November 4

We have finally left Tarawa! Yahoo. In retrospect, it was interesting the way all places that are badly flawed are interesting. What makes this weird place tick? Who are these people and why do they live the way they do…

Anyway last week we were already to leave as we were sick of the dirty island, the smells and the dirty harbor but two boats with kids pulled in so we decided to wait for the supply ship with vegetables and give Jonah some social time. It happened to be Halloween and so we all pulled together and put on a Halloween party for the kids (all four of them!). They went trick or treating to the other boats. We had bobbing for apples, costume prizes and a piñata. Jonah was a cannibal with a great mask we made together. Everyone had a good time – Jonah particularly liked the little boy on “Athinor”, Oliver who is just 10 but is very friendly kid with a great sense of humor. Jonah played on their boat one day and when Oliver and his older sister started fighting decided to stick up for his new friend by slapping the older sister. Well I guess it was one of those life lessons because of course he got slapped right back. They all got over it pretty quick as boat kids tend not to hold grudges – mostly because other kids are few and far between. 

Jonah and I went to the Women’s Catholic Craft Center and bought some traditional shark teeth knives – very cool looking. The bus ride was as usual hysterical in a third world public transport kind of way. They seem committed to speeding, slamming on the brakes to stop and cramming as many people on the bus ( really just a van) as possible. I believe Christy and Martin (both tall people) were on a bus they said contained 26 Adults. I would say these buses would safely carry 13 people but hey sitting on each others lap might be considered safe. The older ladies get on and boss everyone into each others lap so they can sit down. Clearly a society with matriarchal leanings.

I got my local blouse and hair comb so I am looking local! We found a decent Chinese restaurant we went to a couple of times and we were regulars at the internet place at the library. 

It rained a lot the last week. It made the trash smell more and big huge nasty puddles everywhere. Christy and Martin went out with the British High Commissioner (Martin is a Brit) and they were told very funny stories. Apparently the local living around the British High Com find the wall good to poop off. The wife tried to clean up the garbage and the diapers but the locals complained and the police came and told her she couldn’t burn them because local tradition dictates that anything that comes from the human body must return to the sea. Pretty crazy. But of course they think its much cleaner to defecate and urinate in the water and the toilet paper and toilet thing is just dirtier. So its all perspective – well of course their lagoon is seething with waste and they have cholera outbreaks. It a good tradition if you have a small population. Remember we don’t have a septic tank on our boat – we pump it overboard. So are we any better?

BUT we have left…and we are going to an atoll that is supposed to be fabulous and pristine. The other kid boats are there so Jonah will be thrilled. We passed another boat on the way out of Tarawa that has two boys and they will be headed our way in a couple of days.