March 15, 2005

Today is Jordan’s 42nd birthday. Jonah has been so excited about it. We bought a waffle maker in Pohnpei and have been hiding it for a month. Also, I bought a carving from a local craftsman here of a yellow-fin tuna. We had a morning gift giving because Jonah couldn’t wait.

We have really been enjoying our time here despite the rain. The people here have been warm, friendly and generous. It amazes me with how little these people have in terms of material goods that they are so giving of what they have. It is a spirit of generosity that is really touching.

Jonah has been attending school for a couple of days. He has really enjoyed it. Yesterday he returned from school so exhausted that he was practically crying. I think he isn’t used 6 hours of high intensity interaction and playing. He brought one of his history encyclopedias (the heavily illustrated one) and he decided to give it to them because he told me in a very serious voice that they didn’t have any world history books. They gave him a abridged version of “Robinson Crusoe” which he read while the other kids were finishing their work. Jonah declared that I must read it because it was very exciting. I have been trying to read the books he reads and the other day he told me that he really enjoyed talking with me about the books we read.

Yesterday Jordan and Joap went fishing outside the pass. They came back with four Rainbow runners and a big Wahoo. Joap was happy because he fishes every day for his family. There is no refrigeration on the island so people simply have to fish everyday or they eat canned corn beef.

While the men were fishing, Joyleene (Joap’s wife) and I played gin. Then I walked with her to the radio shack so she could transmit weather information to Pohnpei which she does three times a day. She is well educated and speaks excellent English. Joyleene has seven children of which six are on island (the oldest is in Pohnpei going to High School). They are a good bunch of kids helping their parents with a wide range of chores much like a farm kid would in the US. The babies are sweet albeit dripping with snot which the mother wipes with her fingers and then on to their shirt. Tissues are not available here.

The babies run around without diapers and are rinsed in the water when they mess themselves. Many people seem to have showers here and the level of hygiene is fairly high. I see toothbrushes everywhere and only the betel nut chewers have bad teeth. Of course, the pigs do live on the beach which makes it a bit mucky although the tide cleans it out regularly. Outhouses are built out over the water. They look like small cabins you see at fancy resorts – but they aren’t! There are only 300 or less people here so its not a big pollution problem for the lagoon.