Recently a colleague returned from a visit to the Solomon Islands. He carried back with him a package for me from my friend, Lucy, a dear friend who attended our church in the capital city. She is also the mother of one of my friends, Junija Martha. (Junija added Martha to her name when she was about 4 or 5 because we were special friends!)
Just before we left the Solomons last year, Lucy told me she had asked her brother to send some shell money jewelry to the capital city. Lucy is from the island of Malaita where this these handmade beads are made and used for brideprice and settling disputes. Lucy was very sad that the necklace didn’t arrive before we left.
So it was a wonderful surprise to hear that Lucy had sent a small parcel back to the USA. Inside was a lavalava (sarong) with my name on it, the necklace and the longer necklace which is worn by brides when they marry. What an amazing gift. I never thought that we would own a piece like that.
When I brought the shell money home, Emily said, “Olketa no fogetim yumi yet.” (They haven’t forgotten us.) Indeed. While these necklaces are expensive pieces in the Solomon Islands, the real value is the relationships of which they remind us. Holding these beads in my hand, a wave of memories floods my soul and warms my heart as I think of fun times with my friend, Lucy and her family. They are indeed a treasure of immeasurable value.