Sunday, April 27, 2014

My birthday!

     This time it is my turn to celebrate a birthday.  Our group at Numbatu (Building Number Two) planned a potluck lunch.  It was actually my birthday and Tony Mahit's birthday.
      Kula Bennion is heading up the table.  I needed to cut the cake.  Raylene from the Family History Center joined us, too.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Etas - Cumorah Kindy School

      We have explained before that there are not nearly enough schools in Vanuatu - even though the government only provides for grades 1-6.  All secondary education is at private institutions.  All of the Kindergarten classes are private, even though kindy is a requirement for going to 1st grade.  Many children must pay for schooling from K-12.
      Etas is a community up on the mountain.  It is only about a 15 minute drive from town, but it is a whole different world.  They have never had a school in Etas.  And - transportation costs are prohibitive for almost everyone there.  There is a great branch in Etas and many wonderful people.  The school situation is just not acceptable.
     Through the efforts of many dedicated souls here and in New Zealand, the area office, something is being done.  The community is building a school themselves.

    The building - the frame - has been made twice as long as they will currently need.  This will enable growth next year.  The frame is made of tree trunks from the 'bush'.  There is no lumber like we know it to be.  Some lumber is available in town, but they could never afford it.  The walls are made of split bamboo and the roof is woven palm leaves.
 On this visit, the village was working on some of the school.

 The area that has been cleared will all be fenced in and a gate has been donated for the school yard.
This is the soccer field.  Every school needs a soccer field!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Some of our good friends!

  Many of the good people here will always be in our hearts and thoughts.  They have strong testimonies of the gospel. They diligently serve in their church callings.  I wish that I could take the time to tell you all more about each one!
      This Fredline and Merrie.  We have spent quite a bit of time with them.  Here is where they lived when they were working at the Turtle Bay Resort.  Fredline served her mission in Fiji.  Merrie served in New York City,  New York.  Can you imagine the change it was for her?!
       This is Christiane.  She is the translation specialist here.  She is very well educated and has a  wonderful testimony that she shares with us often.  Below are Margaret and Sarah.  We ran into them at the market.  It was a Saturday afternoon, and they had just come from a District Relief Society training session.  They are the counselors in the Etas Branch.
      This is Geraldine.  She is actually much younger than she looks.  She has had a very hard life.  She wanted me to take her picture by the church sign at Blacksands Branch.  Geraldine likes to pick fruit when she is able.  She likes to go to New Zealand and have time at the temple there.
       This is Loloma.  She is the mother of two.  She left her children with grandma on Malakula to come and get an education here in Port Vila.  She is very driven to do well.
     We went to visit a family last Sunday.  We found these children playing a crude game of Bingo.  They are playing on wooden pallets on the dirt outside of their house. 
      These are the parents of the children - and a cousin.  We needed some papers signed.  They do not have a table - no real furniture.  They only sleep in their houses - on the ground.   The sister on the right had just returned from church six hours after church.  She is the Primary President.
       This is Clera and Baia.  Baia is the Seminary and Institute director in Vanuatu.  They are from Malakula Island.  Baia was selected for the job right off of the farm.  He had done some tertiary schooling.  He has grown in his position immensely, since we first arrived.  His office is right by ours.  We have a quick devotional with Baia and his secretary, Laku, everyday.  Well every day that they get here on time.  We are suppose to start at 9:00 AM.
       Above is Maria.  She is a mother of two, attending USP in management, and from Papua New Guinea.  She is an excellent gospel doctrine teacher.  Below is Leah.  She is currently attending the Hospitality School.  She is studying housekeeping.  It took a while before, I could convince her to smile!

   This is Libby.  She is in the District Relief Society Presidency.  She is very warm  and friendly.
Libby is refined and such a good example here in Vanuatu for all of the sisters.  I just recently learned that her husband is not a member. I never would have guessed that.  Her family is all very active and she has a daughter currently serving in the Utah, Provo Mission.  She is in Mapleton. I think very highly of Libby - I am proud to call her my good friend!!!!!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An update on fishing in Vanuatu !

This is one of the first fish I caught here in Vanuatu.  I actually caught it off of our deck from the lagoon we live on.   It is called a Trevally.  They put up a good fight for about 3 minutes and then give up.  They are suppose to be good eating, but we like to give them away, which is what we do with all our fish.  We were warned by the health department before we came not to eat any of the fish because they may contain Ciguatera Toxin, which is throughout the South Pacific.  It's hard to know which fish might have it and which one won't, so we play the safe side.  When we have gone snorkeling at Hide-away-Island,  I was able to snorkel among a whole school of Trevally fish.  It was awesome!

There are a number of fish my fishing buddies and I have caught from a boat.  Below are just a few of them that we kept.  This first one is a type of sea cod I caught.  It has a nice set of choppers!

The top one is a Snapper and the other three are Bonito, a member of the tuna family.  The plate gives you a relative size for the fish.  Not real big. The orange looking fish is in our dish washing pan and I have no idea what it is.  The picture below that one is me holding the Snapper.

This is one of our members I go fishing with.  He caught this Rainbow Runner when we were trolling.  The same day I caught the Bonito's and the Snapper.

This is me out in our lagoon on the rubber raft I brought back from Michael's wedding.  It turns out to be a fun boat to play with, but not a good boat for fishing.  One of the paddles broke the second time I used it.

This is our church facilities manager and our neighbor at the Lagoon Bungalows.  He caught this Coral Trout when we were trolling one day.  Doesn't look like the "trout" we are used to catching.  This is after the fish had dried out some.

This is what the fish looked like right after it was caught.

Below are some of the fish we caught on our last little fishing trip.  The fish on the left is a Poulet and the one on the right is a Bream.  Both are very good eating .  On this trip, our boat captain caught a 10 foot Leopard Shark.  We had it up to the side of the boat and went for the camera but it broke the line.
We caught several other types of fish on this trip as well, but I gave mine away before I got a picture.

Above is another look at the Poulet.  I fillet it out and  baked it in the barbeque in my "Halibut sauce".  It was wonderful.  The head and bones I gave to our neighbor John because he wanted to make fish soup out of them.  John is the fisherman in three pictures up from this one.


      The students  here have a wonderful option of attending BYU-H.  Of course, they must first pass an English exam.  This seems to be the hardest part for them to do.  We administer the exams - either the SLEP test or the Michigan test.  Sometimes the kids take both exams and hope that they will do better on one or the other.  Often they need to complete English courses here and try the exams again. The returned missionaries from English speaking countries tend to have an advantage.
      The option to attend BYU-H comes  with some great incentives for the island kids.  The I-WORK program pays for everything - tuition, housing, food, books, travel, etc.  The student must be temple worthy.  The student agrees to work at the Polynesian Cultural Center in exchange for everything.  Here again - almost always these are returned missionaries.  We have about eight applications currently in the loop.
      Above is Danick Hilliman and below is Spencer Tokalolo!!!!  Danick is planning on studying agriculture and agribusiness.  Spencer wants to be a social worker with the people here.

      Last Sunday, our first two students left for BYU-H.  We are so excited for them.  We hope that this is an omen of many more to follow.  By the way, one of the big requirements for the I-WORK program is that the students need to commit to returning to their home country to build up the church.  These are the future leaders of the church and of the country.