Eating a Sea Urchin is more exciting than you might think! This was certainly a day I’ll never forget, check out the video as we test the South Pacific delicacy of Sea Urchins!
It started out as what we thought was going to be a lovely little date together. We snuck off and thought we’d grab some lunch from one of the little roadside markets. That was our mistake…in the end we didn’t eat anything.
Well there are so many things here that are different than at home and food is definitely one of them! I don’t have much to say- the video sums it up 🙂
The oldest girls took a hike through the jungle with a group of their cousins and local friends. All the locals knew that the plant was to be avoided but they forgot to tell my girls. Two of the girls ended up falling down and getting covered in a tropical stinging plant #should’vewornlongershorts. The sting lasts from a week to a month and the only remedy is to find the plant that stung you and crack open it’s stem, spreading the sap on the sting. Here’s the report!
Well, the day was perfectly hot and we needed somewhere to cool off. I had heard all about the powerful healing waters of Santo, Vanuatu and thought that this would be a good time to try them out. After all, I was struggling with numerous health condition that were getting worse and worse. “What could it hurt?” I thought to myself as I persuaded the others to join me. I personally had already heard dozens of stories from neighbours and friends that testified to the miraculous power of the healing springs. I thought you guys would like to join me so I inconspicuously made a little video 🙂
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 🙂
He went to the hospital tonight…
It’s not that he wanted to but this time he really had to. Since Analaea’s dog attack where we just decided to go without stitching and put her on antibiotics ourselves I had inquired on the condition of the local hospital.
When the pharmacists, locals and health professionals that I spoke to Said, “don’t go to the hospital unless you really have to” and “avoid the hospital at all costs” we decided to just take care of her at home.
Treating yourself seems to be the safer option in many cases here, especially because you can just walk into any pharmacy and buy any drug you want-Yes I’m serious but more on that later!!
Tonight there was really no choice. I took one look and no it was definitely not something We could deal with ourselves. Poor Eric.
He was making fresh coconut milk for our island dinner when the newly sharpened knife slipped and delivered a good sized gash across the palm of his hand and deep into the flesh. He screamed my name as the blood spurted out across the wall but I didn’t hear because I was busy chatting with my sister in law outside. He yelled again for me while he grabbed a cloth and wound it tightly around his hand.
It was no use, I was too far away to hear, and in the end my brother Dustin finally was the one that grabbed the keys to the truck and took him.
Because I got to clean up the pools and splatters of blood at home this report is in Eric’s own words when I asked him how was the hospital really was…
“Well it was smelly, and hot and kind of dirty and well unique.”
“The sterile kit was definitely not sterile as I could see the previous stains on it and it was only wrapped in a cloth. There was dried blood on the floor and wall from somebody else.”
So far It sounded pretty much like I had imagined, I was so glad I wasn’t there.
“Yu Kam” said the nurse as he led Eric into the back room. No more English was spoken so it’s a good thing Eric had picked up some Bislama since we’ve been here 🙂
The doctor never actually showed up which meant that the nurse did the stitching himself. He couldn’t find all the supplies he was looking for and disappeared a few times before he was able to get everything right. In the end Eric was pretty sure that the freezing of the wound was much worse than the stitching and the wound itself.
Finally he was stitched and sent home, when he went to pay the $5 hospital fee they charged him $30- probably because he was white. Haha, I love the mathematical discrepancy!
Even at the steep price of $30 for a hospital visit visit there’s no illusions that the medical professionals here are getting rich off of anybody. We were so grateful that there was even a hospital here at all and very happy to only have to go in for something minor. You really learn to appreciate even the simplest things here.
Of course the real challenge is to keep it now from getting infected in this warm, moist, bacteria happy environment, but for now I’m just glad I’ve got my husband home with a hand that still moves. God is good.
The smell of rotten eggs filled my body and I thought I was going to throw up right there.
The good news was that nobody would have noticed because the thick mud surrounding our bodies was much too dark to see anything through. Plus the throw up would had just joined the dead floating crab and other little things mixed in with our hot mud bath. Happily I managed to keep my lunch inside.
We were all rolling around like pigs in the sulfur filled mud baths at the “holy healing waters” that we found on the side of the road.
Since the local medicine man was so helpful 😂
I decided to try another island treatment for ailments.
I had Heard that Vanuatu had some natural Hot Springs and mud baths. I’ve been to Hot Springs before and I definitely felt positive health benefits after soaking in them, so I was excited to discover that this island we were staying on had them as well.
When I went on trip advisor the reviews were kind of sketchy, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I knew I didn’t want to go alone, and was delighted when my husband and sister and a few of our kids agreed to make the journey with me.
After driving for an hour halfway around the island and up and down windy mountain roads we finally spotted the hand painted sign indicating that we had arrived at our destination.
Eagerly we pulled in but nobody seemed to be around except a couple village pikininis (children) playing in the grass.
We finally were able to track down someone who was happy to take our Vatu (money) and show us around.
She told us stories of how she was once very large and when she went in the waters she became skinny, and how her dad was crippled and when he went in the waters he started to walk. The truth seemed to be mixed generously with some things that seemed quite unbelievable, but I was happy to be there anyways and was definitely not expecting a miracle 🙂
“You must sit in this pool for 10 minutes. Then you must cover yourself in mud in that pool. Then we wash you off and you sit in that pool.” She pointed up ahead as she spoke to us in her broken English.
The instructions she gave us were quite clear and we obediently took off our clothes and hopped with our swimsuits into the first pool.
It was hot but felt amazing. The water was bubbling up from a spring deep in the earth and you could taste the salty minerals.It felt like heaven sitting in the homemade cement pools bathing in the hot spring.
My 15 year old who usually hates getting dirty and my sister were the first to leave the clean hot spring and take a dip in the mud bath. At first the mud pool was gross. It was smelly, and well…muddy.
Mary, the daughter of the owner of the place, got right to work covering our faces and backs with the mud as we tried not to laugh and throw up at the same time. The smell was pretty overwhelming.
Nate just kept saying “this is so gross, get me outta here” but his mom made him stay anyways.
We all got really into it and soon we forgot the rotting eggs smell and we were floating blissfully into the oozing, stinky mud.
It felt like we stayed forever but it was only an hour in the mud. When we felt ready we got out and Mary washed us off by dumping buckets of warm salty water over our heads and body. It actually felt AMAZING!
As I watched her humble, seemingly boring job serving us, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for this young lady. She spent the whole time we were there watching us, telling us which baths to go in and which were too hot (there were some places that the water reaches 90 Celsius / 104 Fahrenheit ). She helped us when we got mud in our eyes and and washed away the mud from our adventure so we could be clean again.
I also couldn’t help but feel gratitude for One who is greater than us all who chose to humble himself and be the servant of all. I am grateful for His guidance in which paths to take and which places to avoid and most of all his loving sacrifice that washes us clean when we are covered in the dirt and filth of the world.
We truly are blessed to have this special time to draw closer together as a family as well as to draw closer to the Savior and see His hand at work in our lives.
Late last night my 15-year-old came into my bedroom to sit down and chat.
There was rarely time for this back at home, however, with no TVs or computers, iPods or radios, Island living somehow makes space for beautiful things to grow.
Vanuatu is a tiny group of islands off the coast of Australia classified as a Third World country.
The cost of fuel, food, rent, internet, electricity, gas and a vehicle are all either the same as or higher here in Vanuatu than at home in Canada.
I looked over at my daughter sprawled across the bed, her island braids falling at her side.
“mom, it’s so weird, the people here have nothing. Their clothes are worn out and ripped, they have to walk hours to get anywhere, grown adults work all day for $1.75 an hour, their family members die all the time, and yet for some reason they are still so happy”
I Lay in bed pondering her comments. What does make us in North America so unsatisfied with our lives? So full of independence, and fear, and anger and hatred? So quick to bully, to be a victim, to point fingers, so eager to complain, so insistent that ‘fairness and justice’ be served. There is nothing fair about this life here, but I have rarely seen even one person show signs of dissatisfaction due to the inequality of their situation.
Every day children are separated from their mother and father and are given to relatives to satisfy a debt or a custom ceremony.
Cyclones, tsunami’s, & earthquakes flatten their little tin shacks and destroy the precious food growing in their gardens.
People die often because of infections, lack of medical care, and preventable diseases.
But the people here are not sad, the opposite is true actually. Friends and strangers alike kiss each other on the cheeks, touch each other as they pass by, and yell out greetings as they bump along the dirt roads in the trucks and buses.
I have not met a single person that does not have a deep faith in God. Their faith is not something to be ashamed of. On Sunday, every store shuts down and every person returns to their family and their separate churches to worship. If a cyclone is approaching the community prays together and on the radio, and at the local market it is announced for people to repent, and remember God.
Here where the dogs and chickens wander into church and the graffiti on the wall says “Jesus Saves”, Gods masterpieces, and His miracles are all around us and nobody is ashamed to point them out or to praise them.
In some ways our fancy, fast, first world country is ahead of these simple island people, but in many ways we are so far behind.