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Published: September 11th 2010
Justin and one of his ukelele playing buddies.
10 July 2010 Ukelele
Justin has a new favorite island pastime: tinkering around on the ukulele. He has acquired two this past month; one he made with the help of some students at the school, the second one a friend made for him. They have slightly different sounds, so one gets played for “island style” music and the other gets picked up when he wants to play “the blues.” He’ll be serenading in the background of phone calls for the remainder of our service, and plans to bring the instruments home with us to a life in the US of A. World Cup
Gambule got into the loop with the world wide spectacle of the World Cup. A satellite dish and special cable box had to be paid for and picked up in Vila so that the games could come live to the school; the first live television that most people have seen since the last World Cup in 2006. After two or three days tinkering with the satellite to get it aimed in just the precise direction, a tremendous cheer told the whole village that the World Cup was now on
Watching the final match. I'm sorry this picture doesn't capture the overflow of people watching the game through the windows.
The games, since they are broadcasted live, show here in the wee hours of the morning. One starts at 1:00 am and another at 5:30 am. They are broadcasted in French. People who want to watch pay 100 vatu to see one match. They walk quite a distance to come see the games as this is the only place to see the games on the island. If there are two games in a night, many will sleep on the tables in the dining hall to wait for the second. Our extra room sometimes gets a few extra visitors for a few hours between games as well; something my temperamental sleep gauge doesn’t appreciate.
We did manage to rouse ourselves for the final two games. The game between Uruguay and Germany for third place had me thinking that I could become a soccer fan. I was easily taken by the pace and skill of the game and the match passed quickly. But, with the final match being a more defensive game and most of the action in the middle of the field, I took that thought back. With the broadcasting in French, I was distracted by the
spectacle that we were creating more than the game itself. About a hundred people crammed into the school dining hall, kids circulating with strings of “gato” an island style version of a donut, concession stand style, the common interest we all had when players made a slide tackle or manhandled each other and received a yellow or red card.
Though I wasn’t interested much in the games themselves, the event has been gateway for people on the island to learn about people from other countries. Lots of chatter about the physique of the “waet man” or “man china” from other countries gets people thinking about the world outside of this small island, and yet makes them all feel connected with that similar interest in a popular sport. Church of Christ Visitors
A group of ten members of Church of Christ congregations in Australia came to visit Maewo for a few weeks. Some of the group visited the Church of Christ churches on the island to lead bible studies. The rest hung out at the school, helping teach classes and taught the kids new songs and memory verses.
Their time here was very short and
Coral Jar Party
First graders ready to indulge in some sugar!
busy, it definitely changed the pace of life at the school for a few weeks. It was interesting for us to compare our approach to our project work and life here with theirs, just different focus and goals definitely shape and affect our respective outlooks. Still, even in the weeks since they have gone back to Australia, we are gleaning the positive effects that the students have some new songs to sing during devotion time to spice up their usual repertoire of about five repeated favorites. Props to them for taking the trip to this remote place, for being genuine, and for introducing some new musical ditties! Project Particulars
I’m still hanging out in first grade. Last week we had a class party because the coral jar was full. Just before they went home for the weekend, Ms. Flora and I sugared the kids up with pamplemoose, juice, and cookies. (The sugar seemed to linger in their systems all the way through the weekend and into the next Monday.) Those treats got the kids excited to get the now empty jar full again so we can have another party!
There is now quite a bit more interest in Justin as people are starting to realize that we’ll be leaving in a few months and the teachers are still wishing to learn to type. He’s been working with a few of the teachers of the secondary school on typing and will start with the primary teachers over the next few weeks. They’re all interested in getting the typing skills down so that they can type tests for the end of the term, coming up at the end of August. He continues to teach the 10th grade on Mondays and Wednesdays when the generator is on to power the computers in the evenings. They mostly focus on basics like using the mouse and typing. On the Way Home
We’ve requested and been officially approved for a thirty day advancement of our ‘close of service’ (COS) date and will leave Vanuatu on October 29! The request was justified as the month of November is mainly full of testing and shutting down the school for the year, so our work at that time would be minimal at best.
A more personal reason for our request was that we take the opportunity to travel a bit on this side of the world before heading home for Christmas. We started working out the logistics with our fellow Maewo volunteer, Sandy, for a 45 day travel spree on the way home. If all works out according to our plans, we’ll spend time in Bali, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and/or Vietnam, maybe lay over a few days in Hong Kong, and finally spend time with Sandy’s family in Taiwan before clicking our ruby slippers together and heading back to Kansas. It is definitely something for us to look forward to these last few months at site. I also hope the trip will help the transition back to life back in the States, putting our time here into perspective on a more global scale and easing the experiences of life in a developed country for us a bit. Ultimately, this trip will something more to “story about” with the folk back home, introducing more ideas, beliefs, and cultures of people who exist and share this same wide world with us.
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