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Adventure – Page 2 – Hey Becky Boo
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Adventure

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The Death of a Pet

Nobody can say the bet the beetle wasn’t well loved. Indeed in it’s short life with my son it got a LOT of attention.  It’s just too bad that all that loving ended in death. Join us as we find out about Zaby’s latest pet!

In all fairness, the beetle was getting very old before the boys found it and I must say I think it had a rather eventful last week. I’d also like to think that the poor soul is now safely and happily resting in Heaven. At least that is the assurance I give my children.

It’s so much fun living in a tropical place where we run into the most interesting and exciting animals, bugs, food, fruit and people!

I hope we never forget these seemingly ordinary moments that somehow are merging together to create something extraordinary!

Camping in Paradise

‘It’s okay, just breath deeply and go to sleep.’ I felt a giant spider scamper across my arm and a cockroach tickle my forehead as it made it’s way over my face. This was going to be a loooong week. There were a lot, and I mean A LOT of bugs here.

Seriously why are there even spiders this size?

We had decided to take the family camping because well we didn’t have anywhere to live so that made it an easy decision. When we originally were planning to come to Vanuatu we thought we would just stay for 4 months. But the time came and went so quickly and everyone was enjoying our trip so thoroughly that nobody wanted to go home. We spent a few thousand dollars, changed our plane tickets, bought more travel insurance and extended our visa. It seemed expensive, but truthfully the price was so small in comparison to the gigantic return on investment.  For once in a long time our family was really content and everybody felt it and nobody wanted to let it go.

When we changed our tickets from 4 months to 12 months we needed to find a new place to stay and went camping between rentals.  It’s not like I had any camping equipment so we chose a place that had tents and beds already in them.  It was magical. Beach tents on the ocean, the breeze and the ocean and the birds.

We spent endless hours walking, swimming, playing with birds, roasting hotdogs, laughing and chatting around the fire. Everything was really fantastic. But there was more in store for our family.

The kids and Eric were walking down the beach when they found a path that led to a village through the bush. They ended up buying some island potatoes from them but when it was time to go home the entire village full of children followed them. For the next few hours they played soccer in the field.

At dinner time I called my kids for dinner and my kids as well as at least another 10 kids showed up. For the next four days and nights these beautiful village kids showed up at our tents at 6am, stayed around the fire laughing and singing with us and sharing our meals. Pretty soon I wasn’t cooking for 10 I was cooking for 20. I was running out of food, and you’ll see in the video the creative ways that we found to keep eating as there wasn’t a store in a million miles from us. We gathered coconuts, ate island potatoes and even collected sea urchins when the tide was low and roasted them over the fire! #gross

This group of sparkly eyed, brown skinned, big smiled children joined us for movie night cramming everyone into one small tent to gather around the little computer screen and watch Moana and home videos with us.

They followed us to the waterfalls when we went hiking and were waiting for us till well past dark every night if we ever ventured out anywhere.  At the end of every night Eric would load up the truck with everyone and drive them home. It was sometimes 10 or 11 o’clock at night when kids were sprawled out all over each other exhausted from hours of playing. Some nights they just walked themselves home dissappearing into the blackness without a sound.

The BEST most beautiful part of the entire camping trip was the morning that we were to leave. At 6am we heard noises outside. The mommas, the dads and the children from the village were all there.

They came up and showered us with shell leis, necklaces, fruit, potatoes and a woven mat. The momma’s said to me “you fed our pikininis everyday and now that makes you their momma too, so we bring you presents” Everyone cried as we left this magical bit of paradise and said goodbye to our new friends. It was truly an amazing, fantastic, unforgettable experience and I now have ALOT of new children!

Watch the videos to join in the magic and it truly was magical!

Rebecca

 

Island Fire Dancing

It’s Friday night and we can here the beating of drums from across the water. If you look carefully you can also see the lights spinning around in the distance. We’ve already been 5 times but it never gets old. We decide to load up the older kids and we pile in the truck with their cousins and aunties and drive down the road. It takes less than 10  minutes to drive to the Beach Bar where there is a free fire show every Friday night. It’s the same place we go for $10 pizzas and an outdoor movie on Tuesday nights but nobody ever gets tired of watching.

I promise myself this time that I’ll just enjoy the show without filming any of it. After all the sure sign of a tourist is taking out their fancy phones and videotaped EVERYTHING…sigh. It was too tempting. The sparks fly and the entire sky feels likes its lit up with music, people and fire. It’s actually very exciting and the crowd goes wild. I have officially resisted for as long as I possibly can before I pull out my phone and take a few minutes of fire dancing filming.  Now that I’ve made a little movie the whole thing is off my chest and I won’t have to film it next time 🙂 The Fire Dancing Show in Port Vila Vanuatu is AWESOME!

We honestly attend the fire dancing show at the Beach Bar nearly every weekend. It just never grows old. In fact, the fire dancing show was the very first activity that we ever attended when landing in Port Vila. The drums, the lights, the fire, the dancing, the crowd, and of course the delicous pizza!

When our friends come to visit we drag them to our own personal fire dancing show and they are NEVER dissapointed!

One Day in Paradise

Today we packed up all the kids, grabbed some fruit, towels and swim gear and visited a beach. It’s the same thing we’ve done a hundred times since we’ve been here. But I saw something different that really spoke to my heart.

Once we arrived at a beach hidden down some random jungle road and the as the minutes turned into hours I pinpointed what I love about living somewhere warm. There are simply so many things to do OUTSIDE! I MISS BEING OUTSIDE! I really think God created a beautiful earth for us to enjoy, but when i’m stuck inside for 8 months of the year it’s depressing!

Being on the beach today everyone just played together. It didn’t matter their age differences or interests. There wasn’t this impending feeling like winter is coming and all the fun is going to soon be over. In fact we are right in the middle of winter and we just barely graduated from sheets to thin blankets at night, everyone still jumping in the ocean for night time swims and walking around in their swimsuits. Ahhh 🙂

Oh, I also have to confess how much I love the endless CREATIVITY of kids that are home-schooled. A pile of rocks and sea glass quickly turns into an ocean and landing pad for a new game and kids of all ages laugh and play together. I know that lots of kids that aren’t home-schooled are awesomely creative, but I am a bit biased towards all these fantastic peeps who joined me for One Day in Paradise today and they all happened to be home-schooled so sorry for the brag 🙂

 

Tropical Trouble

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 Poor Laea, she has been such a good sport about this whole adventure and somehow she’s been the one who keeps getting boiled, bit and attacked.

This time those rashes lasted for weeks before finally easing up. They hiked for hours with Amjed to find a remedy for the stings but they couldn’t find any anywhere. So she came home and tried another island medicine remedy, but it wasn’t very effective at treating the affected areas.

We all laugh and cry with Laea and we are proud of her resilience and determination and good attitude. It’s a refreshing attitude to have around here!

Weddings in Paradise

There were 7 weddings in the village this week, the girls attended two of them.

There is only one day in the month in which you are allowed to get married regardless of what church you belong to, so last Friday was full of celebrations for everyone!!

When Analaea asked one of her friends what he was doing that day, he replied he was on his way to buy his cousins bride.

Apparently every man in the family over a certain age goes to purchase the bride from her family the day before the wedding.  All the Village gossip was about the extraordinary price that their family had brought to purchase the bride.

With the minimum wage being $2 an hour here the bride gift Of $1350 USD was unheard of!! The Vanuatu government passed a law 10 years ago saying that no brideprice over $800 was allowed, but I guess people are still willing to accept higher bride prices when offered.

In addition to the bride price, one week prior to the wedding every member of the grooms family must take off work and move into the grooms village where they spend the week preparing for the upcoming celebrations. In this case they killed five cows and two pigs for their feast amongst many many other things!

Once a bride and groom have been married you throw flour on the couple to show your support of their union.

Marriage here in Vanuatu is pretty much a matter of practicality. I’ve only seen one couple who looks even remotely in love and even they said that one day the bride received a phone call from a distant cousin who she had spoken to only once in her life. “Can I take you to the Mormon temple to get married after you get home from your two years of service?”

The young girl presented the name to her Family, and they discussed the pros and cons of the union. After two days they decided that he would be a suitable match. So she called him back and said yes. When her service mission was finished he picked her up brought her to the temple in Fiji and they got married. They are now living in two separate countries, as he is in Australia trying to save money for the island wedding well she works here in Vanuatu.

When I asked about their island wedding, she said they would probably celebrate that in two or three years. The trouble is in order to have a custom island wedding The family of the groom must pay a high bride price as well as all the costs for the celebrations. This puts a great financial burden on the family purchasing the bride.

If by chance you want to get married but are not able to afford the price of your bride you can give your first born daughter to your brides family. They then get to keep your daughter for the rest of her single life. That’s the case with my brothers house girl and their first born which they haven’t seen since giving away.

It’s so sad to see some of the local customs that are clearly trapping people in financial bondage or sadness. Weddings and funerals are particularly expensive for locals in Vanuatu.

One woman I know well said that after her husband had been requested to share his seed with other woman in his home village she wanted to leave him. She took the pikinins with her and boarded a boat. He found out before the boat left and also boarded. When he found her he beat her until she was unconscious and then threw her overboard. He jumped over himself and swam them both to shore where he announced she could not leave him. She’s been with him ever since.


I will be celebrating my 18th wedding anniversary with Eric soon. Our marriage is by no means without stress but I am grateful that at least he doesn’t drink Kava all night, beat me, share his seed or give our children away.

Thank goodness for the values that we share that make marriage just a little bit easier!!I think that this world schooling lesson that my girls learned today will stick with them forever!

What about you? What strange customs have you come across while traveling?

Preparing for Cyclone Donna

Well we went shopping to stock up on food and water in preparation for the cyclone. This is what we got. Sound yummy?
92 bananas 10 pamplemouse 20 tangerines 4 bags of homegrown freshly picked peanuts 21 passion fruit 15 giant avocados 12 french baguettes 10 papayas 2 bunches fresh basil 1 bunch fresh mint 1 freshly grown ginger root 1 pomegrantic 6 bags dried banana and manioc chips 12 nouse 30 sweet potatoes
Of course we bought it all from the market, fresh, island grown organic produce. YUM! We could have bought a frozen McCains pizza for $22USD, a box of Cocoa Puffs for $15.00USD or a container of yogurt for $14.00USD, but I couldn’t afford those things 🙂
We did splurge and buy a battery operated radio, two water storage containers and a bunch of flashlights, oh I almost forgot and a bouquet of fresh flowers. I got the flowers because if I’m stuck inside for two days I wanted it to be pretty:)
I’ll let you know how long this lasts.
By the way, I just found out the the locals have a special name for the house we live in, Cyclone Kaikai. This directly relates to rest of this post because the name translates to cyclone food…yikes!