the other side) to the “hot water” to wash. The other day, as all the mamas prepared their dirty clothes to carry down the “cliff”, I gathered up Meup (May-oop) to wash. Meup is a new puppy in our village who was left for dead until I decided this was one dog I was not going to watch die. I bought him tins of meat and feed him until he got better. Now he’s strong, just a bit dirty and in need of a bath.
We all go down to the soltwota
(read: Bislama for salt water/ocean) with dirty clothes fasten to backs, Bananas slung over shoulders, and Meup secured in my sarong (yes the villagers get a kick out of the crazy white woman). Down at the water the mamas set about getting a week’s worth of 10+ peoples' dirty clothes clean, the children run off to dig crab, and I wash poor Meup. The rest of the day is spent relaxing in the sun reading “Catch-22” as well as eating roasted bananas and crabs. It was a marvelous day, we spent eight hours there and all I could think of is if I was back home at the Jersey shore, the water wouldn’t be nice and the beach would be loitered not with clean clothes drying but garabage. The kids would be whining to their parents, you’d spent a fortune by now, and just want to go home. Maybe I’m being harsh, but it is a drastic comparison.
As my time here is almost done, I reflect sadly that these are my last trips to the salt water, and my last roasted crabs and bananas. Yesterday, I sat down with a group of six young women to form a
committee to organize camps for young girls in the area, designed to encourage leadership and promote a more healthy lifestyle. The PC committee that I’m on, Gender and Development, is running a week long workshop to train peer educators to run such camps and I will be taking two of these women to Vila next week to attend. When we come back we will run a mini camp to give them all a chance to share what they’ve learned and practiced. Due to our shortage of water for cooking and washing, we’ve decided to hold the camp down at the saltwater! Camping, eating crabs and bananas everyday!! I’m very excited.
Well time is very short, and I have a lot of work to finish before I go. But I am coming home! I can’t believe 2 years has already past by and at this moment my replacement is getting ready to do my job for the next two.
To leave on a funny note (only in the bush)…
Yesterday I heard some rummaging going on behind my house, so I went out back expecting to find the old chief gathering firewood or something. Instead, I find one
very small black pig trying to have sex with one big mama. Finding this slightly amusing (hey I haven’t had television for 2 years) I ran and got my camera. Just then I see another pig come out from the bush. I snapped my camera and noticed this pig was looking at me like he was going to come after me. This morning I awake to dogs barking, men running, and a pig wailing just behind my house. There was a wild pig the dogs cornered and then men killed, and I noticed this to be the one who was ready to come at me the day before. Thankfully, I was smart enough not to encourage Finnegan run them after what had happened to Jack. Enjoy the photos and sorry this is my last update, not that I’ve been very good at updating this year!! Sorry.
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