Friday, December 18, 2009

November 18, 2009

Tomorrow is Thursday, we will have been at our site for a week tomorrow. The plane only flies to our airport on Thursdays, so that's easy enough to remember. After we get off the plane, we have to find a truck to get a bumpy ride to the solwota (bislama for ocean) and then an hour long boat ride, then a short uphill walk to our house.
Our village is beautiful to say the least, we're on the side of hill beside the solwota, facing west's fantastic. Our house isn't finished being built, in fact, it has a long way to go, there's a frame and roof (most of a roof) but that's about it, we're optimistically hoping it will be finished by the end of the year. In the meantime, we are staying in a relatively modern concrete building, owned by the successful villager whose work requires he lives somewhere else. He's a provincial health director, so technically one of the big boss-man of Alex's supervisor. We're hoping he'll want to stay at his nice concrete house over Christmas and orders our house be completed...hoping.
Awkward is probably an appropriate word to use to describe the last week. The children stare at Alex and I A LOT, people regularly tell us things we don't understand, when we ask the same questions multiple times - we ALWAYS get multiple different answers. There's lots of us not knowing what to say or do. Children under the age of 5 or 6 and many of the old women in the village often don't speak bislama, only the local language.
I cut my hand (very minor cuts) multiple times trying to open these chestnut-like nuts, Alex enjoyed pointing out all the young children (ages 3 and up) who were much more efficient and much safer with a bush knife than I.
Alex and I planted some basil, mint, cilantro, lemon grass and aloe vera, and some tomatoes, literally - just squeezed some fresh tomatoes until all the seeds came out and then covered them with dirt - Does anybody know if this method might be effective?
We have two guitars with us and are finding the time to play with those everyday too, besides that, just a lot of awkward storian (that's story-on, bislama for sitting down and just talking with some one for no reason other than to story on and pass the time, Alex and I do it to make friends and INTEGRATE a buzz-word that Peace Corps uses a lot) with the locals, we're learning about the community and our bislama is getting stronger most days.
I'm going to finish now and save the precious computer battery-life.
Lukim yufala bak bakagen sam taem klosap

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

foam expanding animals

Alex and folks from the Pentecostal church, this day was the Sunday School breaking-up (closing for the year). Alex's host papa (in the blue, fully buttoned shirt), a preacher at the church, asked if we could lead one pleiplei (play play, (game)). We said yes, but weren't sure what to do with a such a mixed-age group (ages 2-14), especially since the younger children wouldn't speak bislama, (they speak only the local language). While packing in America, Alex and I had purchased these little foam pill-looking things that expand into animal shapes when put into warm water. We didn't have a clue what we would use them for, we knew we would use them with children, of course, but we didn't have any plans for how we would use them.
Anyways, we ended up doing a little toktok (talk talk) with the kids, asking them what they knew about Noah's Ark - Papa Leo translated for the younger children - then we gave them each one of the little pill-shaped-foam-things and put a bowl of water in the middle. The children had never seen the pill-shaped-foam-things before and didn't understand the connection to Noah's Ark toktok. The adults hadn't seen the pill-shaped-foam-expanding-in-water-animals before either, nor did they see the connection with Noah.
So all the kids put their pills in the water and gathered tightly around the bowl and started staring intensely. The pills were meant to be put in warm water, but we never read the instructions, so it took a while for them to expand, but the kids kept staring, their really good at staring, there was simultaneous 'ahhh' as soon as everyone realized the pills were turning into animals.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

english words in language

at some point the local language stopped developing and they just started using english words when new things came around. Alex and I get to listen to lots of speeches in language and it's kind of fun to hear the eclectic collection of english words that are thrown in, some words are to be expected like school and headmaster and concrete, but then there other words like report, boat (there's a language word for ship and for canoe, but a small boat with a motor is called a boatie), bullock (the bislama word for cow), truck, they count in english, church, and plenty more that don't come to mind now. I'll have to keep a list next time the opportunity presents itself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

working on the house

That's my butt in the grey shorts. You can tell by the white legs. We're working on the walls of the house. I get the easy jobs - like cutting the ridges smooth on the bamboo that is to be used to make the walls. In this picture, the cement floor is finished. Workdays were happening on a weekly basis - until recently when the cement building with flush toilets took precedence over our house being finished. It's really sad.