Ebeye Island

I remember when I was trying to decide if I was going to move to Ebeye and start a whole new chapter in my life.  I scoured  the internet for any peek at what life on Ebeye had to offer.  I found some pretty good info but it wasn’t very detailed.  Hence the desire to post what I’ve learned living on Ebeye these past two years for those who find themselves in the same position.  So if you’re thinking about taking an adventure to the islands as a missionary teacher but aren’t sure what to expect, check out the info below.  Feel free to email me with any questions.  I’d be happy to assist you in your journey any way I can.  Other islands will differ greatly in what they offer as many are not as developed as Ebeye.

Internet Connection

The island has a very good communications center called NTA – this is short for National Telecommunications Authority. A fiber optic cable was laid last year and allows Ebeye to tap into high-speed internet connections.  The cost per minute at NTA, I believe, is somewhere around 8 cents. They also offer the option of service at your place of residence. You can pay about $40/month for the slowest connection plus activation fees and essentially receive unlimited access.  The higher speed you want, obviously the more you will pay. Quick note: Kwajalein is not connected to this cable. Perhaps military reasons, but they are still on dial-up as of the date of this post.

Skype

Yes, you can Skype your friends and family from Ebeye. The connection is fast enough and the signal is good enough to show video. I would suggest getting Skype before you leave and have your friends and family get setup. Because communicating via phone is nearly impossible.

Telephone Communication

This also runs through NTA and is extremely expensive. To phone anywhere beyond the island you will pay $1.80/minute. It may be a better option to have your friends at home buy a calling card and call you. Also, if you call after midnight, the rate goes down. You must purchase a calling card from NTA which you will then use to place your call. Calling cards are $10, $20 and $50.

Cell Phones

I’m sorry to break the news but….your cell phone will not work on Ebeye. It’s a bummer I know. But if you must have a calling gadget, you can purchase a cell phone from NTA and buy minutes to use for local calls on the island. Sounds odd that an island 1 mile long would need so many cell phones but really, it does come in handy. I’m not sure the cost but you can plan to pay around $50 for a moderately featured phone.

Restaurant Dining

Indeed Ebeye has three diners that I know of along with dozens of little shops in people’s homes that sell food and goods. But the diners are located in the Triple J department store, Litaki Fast Food, and a new addition, The Little Mermaid, located in the Ebeye hotel, Anrohasa, on lagoonside. I have eaten at all three places and found the meals satisfying. Litaki and The Little Mermaid both offer mainly Asian cuisine. Triple J is a bit more American with fried chicken, cheeseburgers, French fries and chicken nuggets. One tip that I didn’t find out about until only a month ago is that you can take the ferry across to Kwajalein and call their local pizza joint, Donatos to have a pizza delivered to the check-in gate. You cannot actually enter Kwajalein because it is a military base for the U.S. (unless you have a sponsor who will sign you in.)

Recreation

Ebeye is certainly an adventure and most of the time, it’s up to you what you want to see and do. Beach Park is a small beach at the southern tip of Ebeye which is a good place for swimming and barbecuing. There are plenty of places to explore and you can always rent a water taxi (or better yet, befriend someone with a boat of their own) and head out to some of the outer islands. They are absolutely gorgeous! The fishing and surfing is also good here. There is a causeway that has connected Ebeye to Guggegue island. The northern tip of Guggegue (from what I’ve heard) is a good place to surf. Beware! There are sharks…lots of them. Mainly reef sharks…but still!

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

If you want to scuba dive, you have found the greatest place in the world for it. There is no larger, more pristine atoll than the
Kwajalein atoll. I prefer snorkeling but whichever you fancy, it will be a fabulous time. There is someone here on the island that offers scuba diving lessons. Sorry but I don’t have that information. I’ll post an update if I get it. FYI: for anyone staying on Kwajalein who happened upon this blog, you will find there is an excellent scuba diving club located there. Here’s a link to the Kwajalein Scuba Club which also has great maps of the entire area. If you live on Ebeye, I don’t think you can join, but the maps are helpful for your own exploring adventures.

Grocery and Clothing Stores

There are many small shops scattered all around Ebeye. You may never know it because they don’t advertise like we do in the U.S. But the best grocer in my opinion would be Triple J. They do a good job at keeping food on the shelves and they are cleaner and more organized with a decent variety of selections. They have frozen meat and canned goods. Items for household cleaning and so on. They even do good keeping the fresh vegetables as fresh as possible when you live on an island.  There are different little nick-knack stores and clothing stores you can peruse. I don’t know the names of all of them but one of the more popular would be Sunrise. It seems almost everywhere people have storefronts in their little homes where the kids buy candy and sugar drinks.

Transportation

The main form of transportation on the island are the taxi trucks.  They loop around the island and provide a ride for only $.75.  You can ride as long as you want.  It’s a good way to see the island to, especially if you sit in the bed of the truck – ah, and the salty ocean views are great along oceanside!  The other mode of transit – if you are a male – is bicycles.  Women are not allowed to wear pants or shorts and so we could never figure out how to get away with riding a bike, especially in the sometimes 30 mile/hour winds.  If you find a way, let us know!

Future Updates

I will continue to update this blog as I receive additional information or think of other things that might be beneficial or interesting to know. Hope this helps in your planning and packing for Ebeye. I’ve been here for two years and it has been a grand adventure for sure. You may not always get what you want, but if you stay open to what the experience can offer, I’m sure you will find this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live an island life while making a difference in this world.

Change in Schedule

I’m getting everything packed up and ready.  It has been a busy week!  My flight has changed to Monday 6:15am.  That’s one less business day but I think I have everything in order.  Now it’s the challenge of getting everything I need into two suitcases and having them weigh less than fifty pounds:)  I should have my packing finished today and will go to the store once more to get additional supplies and food.  Since things are so much cheaper here than over there I’m trying to pack as much as possible.

I’m filling my ipod up with messages because the church services on Ebeye are all in Marshallese language.  Got to make sure I am more prepared in spirit than anything else because the natural will always fall in line if the spiritual is in line.  I’m curious to see what type of praise and worship songs they sing.  I’m going to miss singing on my church’s worship team!  But thanks to a little ipod recorder I have recorded lots of our worship team songs I can take them with me:)  Hopefully I will be able to record some services in the islands and post them to this blog.  Maybe my aspirations are a little high so we’ll see once I get there.  Four more days!

…and Slips Oh My!

Yesterday, one of my co-workers brought in a package with all kinds of slips in it – half slips, camisoles, full slips – that she had ordered for me.  Praise God!  And they are all cotton – how awesome is that!  So while I was busy fainting in the slip aisle at Kohl’s, God already had everything worked out.  Thank God for my Helper – what would I do without Him:)

And we know that when we give, it’s given back, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.  (Luke 6:38)  When you give, expect a return – amen.

Almost Done

My shopping is almost done.  I went to a Goodwill store over near Hartland and found skirts, dresses and shirts for about $2 a piece.  Ah happiness…anyway, all I need now are slips.  I saw a full slip for $25 and I thought I was going to faint.  But I will get over it – gotta do what you gotta do.  I’m looking forward to getting all this natural preparation over with.

Books, supplies, fun games and learning tools keep pouring in for the kids and the school.  I’ve shipped 2 huge boxes already and have another one to go.  Others are shipping more boxes and still more people asking what else is needed.  The outreach is incredible – this place is very special to God, soon I’m going to see first-hand why…

I’m leaving on the 18th of August.  Somewhere around 6 a.m.  Two weeks…and my whole life is going to shift into tomorrow…literally.

Praise Report

I had to share with you that I sold my car to someone in the church and it is such a blessing!  I didn’t have to pay money for ads, deal with weird people calling and wasting my cell phone time, haggling me on the price, etc.  God took care of all of it and blessed me in the process.  It would’ve been great to have it paid and sitting here waiting on me when I got back, but everything I need will be provided.  There will be a car for me when I get back, because from what I hear, there’s a hundred-fold return on stuff like this.  ;)

I’m also in the process of getting additional material for some classes Dana would like to see built up over the next year – health, music, art (that’s easy) and science.  I love science!  I’ve got some leads and ideas on where to get some of these materials – I’m excited to see what He has in store this year for His school.

Skirts Dresses & Slips Oh my!

Okay, I’ve got to get myself motivated and go buy some skirts and dresses.  I mean, how hard could it be?  Well, if you tell me where I can find dresses or skirts that hang all the way to my ankles and completely cover my shoulders, I’ll be thankful for the direction!  Ebeye culture is not accepting of women wearing pants or shorts or tank-tops.  I’m going to have to suppress the urge to pray for a ‘pants revolution’.  I can see myself now pulling the shades, checking out the windows and then slipping on a pair of shorts or pants just to remind myself, ‘yes, you’re still here under all this long draping fabric called a dress, fear not’. (heehe, I know God’s grace is more than sufficient:)

Amy mentioned a store in the mall that sometimes has long skirts and/or Goodwill stores.  Lenka said she might wait until we get to Hawaii or Ebeye…that might not be such a bad idea.  I saw a beautiful skirt from White House Black Market — but it was like $98.  I could buy 7 skirts for that!  Why do I like expensive stuff?  You know, you could put that same dress on some other model cheesing on the cover of a Wal-Mart ad and I probably would’ve been like “that’s the tackiest looking thing I’ve ever seen”.  Anyway, just another adventure to tackle – I’m sure I’m going to feel like a cat having its fur rubbed backwards…the key is not to react like one.  I’ll keep you posted on progress…

Skyping

I got my passport this past Monday.  It’s good to have that wrapped up.  I’ve been looking into a cheap way of making international phone calls and I think I’ve found it.  Skype offers free service to anywhere in the world where there is internet connection (this includes dial up 56K) and all I would need to purchase are the headsets.  I can get both for about $40 off Amazon.  A whole lot less than international phone rates.  Skype works much better and is clearer on broadband than on dialup but it’s still a decent option at this point.  The service is free to other Skype users so I would just need to make sure my mom downloads the software onto her computer.  And of course, get her the headphones.  The charges for ‘skype to cell’ or ‘skype to phone’ are pretty much the same as a regular phone call.  But from all I’ve heard so far, it’s the real deal.  I’ll let you know how it goes!