Bula!Oi le what an action packed week. So much has happened.
, after I finished emailing we went FISHING! In the ocean. I was bummed that I was sick and had no strength but it was quite the experience. I was imagining sitting in a chair on a dock somewhere. Nope. I should have known better. Instead the sisters caught crabs for live bait then attached them to their coke bottle fishing poles and waded out in the water to fish. Sister Bechu and I were pretty pathetic and didn't catch anything (probably because we didn't wade in the ocean), but we had a blast watching the other sisters (both like 50 or 60 yrs. old) jump in with full on sweats and catch the fish. So funny. It just made me LOVE these people even more. They are so genuine.
- No eating while walking past/through the village
- No umbrellas
- Always say Tilou when passing someone
- No hats
- No putting your hands on your hips (I REALLY have a hard time with this one.)
- No wearing bags when the chief is in sight
- You must wear a sulu or a skirt when in or near the village. No shorts or pants.
- And many more that I can't think of at the moment.
One of the families we OYMed was a couple living in this shack. We started teaching them and I kept staring at the big, scary, dead fish eyes and teeth stored in the oven. At the end of the lesson guess what they did. Yep. They pulled out the very same fish. And insisted we eat it. Of course Sister Bechu gave me the big one. Oi le. Cold, dead slimy fish. And no silverware. Just my hands. But I dug in with a big smile on my face and didn't think about all the guts and skins and bones I was eating. And the flies? Holy crap. I couldn't even think straight. They were EVERYWHERE. But I lived, and the fish itself wasn't too bad. :)
There was also a prominent funeral this week. And that was a really neat cultural experience. It's SOO different here. I kept thinking back to The Other Side of Heaven. And how that lady pops the plugs out of the nose then asks where the food is. That's kind of how it is. Just a little more modern. For the days leading to the funeral I swear the entire village comes to the house. It turns into this huge ward/village/stake party and the family does the cooking and hosting and such. Everyone comes to eat. Man, in my funny American way of thinking, it seems like a silly thing to do and such a crappy deal for the family. But it's just life here and they love the support.
You'll NEVER believe what we did for service this week. We made Coconut Oil. So exciting. I think it was the highlight of my whole life. I swear I will never, never, EVER waste a precious drop of that oil again in my whole life. It is SO not overpriced like I thought. It took three of us 5 hours and a LOT of sweat and energy to make about 2 cups. Here are the steps.
- Plant a coconut tree.
- Wait 10 years for tree to produce Coconuts
- Collect Coconuts
- Husk Coconuts (Super hard work)
- Crack coconuts and drink juice if desired
- Shred coconut meat on this special tool.
- Squeeze milk out of meat and strain.
- Build a fire, because there is no stove on the plantation.
- Cook for an hour, stirring constantly. And add wood.
- When its curdled and the oil comes to the top and smells good, take off heat.
- Carefully strain oil through cloth (preferably clean, but any will do)
- Enjoy oil.
. His name is Aca. He's 12 and such a stud. He's SOO much more ready this week and was so excited to be baptized.
. And I killed a VERY large cockroach last night. I was so proud. It was like 8 inches long. It was more like an animal than an insect and I killed it! I felt like a true villager. I also get eaten alive every day. And I eat leaves for pretty much every meal. And there are hard parts of every. single. day. Times when I am so exhausted and hot and tired and itchy and uncomfortable and frustrated. But it is those times, when I see the blessings. It's those times that I realize how lucky I am. Missions are hard. Real hard. But they are SO WORTH IT. It's all about Love. I love these people and want with all my heart for them to be happy. And I know that the Gospel is what they need. I love this work.
Sister Matheson :)
The beautiful land of Fiji
Breakfast before we started, then scraping and opening the coconuts, then the finished product: coconut oil!
The beautiful view from one of the members homes. Sunsets here are gorgeous. And I swear their property would be worth buckets back home.
The Fish. What an experience.
Aca - our first baptism
One of our Cockroach friends