Day 7 in Kia – Thursday

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Apr 202007

The workshop ended today around noon. The participants did really well and are eager to put their training to work by starting up reading classes. One participant shared that he even started teaching his nephew to read last night. The boy has struggled with learning to read English in school but quickly started learning to read in his own language of Zabana.

Most of the workshop participants walked to the workshop, but a few like these ladies, came by canoe! Here they are ready to paddle home after the workshop.

Day 6 in Kia – Wednesday – Plan C??

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Apr 192007

We returned from the workshop today (Wednesday) with word that an email had come in for us from a colleague in Honiara. The ship that we are supposed to take to town was stuck on the reef and now has arrived in Honiara. So, that means the ship is delayed and now isn’t scheduled to leave Buala, the provincial capital, until Saturday evening getting us to Honiara in the early morning of Sunday. Hmmm. Will there be a plan D or E before we get to town? Emily has taken accepted the news with grace.

The workshop continues to go well. The participants are doing really well and excited about what they are learning. When we had our break around noon, the group surprised us with a feast. Planks were laid on top of pews in the church and brightly colored tablecloths with crocheted edging. Pots, plates and bowls were laid out on the table filled with rice, sweet potatoes, slices of juicy pineapple, noodles and fish. (Some of the fish are colorful reef fish that you would find in a US pet store with triple digit price tags!) The participants also brought me orchid plants and other flowers to plant in my garden in town.

A few words of thanks were given by one of the leading women in the church who is also participating in the workshop. After Tim prayed for the food, we began filling our plates while the workshop participants sang songs in beautiful harmony for us. When everyone had mostly finished eating, the man who heads up the translation committee stood up and gave some words of thanks to us for coming. We were given a chance to say a few words as well. It was really a very nice feast and it made us feel us very special. Normally such a feast would be held on the last day, but since everyone thought that we were leaving tomorrow the feast was held today. Of course now we won’t leave until Saturday, but never the less we celebrated today!

Day 5 in Kia – Tuesday

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Apr 182007

Tuesday afternoon

The workshop went well today. The students have now learned the first half of the coursework which involves teaching students to read and write stories. We finished the workshop by 2:30. Tomorrow we start training them to teach the phonics part of the program.

After the workshop, I walked through the village. It was quiet and I didn’t see many people, although I did see a few escaping the hot afternoon sun by taking a nap. Others were probably out tending their gardens or harvesting food for their dinners. The trail through the village curves and follows the coastline. It’s a pretty village with flowers growing along the path and around people’s houses.

At 4:30 we gathered around the two-way radio to talk to our office in Honiara. A friend in Honiara was able to buy us tickets on a ship that is making a trip to the other end of the island. We will have to meet the ship at the provincial capital of Buala. In order to get there, we will hire someone to take us in his fiberglass boat with a 40 horsepower outboard motor. We will leave here Friday morning, expecting the journey to Buala to take 5 – 6 hours. The ship is due to leave Buala Friday night and travel through the night with an expected arrival in Honiara early morning on Saturday. The air conditioned cabin is already booked, so we will have seats in the second class cabin where Tim sat on the way out. If it all works out, we should get into town in time for Emily to attend the youth group retreat.

Here it’s always a relief when you can get to your destination although often it is often not by ‘Plan A’.

Tuesday evening

Dark clouds on the horizon threatened rain most of the afternoon. It finally came around dusk with a very heavy downfall making quite a racket on the corrugated iron roof. It will be nice to be able to take showers again rather than bathing with dipperfuls of water from a basin.

With the rain came flying insects that descended on the house. It is a bit of a mystery how they get in the house, but soon there were hundreds of them swarming around the lights and on the walls. After a while they die and fall to the floor. It’s quite annoying when they come in as it makes it difficult to do much of anything. This morning (Wednesday) there were piles of them to sweep up off the floor. These insects do not come everytime it rains, but every once in a while the conditions must be right and they descend in droves!

Day 4 in Kia – Monday – Workshop Begins

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Apr 172007

Seventeen men and women arrived this morning for the teacher training workshop. Amazingly, we started just before the scheduled 9:00 opening time with Tim leading in a short devotional. Except for a short break at noon we continued until 3:30 pm. The participants are excited to be in the workshop.

Lee and the literacy committee are working on a beginning reading book in Zabana which we are training them to use. Tim and I taught most of the workshop today using Solomon Islands Pijin. The students then do their practice teaching in the Zabana language in small groups. Lee, Tim and I observed the groups to make sure that they include all the steps of the lesson we have taught them and are doing them properly. We will teach the workshop tomorrow through Thursday.

When we got back to the house, we found out that an email had come in for us from Honiara. We were planning on taking a canoe on Thursday afternoon to a port about an hour or so away in order to catch the ship back to Honiara. Because of a tsunami disaster relief charter, the planned trip out here is delayed until Sunday. We will be explore other options for getting back to town.

We’d appreciate your prayers for some kind of transportation to open up so that we can get back in a timely way. Emily will be very disappointed to miss her youth group retreat scheduled for this weekend and the girls are due to go back to school on Monday.

Travel in the Solomon Islands is always interesting and unpredictable.

Easter Break

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Apr 112007

The girls have finished the first ten week term of the school year, which means they have a two week break. They are enjoying the break from school and we are enjoying having them around.

Tonight we are all heading out of town to visit friends, the Montgomerys, who work and live on another island. You may remember that Lee and Robin Montgomery are the new literacy team in our group and currently they are working in the Zabana language on Isabel Island.

Lee has been working on producing a reading primer (beginning reader) in the Zabana Language. Tim will help Lee with a final editing check on the primer and then we will help the Montgomerys to run a teacher’s training workshop to train teachers to use the reading primer. The Montgomerys have not been involved in a workshop of this type before, so it will be an opportunity for us to help them through their first workshop.

We will board a ship here in Honiara late this afternoon. We are fortunate enough to have 3 tickets in the ‘deluxe’ upstairs cabin – which means we will have space on the floor of an air conditioned cabin which should allow us enough room to stretch out and sleep. The cabin has space for 13, so we will be sharing that space. I made a last minute decision to join the family, so we probably won’t all be able to be in the cabin. Tim may end up in ‘Second Class’ which means sitting on a bench for the entire trip. We should arrive in the village of Kia tomorrow evening after about 24 hours on the ship. A pile of books will come in handy to pass the time!

While in Kia, we should be able to send out some updates by email to be posted on the Blog. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe and productive trip. Pray that the girls have fun as well.

Safe and Sound at Home

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Jan 232007

This blog comes to you from our home in Honiara.

The flight to the Solomons was ahead of schedule and as there weren’t many people on board, we got off quickly. We stood in line for immigration for a while until a man came and said there weren’t any immigration officers at the airport and he didn’t know where they were. He promised to keep us posted. A few minutes later we found out that they were on their way and would be there soon. We got through immigration and collected our bags which arrived safe and sound. For the first time we had our luggage carefully checked, but no duty charged for which we are thankful.

We piled our luggage on 3 carts and wheeled it outside expecting to see some faces we knew, but no one was there. Our colleagues had called the airport a number of times to check on the arrival time but were given various answers – ranging from noon to 2 pm! After we waited about 10 minutes our director’s wife arrived followed by others and we were on our way home – Tim even drove our new car home!

Our friends have spent a lot of time getting our house ready. They have spent several days cleaning, organizing and even finding our towels and sheets and making our beds. What a blessing. Apparently a week ago the house was quite a mess.

There are many places where we will have to repair the termite damage. Some walls are missing, some that have been replaced need painting. Some of the ceiling has mold spots on it and needs to be repainted. It’s a bit discouraging after we spent so much time and energy last year painting the house.

Sarah was very sad to discover the termites had gotten into her doll case for her American Girl. We hope we can clean it up a bit and replace some of the paper lining to improve how it looks. It was all a bit devastating to a 9 year old who has not has a lot of sleep over the past 24 hours or so. She is also disppointed that she hasn’t seen our cat yet. But it was seen this morning around the house, so it is sure to show up soon.

It’s good to be home, but it’s going to take a lot of work to get the house up and running again. It’s 90°+ and high humidity. Nothing can ever prepare you for how hot it really is here and how draining it can be.

I hope this all makes sense as I am a bit sleep deprived but hope to start getting on top of that tonight. We will eat dinner at with our director and his wife tonight.