Day 1 in Kia – Friday

The beating of the church drum at 6:15 AM announced the new day and called people to the morning prayer service at the Anglican church down the hill from the house. We didn’t get up for the prayer service, but lazily stayed in bed for a while. The kids started stirring and chatting and soon we were all enjoying freshly made doughnuts that Robin had made.

This morning we took a walk to one end of the village where the local primary school is located. We were able to meet with the school headmaster and chat about a pilot program that we would like to see introduced at the school. This program, similar to another one that we have developed, would teach kids to read and write in their own language before learning English. The headmaster was very receptive to the idea and when we are assured of the funding of the project, Lee Montgomery will be able to introduce it to this school.

As we walked through the village, we greeted those whose houses we passed. We were met with smiles and welcoming remarks. The village stretches along the narrow strip of land between the lagoon and the steep hills behind. The houses along the water’s edge are built on stilts over the water and often have a wooden plank or logs that make a walkway to the house. Crocodiles are common in the waters around the village and sometimes they swim under the houses at night and make their presence known when they rub up against the posts, making the house shake.

Around many of the houses we saw wooden dugout canoes; some in small sizes suitable for a small child, typical sized ones that would accommodate one or two adults, and even some huge ones that are twenty-five feet long and are used for carrying cargo, passengers or fishing nets. Out on the water we saw some children and adults out fishing in their canoes.

Along the coastline we saw wooden pigpens on stilts over the water. This provides a sanitary spot for raising the pigs, although on rare occasions a crocodile manages to knock down the pen and enjoy a pork dinner. We saw a couple of outhouses similarly located on stilts out over the water with a narrow wooden walkway up to the door.

One of our last visits was to the new church building that is waiting to be dedicated at the end of the year. The front of the church is covered with narrow panels of beautiful hardwood inlaid with mother of pearl designs. It’s neat to see the church decorated in a local style with local materials.

After lunch we headed out to the other side of the village. We hiked to a part of the village that was high on a hill and had a nice view of the passage below. One of our stops was to visit the head chief of the village to let him know about the workshop that we will hold next week. Another stop was to the home of a friend of the Montgomerys who will be taking us out tomorrow in his motorized canoe to an island where we can swim, snorkel, fish and picnic.