Welcome to my home

Welcome to my home

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Coming At You Live

So, I realize that this post is the first one in a while. But, allow me assure you that I am not intentionally neglecting the blog. One of the downsides of living on an island that is as small and remote as Kwaj is that when things break, the rate of repair is not instantaneous. In fact, often times things have to be sent off island to be repaired and then brought back. For instance, if any type of medical emergency happens (I'm talking about something like a compound fracture and up), people have to be flown out to Hawai'i for medical care. So, out here, a saying exists, "Safety first, safety always." This mentality commands the actions of the community. What is more, is that there are little signs all over the place that remind people of safety, just in case people might have the gall to forget what their priorities should be. These little missions in safety propaganda provide me with a touch of entertainment every now and then. For example, today I could not help but laugh to myself when I was going through the line in the mess hall (called the PDR--Pacific Dining Room) I looked up from the fruit tray only to see a sign stating, "For our customers safety, please only move in one direction when in line." Extreme? Probably. Cautious? Like a mother. Safe? Always. While this has been a fun little tangent, I must appease those with a more keen ability to focus, and return to my original point.

As was said in the beginning, I have not been trying to ignore anyone back on the mainland. The internet has been down for a while out here, which means that we had to wait for something (who knows what...) in order to get the network back up and running. Like Milli Vanilli, I would like to take the opportunity to blame it on the rain. I think someone mentioned something about one of the last rain storms we had taking out something technical that was the only thing connecting us to anywhere else in the world. Naturally, this is not the type of thing that merits a rush order...Regardless, I have not been trying to "e-void" anyone back home (I can't tell you how excited I am about that pun...it's the simple things that keep me going I guess).

Now that that is taken care of, the second order of business is to make a correction. Patrick is not Patrick, but rather C.J. Who's lost? Me too. He tried to explain that Patrick is his English name (much like my German name was Gerd, which, of course, I selected because of the disorder of the esophagus) that he uses sometimes with Americans. But, his Marshallese name is C.J. The expanded version of the name is too hard for most people who don't speak Marshallese to say.

C.J. took me over to Ebeye on Tuesday to get some dinner at his Aunt's restaurant. I've noticed that C.J. has approximately 2,973 aunts. Every time we turned around, he seemed to be introducing me to another "Auntie" of his. I asked him if they were really aunts, or if they were the metaphorical aunts (you know like people in church call eachother brother, sister, father, etc.) He assured me that they were, in fact, aunts. I told him that my parents were both only children, and he could not believe it. The conditions on Ebeye are those of extreme poverty. It is densly populated (cue thousands of people with thousands of aunties) and garbage runs rampant in the gutters (cue mutant rats.) I am going back over today with C.J. to meet his grandmother, the queen. She lives in a place called Guchi Guchi. I'm not sure of the spelling, but that is how it is pronounced.

Last weekend I took a boat out the the island called Begeje. We had to anchor our boat about a half mile off shore and swim to shore because the coral heads make it impossible for nautical navigation. The trip was incredible, and full of firsts. It was the first time I have stepped foot on a haunted island. It was the first time I have walked in a jungle. It was the first time I have swum with a shark. So, I guess this tops the sting ray incident. The shark was about four feet long, but no worries. Like most other things in the water out here, it operates under the code of "I won't mess with you if you don't mess with me." However, the fish about the size of a half dollar that bit my finger as I was picking up a shell from the underside of a piece of coral did not buy into that philosophy...the little bastard. Now my right index finger is a bit swollen. It's a rough life.

I've been invited to go deep sea fishing on July 2nd. So I'm looking forward to that.

Camp is going well. Two weeks down, six weeks to go. The kids around the teen center are beginning to warm up to me more and more. I've actually had some kids sign up for the next session of camp (that starts on Tuesday) that my boss said are the cool kids that everyone else looks up to because when they sit around doing nothing, they make it look AWESOME. Hopefully they enjoy the programming I have set up for them so that more kids will sign up in an effort to follow the crowd. Also, they made me a name poster with a bunch of poka-dots and googly eyes on it. I hung it up in my office. It's pretty sweet.

That's it for now. A bit of an extended post, but hey, it's been a while. Until next time, remember--safety first, safety always


mom said...

speaking of safety first, safety always, did you have your swollen finger looked at by a doc? it's a mom thing. mom

Maggie said...

Steve Irwin would be proud of you. What kind of shark? How far away from it were you?

By any chance is CJ's last name Miller?