Marshallese Cultural Day 2010

We had a great celebration yesterday for the Marshallese Cultural Day.  It was different this year.  Instead of just having the kids sit and listen to adults give speeches about the good ‘ole days, they actually got to participate and learn some things about their history and ancestors.  I loved it.  Anything you can turn into a teaching session to expand knowledge is far better in my opinion.

So, we made baskets, toys, balls, plates, mats, sang songs, danced and just had an immersive and fun time learning about the Marshallese culture.  The local food abounded, which Cherold made me eat some…she wasn’t even for sure what it was! We even made some lollipops; coconut lollipops that is.  Take a look.

First they shave the coconut then the cook it with some water and sugar over a fire.  It gets bubbly and thick and then it’s removed to cool flat on a sheet pan.  Next, the candy is rolled into little balls and finished with a nice wrap and a ribbon.  They tasted like root beer soda, except much more creamy and gooey :)

A lady showing the art of making baskets out of bandana tree leaves.  Amazing to watch.  And excellent craftsmanship.  Check out the detail…

Jon getting ‘crafty’ and making a plate of his own.

The rain held off until it was over.  And then it poured!  We had a great day and the kids got to sing songs and dance for everyone.  They did an awesome job.

Full Days

They have completed construction of the fifth grade classroom.  We will now be able to have fourth and fifth grade run until 2:30.  One of the issues facing all school systems on Ebeye is the amount of room verses the amount of children in need of attending school.  Of the 16,000 or so people on Ebeye, roughly half are children.  It makes it nearly impossible to school them all.  Many do not attend school or drop out before completing even elementary grades.  There is a huge dilapidated structure on Oceanside that at present is crumbled concrete with graffiti décor, but is under construction to be turned into a school.

We were blessed this year to have English books provided to each child that they can write in and keep as their own.  They love them!  At first, it was hard to get the kids to understand that they could, in fact, write IN their book.  Haha, they are blessed.  We had to photocopy all their papers in years past.  We have teacher’s manuals and test books as well which is a great help to the teachers.

It is still raining…I love it.  I snapped a rainstorm blowing up from the South.  It cools everything down and is a comfort knowing we’ll have plenty of water for laundry, showers and all those extras.  The water is not drinkable.  We either have to buy it or transport it from Kwaj in a container.  We use empty, plastic paint containers that can hold 5 gallons.  Yes, they are thoroughly cleaned :)

More beautiful island flowers.

I bought a ripe, juicy tomato from Kwaj and made an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich with it…soooo gooooood!  The tomatoes on Ebeye are not the same.  It’s hard to understand how the food can be so different when it’s only a 20 minute ferry ride between the two islands.  I understand Kwaj is American run but still, why can’t food shipped from Majuro be as good?  It’s only about a days journey between here and Majuro.  I think a lot of things could definitely change on Ebeye…it’s just a matter of who cares enough to change it.

Snow in June

It has been raining here…and raining…….a lot.  Considering it’s the islands’ summer season, the rain has been extraordinarily heavy.  Since we touched down over two weeks ago, it has rained nearly every day.  When I ask the locals about it, they say it is not usual to have this much rain.  This is typically what happens in the middle of their ‘winter’ as it were, when the temperatures drop way down to 80 degrees…brrr…anyway, I guess we are experiencing what we call in the states “snow coming down in June”.

The seasonal winds haven’t even started blowing through yet…I’m very curious to see what happens come November…

School has officially started and we are blazing a trail.  Laura and Jonathan are doing a great job with the cultural adjustment – to be around positive, Spirit-filled individuals who are on fire for God is such a blessing.  This team is going to do awesome things this year!  I thank God for His blessing on us and this school.  We couldn’t do any of this without His grace.

I got reception on a food channel today!  I watched Emril chop-chop some onions and peppers with sausage for a zucchini stuffing, got to smoke, bbq and dry rub pork ribs, shoulders and whole pigs at the national pig roast competition; pretty much having a good time wishing I was one of the judges!!  Haha!