Rusted Ghosts

The workers are clearing a portion of land for the school’s new trailers which will be the home for the missionaries coming next school year.  It’s going to be sweet, let me tell you!  The location is right on the lagoon; wake up and the ocean will be smiling at you.  According to Pastor Hone they will be building a wall around the front to prevent any spill over from high tide and also adding a dock there.

With the land leveled and the rusted machinery moved around, I decide, out of curiosity, to go for a walk around the perimeter.  I snapped pictures of what was left of the abandoned rusted ghosts along the shoreline of the new trailers.  As I made my way along the break I noticed a large thrown-together wooden cage through the brush.  As I made my way over I noticed something pink tripping around inside.  To my surprise I had stumbled upon a happily snorting pig!  I didn’t know pigs wagged their tails but this one did.  He made me laugh.

There’s a crane here on the island which the Patricks used to clean off the whole area on which our school now sits.  It takes time and effort but this whole island could be cleaned up.  The profile of this same stretch of land looked like this before they cleaned off all the rusted ghosts.

Here’s the new and improved version.

There is hardly any stretch of beach that is without these junked machines.  They could be anything from moving equipment such as backhoes and forklifts to jeeps, tires and boats.

Being so close to the salty ocean water poses a problem for any metals.  If you’ve put two and two together you already realize the potential health hazard.  And kids get scratched by these rusted metals.  They’re just kids wanting to swim, play and have fun.  Some of the things they deal with on a daily basis can be frustrating at best trying to figure out how to keep them protected.  Hopefully one day, as we all are working towards the goal of development on this beautiful island, both the aesthetic and health conditions will improve dramatically.  Because only God knows what the people have to deal with concerning health matters.  I’m not even sure the people know.

A huge link chain that has rusted and corroded together on the shoreline.

This island with its people and children are in God’s sight.  There are so many things that could go wrong that just don’t.  I see miracles everyday it seems…in the simple things.  Then again, there are miracles that happen all around us no matter where we are…we just have to look up and take notice of God’s wonderful love towards us.

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Lunchtime!

I’m happy to announce that Gem School is now offering a lunchtime menu complete with snacks, drinks, soup and ice candy.  Because we have two grades which are running all day long, we didn’t want the kids to have to take a taxi home and then back to school for the afternoon classes.  Mrs. Grace put together a plan and it has worked out wonderfully.  Anything Mrs. Grace or this church puts their hands to, prospers!

The lunch consists of chicken, hotdog or ham with rice, cucumber slices and an orange slice.  I’ve had a few myself and they are really good!

We also have a fifteen minute break in the morning where the kids can get out and stretch a bit.  They have a choice of chicken or fish soup, ice candy or boiled eggs, any one just a quarter.

Other side items include a split baked potato with a slice of ham, donuts with chocolate frosting and on Fridays, popcorn!

It’s so exciting to see this school growing and such a privilege to see it happening with my own eyes.  I am so grateful to God for this opportunity to make an impact, to see a future changed for good, to be a part of someone else’s vision coming to reality.  It has so changed my perspective on life and the way I want to live out the rest of my time here on this earth.  It truly is much better to reach out and help others.

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.

IslandArt Sketches Tab

I have added a new page tab to the site today.  I am happy to present  ‘IslandArt Sketches’.  This is a permanent location so that the kids artwork will be on continual ‘exhibit’ on the site.

Please take a moment and check out the new tab.  It is the fourth tab over at the top right of the web page next to ‘Vision Statement’.  There are several kids displaying artwork that I wanted to share with everyone.  I’m sure you will find that these art sketches aren’t very different from most other kids in the world.

I think you will enjoy their creative expressions.

Awards, Activities Day and Beach Park

Yesterday and today we  wrapped up Awards, Activities Day and the Third grade party at Beach Park.  It was good to hang out with all the kids (who make it all worth it) and to be able to bless those who have worked hard throughout the year.  After lunch on Monday we had the first ever Activities Day (thanks to Trecie’s admin anointing) and the kids played Freeze Dance, 3 Legged Racing, Sprinting, Water Balloon Toss, B-ball, Tug-O-War and the list goes on.  Simultaneously, there were fair-type booths under the tent where they were throwing balls into baskets, trivia games, and ring toss to name a few.  I don’t think there has ever been anything like it on the island.  People were coming out of their homes and sitting on their rooftops to watch the competitions of the students.  They are all very athletic and competitive!

(Below: The Green Team.  A great pic of Mrs. Grace, our principal, on the far left.)

(Below: Robby’s Tin-Can Sailboat. He made it by snapping off the tab to cut both ends of the can and construct something that sails off…into the ocean somewhere to sink and well, you know…we continue to inform the kids of pollution and contamination of the sea so hopefully one day, things will turn around.)

Then on Tuesday my ‘children’ went to Beach Park and we all hung out for the entire day.  I got burned (again!) and that was with 50 proof…what gives??  Ms. Cherold grilled chicken with potato salad and we had cookies, cookies and more cookies ;)  Yum!  Some fun in the sun with my kiddos. (Below: Miko eating a cookie in the lagoon.)

Some of my girls came over afterward  to the house and we had more fun taking pictures, brushing hair, giving away lotions and ribbons and all that fun girlie stuff :)

(Below: from left, Therizo, Faith, Harvest)

It was back to school on Wednesday where we played games, drew pictures (which hopefully I will be able to post the kids’ art on the blog for everyone to see – they are really cute!)  We had a birthday for Anna with pizza and prizes.  Then some of my kids came over to the house and we watched a movie.

Once my skin turns to a normal shade of ‘tan’, maybe we’ll head back to the beach again!  Taking advantage of the fringe benefits is a necessity:)

(Left: from top, Anna, Therizo, Harvest, Faith)

Baptism in the Lagoon

Gem School had its first ever Baptism Ceremony last month.  Trecie’s Fourth grade class all decided individually that they wanted to be baptized to show their love and dedication to Jesus.  Trecie ministered to them about baptism, what it meant, and made certain each student was deciding for themselves that they wanted to take this important step in their Christian walk.  We had a wonderful time seaside, and a beautiful sunset was happening during the entire baptism of the children.  God is so good.

Trecie opening up the ceremony.

The students ministered Psalm 91 to the crowd, complete with interpretive movements…they memorized the entire psalm.  It was a blessing.

The program.

Fourth graders awaiting baptism.  The teacher’s assistant, Mrs. Morina (front left) also got baptized!

God never ceases to amaze me!  We are wrapping up the final few weeks of school.  I’ll have plenty more to post as we’ve got graduation ceremonies, Activity Day and the Spelling Bee 2010 yet to do.  I’m looking forward to blessing the kids.

Educational Week 2010

We celebrated Educational Week last week on Ebeye.  All the schools from the island got together and listened to about three speakers talk in Marshallese about Education bringing Sustainable Development to the island.  I wish I could have understood it.  Maybe next year they will begin to speak with interpreters.  I would like to know where the leaders of this association are coming from intellectually and what ideas they want to bring forth.

Carton, Miko Rowa’s little brother.  Everytime I see him I say, “It’s a Rowa!!”  And he smiles real big like this…

All of us gathered inside the Ebeye Public School property singing songs and magnifying God.  I like the openness and freedom here to serve the Lord.

Everyone gathering for the beginning ceremonies.

Half-way through the event, one of the speakers complimented Ebeye Gem students for sitting still and being quiet.  We are so proud of our kids.  And thank God for His Holy Spirit that is upon their lives.  He is the reason for their peace.

Pastor Hone and Mrs. Grace are back from their two month ministry trip to America.  Praise the Lord!  I’ll give you all the details in an upcoming post.  It is good to have them back :)