Etas is a village on the outskirts of Port Vila. It is completely in the bush. There is no electricity or sanitation. Water is collected rain water. There is a dirt road into the village. It is badly in need of repair. There is no school of any kind for the village children. Some of the children walk for over an hour each way to a bus to get to school. The bus costs them $2.00 US each way. This alone makes the schooling prohibitive.
I asked this family, if I could take their picture.
There are these little fruit stands along the roads everywhere.
The people sell what they can to make a little money.
Afamily at the side of the road.
These children were playing at the old church building. They were glad to have their pictures taken.
We live in the Blue Lagoon Bungalows. There are five duplexes in a row. We are in apartment number seven. Our landlord's live next door. Lindsey is from Ireland, and Duncan is Australian. She is an attorney, and he is a builder - project manager. They are very nice. On my birthday, they had us to dinner on the patio. Duncan does the cooking.
This is the front of our house. A parking lot is in front.
This is the back - on the Lagoon The retaining walls are made of coral rock.
This is Lindsey and Duncan at my birthday dinner!
One Sunday morning there was a beautiful rainbow on the lagoon. It truly was incredible. And - the very same day, there was a gorgous sunset. Nature is wonderful here!
We now have a studio apartment on the Emten Lagoon. Our balcony is right on the edge of the lagoon. So naturally, I fish off of our balcony. Below is a picture looking off of our balcony and the first fish I caught. Don't ask me what kind it is, because there are so many that look alike. They just have different coloring. To me, they all look like a perch.
We then had the opportunity one Saturday to go to the northern part of the island to one of the branches, Paonagisu. We went with Brother and Sister Bennion. He is our facilities manager. He is from Fiji and loves to fish. So, after we went to the branch building, see below, we stopped at a boat ramp near by to do a little fishing.
This was the biggest fish I caught. It is called a Trevally. Kind of looks like a Tuna. We caught some smaller fish that day, but gave them away to the natives there. John took the Trevally home and ate it. I'm still skeptical about eating any of the fish because of Ciguatera poisoning. This is caused by a dinoflagellate that adhers to the coral, algae and seaweed. The reef fish eat the dinoflagellate and the toxin builds up in their bodies. The carnivorous fish eat the reef fish, and they pick it up. The problem is that it doesn't cook out. So if a fish contains enough of it, you can get really sick. There is no scientific way to detect whether or not the fish has it or not. The natives set the fish out and see if flies are attracted to it. If it draws flies, then it's ok to eat. Yum.
I've been back to this place once since I caught the Trevally. I don't have any pictures of that trip, but it was a memorable one. Brother Bennion and I delivered a couple of chalk boards up to the Paongisu Branch. We than stopped to do a little fishing off the boat ramp. On my first cast, I slipped on the moss on the boat ramp and slid all the way down into the water. I was able to quickly get out of the water on the side of the ramp where it was flat. I then realized I had broken the end of my pole and got my cell phone wet with salt water. Good-by phone! I tried to dry it out and clean it up (took it all apart), but I think the salt helps to short circuit the whole thing.
Brother Bennion started a conversation with one of the boat men there at the ramp. He talked him into taking us out on his boat, if we paid for the gas. So - I went trolling with no tip on my pole. John caught a Rainbow Runner, and so did I. They are also called Hawaian Salmon. It was about 20 inches long and maybe 2-3 pounds. It was skinnier than the Trevally. I ended up giving mine to the boat man, who happened to be one of the Chiefs out on the island across from the boat ramp. I also caught a Bonita that I let John keep. On top of everything else, I forgot to bring my sun screen that day. Even though we were only out for about three hours, I got fried. Luckily I had my hat on to keep my head from getting burned. Aloe Vera does wonders and really helped my arms. It was still a fun trip. I forgot to mention that it was Connie Jeanne's birthday. Serves me right!
Below are a couple of other pictures off our balcony.
This last one is looking across and down the lagoon. They are building some more huts for tourists.
The past two weeks have been full of incredible conference sessions. First we had the Port Vila District Conference. It was very well attended. On Friday, they held the Port Vila District mission conference. The Elders and Sisters had it well organized. The topics were timely. We were glad to be included. On Saturday a priesthood session was held while all of the auxillary organizations met. There were some emotional talks. Pres. and Sister Brewer spoke as well. Actually, they taught. They are both former teachers and do an excellent job of teaching and holding the congregation on track. In fact, I think that my friend, Sister Brewer, is a masterr teacher. After the breakout groups, we had the first general session of the District Conference. On Sunday, the second session was held. The theme of the conference was chastity, fidelity, and faith. These are good people. They want to do things in Heavenly Father's way. They need instruction and guidance. It is hard for them to give up their old customs and traditions. No one wants them to be Americanized or westerized. They just need to adopt our Father in Heaven's plan for each of us.
This is Alista Karlip. He is a national hero here in Vanuatu. He is the striker on the Championship National Soccer team. People cheer him on the streets. Alista is a humble, dedicated member of the church. He is a returned missionary and was recently married in the Fiji Temple. At the district conference, Alista was sustained as the District Executive Secretary. He is also one of our students that is now attending school. He is one of my very favorites!
Then it was world wide General Conference. It was so inspiring to hear many of the same topics discussed by the General Authorities. We especially appreciated Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Elder Oakes, and the First Presidency. Pres. Monson's talk about obedience and his story about the fire really got the young people's attention. We were able to listen to all of the session on the internet. And - then hear and see them in the branch meetings. We are so grateful for our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for this opportunity to serve a mission!!!!!
This is Clyde gingerly walking out into the Coral Sea. The coast is all lava beds and coral. It is very hard to walk even with Teva's on. Clyde was concerned about me walking out there at all. If you fall, you will get cup up fairly badly on the sharp rock. This is right at the Nasama Resort!!!!
I am sitting on an old log on the volcanic beach - there is no natural sand in the area!
Really, really blue starfish - and a sea cucumber. This was one of the smallest that we saw!
Clyde had to check out a local woman fishing from the shore - no pole, just a line!!!
The end of our hour on the beach. The sand here is brought in by the resort. There are totems everywhere in Vanuatu!
Great smile! Beautiful teeth. I must know some really good dentists!!!!