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Food

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After School Vistors

The smell of cinnamon buns was wafting through the house and making everyone hungry. None of the girls that were bouncing around my kitchen had ever had a cinnamon bun before, so we were excited to share them. Early this morning, when my little girls went off to school, they asked me if it was okay if they brought some friends home to play. Being the awesome mom that I am and never wanted to miss a chance to win points with my kids I enthusiastically said “you bet”!

A few hours later piles of kids poured through my front door. This was not a few after school friends! I was pretty sure they had brought the entire school home with them! The girls were giggling as they took off their blue and yellow uniforms and folded them neatly across tables and chairs. It was too hot to keep the uniforms on and most the girls had a change of clothes with them. After quickly stripping their skirts they ran down to the ocean with both my daughters in tow and splashed and swam. The radio had sent out an extra large wave warning, so the girls thought that was the perfect invitation to go and play.

Squealing, and screaming and laughing could be heard over the crash of the giant, frothy waves. I went down to watch them and make sure everyone stayed safe, but who was I kidding? These kids could swim better and further and than I ever would be able to. Swimming was like breathing, and they had been doing it since they were tiny.

I headed home and a few minutes later, the group of girls came back too. They were all shivering and cold. My girls quickly offered them a hot shower (most of which none had ever had a hot shower before) and sometime before my gas tank had been completely emptied of it’s expensive liquid, the girls all tumbled out. They wrapped themselves up in every dry towel I had and began to play basketball outside.

I was fascinated by the large group, and sat staring  out the window at them, not quite sure what to do. I had been expecting a few little girls to come home with mine and had made a little snack of cut up pineapple and watermelon for them to share but that was not going to do it!

I quickly thought up a plan, I’d do a cooking class. I told them all that today we were going to make cinnamon buns. They were delighted and threw the basketball through the hoop one last time before running inside. I tried to ignore the puddle of water all over the floor and the messy kitchen, telling myself that they wouldn’t notice either- so neither should I. I divided them into groups of 4 and  taught them how to make the tasty, sticky treat. I don’t speak Bislama very well, and they don’t speak English very well, but we did alright as I mimed and acted out exactly what steps happened next.

They stirred, and kneaded and rolled and sprinkled and cut until every pan I had was covered in cinnamon buns waiting to be cooked. Every girl there cooks on a fire in her village. None of them had stoves or ovens, so they were mesmerised by everything in the kitchen. Giggling each time I gave them an instruction or pulled out a new dish.

As the cinnamon buns cooked I told the girls it was time to clean up the messy kitchen. It had already been a disaster with dishes piled high in both sinks, before we had started and now it was even worse. Those girls only needed to be told once and they took their job very seriously. The counter was wiped about a hundred times, and each dish was washed, dried and within 20 minutes the kitchen was immaculate.

Little girls with frizzy black hair, and dark brown skin, sparkling white teeth and beautiful smiles were all being dropped off now that it was pitch black and drizzling with rain. I wondered if their parents even knew where they were today, or wondered what took them so long to come home from school, and I wonder what magic will happen in my house tomorrow!

The Bitterest of Bitters…Making Aloe Juice!

Today we went on a nature walk to find the aloe vera plant. I’ve been drinking the juice and it’s been helping me feel better so I thought I’d try making my own. Sure enough we found massive aloe plants and the guy who owned the property was happy to let us pick them. Here’s a little tutorial on how we made our aloe juice! Enjoy my video 🙂

 

Chocolate Covered Wisdom

The open market had a strange looking bumpy oblong shaped fruit and when we asked the lady sitting cross legged on the mat on the ground behind the table she said “it’s cacao fruit”.

We bought the four biggest ones for 50 Vatu each (equivalent to .50USD) and put them in our bulging market bag.

When we got home Monday night Eric had prepared a beautiful scripture lesson on the Lords timing. He invited everyone into the kitchen where we learned how cacao plants are planted, harvested and turned into chocolate.Image may contain: food

Without the proper timing and process, the cacao fruit which is a sweet fruit with bitter seeds inside, can never be transformed into the yummy chocolate we see at the grocery store.

The girls all gathered together, took apart the cocoa fruit, cut down banana leaves from the back yard and started the process of fermenting and drying the cocao beans.

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After separating the seed from its fruit you must ferment it for three days and then lay it to dry in the sun for three days. After all that you crush it and cook it and turn it into chocolate adding milk and sugar.

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I started thinking about it. Hmmmm.

I wondered to myself How many times do I judge other people or myself , thinking I ought to, or they ought to already be the finished product?

With faith in Gods purpose, plan and timing We can trust the process of growing and maturing and love people around us just as they are.

That’s my thought for today, enjoy your chocolate-we did!!

The Colour of Happy Birthday

He goes on unknown hikes, climbs tall coconut trees, catches snakes, makes friends wherever he goes, speaks two languages, is literally brilliant, doesn’t care how old you are, isn’t afraid of anything, loves his family and serves God. Joshua is the most friendly, adventuresome young man I have ever met!

We really wanted to do something special for Joshua Leavitts 17th birthday so we decided to have a colour festival with colours I had brought in my suitcase from Canada. That was a bit harder than it sounds because at EVERY. SINGLE. SECURITY. Check our bags were searched and little chemical samples were taken from the colored powder to make sure they weren’t explosive or dangerous. As if travelling with 9 kids, 24 bags, one stroller and one baby carrier wasn’t hard enough right?! The only reason I even put the colors in my carry on bag in the first place was because we were overweight on all our big bags so I thought I’d be clever and just bring them in our carry ons.

I’m so glad we went to all the trouble because honestly, we had so much fun, it was amazing!!

The only person who couldn’t join us for all the fun was the “recovering from a dog attack” girl.

Even the workers and neighbors that we invited joined us and all the locals on the beach watched in total curiosity and colored powder flew out of our hands and onto each other and the white sand beach. Zaby loved it. He was a wild man running around catching people with his powder. 

Today the color of Happy Birthday was bright and magical!

100 ways to die

We have discovered since moving to Vanuatu that in some places there are 10 ways to die, and in other places there are 100 ways to die. Vanuatu must be one of the places that has a hundred ways to die!

So far we’ve discovered a few possibilities as follows:

Cyclone

Earthquake

Tsunami

Machete Man

Coconut Falling on your head

Falling out of a tree

Drowning

Getting stabbed by a crazy drunk man

Getting bit by a centipede

Dying from Infection

Stabbing yourself while husking a coconut

Getting attacked by wild dogs

Sadly we are becoming acquainted with quite a few of these ways, and I’m quite sure as time goes on I’ll find many more to add to my list!

 

 

 

Tonight our poor 17 year old daughter got attacked by wild dogs while riding the quad through a nearby village. She received 2 puncture wounds and a big scrape. The dog actually bit her leg while they were driving and hung on as they kept going. It’s gross. She is still trying to decide if she’d rather be stitched up with no freezing or go to the sketchy hospital.

#notears #sothisisislandliving #shestough #100waystodie #islandliving #livinginVanuatu #dontworrynorabieshere

Ordering Pizza

Mmmm, the aroma of the freshly grilled pizza as it got laid in front of us was amazing. I was pretty excited because pizza costs a lot of money here and cheese is super expensive so making your own isn’t really financially sustainable either.

We had splurged a little today because we were out visiting a nearby resort and we had to take a boat to get there. They implemented a strict “no food on the island” rule to get people to spend their money buying from the expensive restaurants. The kids were quite hungry and we really couldn’t avoid feeding them and since pizza at $18 USD a pizza was the cheapest thing on the menu we ordered that.

After we prayed over our food we all dug in and grabbed a slice. This particular one was Mediterranean pizza. The description under the name on the menu said “an assortment of Mediterranean vegetables.” I started to look at the pizza a little closer after taking one bite. Something was off. There were giant carrot sticks, squash cubes and pickles on my pizza. No joke- the ‘Mediterranean Vegetables’ were definitely more unique than expecting 🙂

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I have honestly never tasted anything quite like it. When my sister ordered the same pizza a few minutes later hers had little cubes of peas and carrots all over it. Not sure what Mediterranean vegetable really are but I’m quite sure that I chose the healthiest pizza in the world to eat today 🙂

A Tropical Mothers Day

I woke up to a freshly picked bouquet of Island flowers gathered from my own back yard and given to me by two of my sweet children.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, plant, tree, flower, outdoor and closeupEric brought me breakfast in bed with the tropical milkshake and an omelet. The tropical milkshake tasted a bit odd but I tried to be polite as I drank it. After Eric tried one taste he realized that what he had thought was powdered sugar was actually tapioca starch, and after a good laugh he didn’t make me finish the rest of my drink!

Image may contain: foodThe omelet was delicious however.

It was Sunday today and we were all excited to go to church because Lindy and Dustin were going to be speaking which meant the talks would be in English.

When we got to church we were so surprised to see the way that Mother’s Day was celebrated.

First each mother was given a flower lei.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sittingHundreds of hand cut streamers hung down from the ceiling and were blowing in the breeze.Image may contain: one or more people

Signs that said happy Mother’s Day which looked like they were written and decorated by some creative man we’re posted all over with scriptures underneath.No automatic alt text available.

I’m not used to our chapel being decorated in such a festive manner, but the children were delighted with the Decor and it was obvious that the Islanders love their mothers.

After church was over the men brought out a very large cake that said happy Mother’s Day on it. They said they had a special program for just the mothers. As we sat in the hot chapel we had the privilege of having an entire additional Sunday meeting consisting of an opening and closing prayer, an opening and closing hymn, two musical numbers, and four or five talks (all in Bislama of course!)

Image may contain: 3 peopleThe primary came in and sang the most precious song to us, as did the youth.

 

Afterwards there was an announcement that there would be special food for the mothers.

We went outside and we were first served chocolate cake, then we were served lollipops, then we were served chocolate icing on white soda crackers. It was all quite darling.Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing

There were ten matching plates and a pile of mismatch dishes were being quickly washed in preparation for the meal, there were also six glass cups. After they were washed a meal was served on them and given to the mothers first. As soon as the meal was eaten one or two of the men would come up, whisk the plate away, wash it under the outside tap and bring it back for someone else to enjoy a meal. Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, child and food

It was kind of strange having everyone stare at you while you ate because they had nothing else to do while they waited for their own plate. After a little while some of the other women who lived nearby saw what was happening and went to their houses & brought their dishes to add to the collection so more people could eat at once. It was very sweet, and although so different than how I normally experience Mother’s Day but was absolutely perfect and something I will NEVER forget!Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and baby