Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leaving Lekinioch

One of Andy's favorite pictures...Savannah, the supply ship,
and a dog.
First things first...apologies for the long delay in writing. We were having trouble getting out on our SSB and after a bit of trouble shooting, realized it was user error...mine. Oops. We're back up and running now so our updates should be a little more timely. We won't be able to post pictures until Yap, but we have some great ones...be patient.
Sunset in Lukenor

As we prepare to leave Lekinioch after almost a week here, I think we'll remember it in our mind by two events or categories, for lack of a better word. The first is that the Bishop of Chuuk came for a visit here to do a Confirmation as well as to celebrate his 25 years of being a Bishop. The villages here all spent time practicing their singing and performances for the Bishop. There were two ceremonies on Saturday, a welcoming ceremony right before lunch and a more formal ceremony that evening. They hooked up a keyboard to accompany their singing (not only was it not necessary, it probably should have been banned). It was powered by a series of car batteries. When one went out, they would keep on singing while they quickly changed the power source and fired up the keyboard again. It was comical, but also a show of how resourceful they can be. Andy and I were surprised when we showed up for the evening ceremony and there were two seats for us up front, facing the audience, like we were part of the ceremony. It was a little embarrassing but made for a great view of the festivities. We were even invited to eat with the Bishop, which was quite an honor. There was taro (which the ladies spent days preparing), breadfruit, octopus, fish, bananas and large glasses of coconut water. I can't say I'll be converting to their ways any time soon, but I will say it was a lot of fun and we were touched by how welcoming everyone was.

Andy went to Mass the next morning and met the priest. I opted out of Mass this time...it was at 7:00 and well, not being Catholic, I wasn't very motivated. I'm sure it was beautiful, but the confirmation was at 6:00 and that's really what I would have wanted to see anyway and that wasn't happening! Despite my not wanting to get up early, I did rise at 5:30. A young girl paddled her canoe out to the boat to give us some fish and taro. She had told me the day before that she would come before church...she sure did. Anywhooo... I still couldn't make it out. I spent the morning making banana bread and cookies and doing laundry.

 The second item that will always be in our memories is the people. I know we say this everywhere we go (well, most places), but the people here were so welcoming and genuine that they really made an impression on us. Between Simon and Mariel (Peace Corp), we were insured an introduction and translation with almost everything we did. Simon supplied us with limes and coconuts (we're sitting with two dozen on our stern right now), and Mariel supplied us with great company and a great insight into the culture. We questioned whether it would be better to come in by ourselves with no other American around to help us out and in the end, we decided we would miss out on so much without it. She opened the doors for us to talk and joke around with people and really get to know their personalities. No doubt if she wasn't there, they would have been much more shy. Between Mariel and Simon, we were able to observe everyday activities like, going into their Cooking houses as well as watch numerous women prepare the taro for the Bishop. This village is a strange little mix of traditional living with a tad of western ways thrown in. For example, the young women can't walk by themselves or it's seen as "inviting" a man to come with them. They must always be accompanied by someone. One of the kids had to ask us what was hanging in our basket, an onion, yet when we turned on our iPods, they danced in the hip hop ways and there's not a girl here who doesn't know who Justin Beber is. Star Wars was the most requested movie.
Sitting in the cooking house...

Mariel and Jake goofing off.

Jake playing basketball with the local kids... don't tell my
brother that he kicked it first :).

Laundry day for the ladies...

Playing bingo...

Cutting taro...

Pounding taro...

We tried to reciprocate as much as possible. We left Simon with some books and movies and we tried to help with Mariel's need for a little bit of "normal." We cooked her some spaghetti on the boat one night and took her out to one of the other islands for some "alone time." She explained to us that the concept of "alone time" is very foreign to the people here (as we've seen on most of the islands we've been to). All property is community property as is all space. We discovered that as I tried to shoo off a gaggle of kids after playing on the boat all day (or staring at us...whatever you want to call it). It took me no less than 20 minutes to get them all gone and not before one of them was able to try out their colorful English skills on me. I'm sure he didn't know the meaning of what he said but he had the pronunciation down great! We also gave the principle some school supplies as well as offloading our 3 grades of Hooked on Phonics to Mariel.

This morning we went in to say our goodbyes and then we motored away. We were going to stage ourselves beside the pass for the day but it was way too deep (98 feet as opposed to the 28 written on the chart). So we motored over to the little island we've been using as a refuge and anchored there. We had some work to do that would have been impossible to do with the kids all around in the village. They swim out to the boat as soon as they can and then there's nothing getting done. So Andy checked all the engines and went to shore to burn our trash. I finished laundry and baked a few loaves of banana bread (we have more bananas than we do coconuts)for our passage. Now we're relaxing and getting ready for one last trip to the beach.

Tomorrow we'll head out for Pulawat, about 280 miles from here. The winds are looking good and coming from the right direction so we have our hopes set high on a nice, comfortable passage. We had hoped to be there by Thanksgiving, but it looks like we may not make it. We've got a "Thankful" tree going so this year we may be giving thanks a little differently than usual. Not the big feast but no doubt more heartfelt. May all of you at home have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember what it's all really about.

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Nancy, Ethan & Zada said...

Lovely stories and pictures. Thanks for another good post, Monica...and the pictures are just wonderful, thanks for loading them even though it's costing you time and consumption of loads of pricey beer! xo

The Crew of Savannah said...

Thank you Nancy! I"ll always pay for one more pricey beer for you! ;) Now we have the password and can actually do it from the boat, so we can drink our own pricey beer...

Mario said...

Monica & Andy:
I am Mariel's father.
Spoke to her last night via satellite phone and she told me about your visit.
Thank you for the incredible pics of her. It warms my heart. I was wonder if I could have permission to print your photos of her?

Mario Iezzoni miezzoni@gmail.com

bihla tume said...

Wow nice pictures, reminds me my beautiful home island i miss it. Thank you Monica and Andy

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