Friday, August 26, 2011

Eloise in Ono

Eloise promptly caught a cold upon our arrival in Ono. After 13 months with only one tiny weekend sniffle, this was a big deal for Brian and me. We were searching our baby books for explanations of her sick baby noises. Let me just say that sick baby noises are much more frightening than grown up ones, especially at night. So we laid low and read many many of Eloise's books which she was quite happy to do when snuggled in my lap or right next to me. The snot sucker (I think it's officially called a nose bulb or some other pretty sounding name) has gotten a full work out. Dr. Auntie Kristin and that snot sucker have been the two biggest helps during this past 3 days. Eloise is coming out the other side already. Even though her eyes are a bit red-rimmed and she's still more clingy than usual, she's smiling more and getting back to her independent self.

Here are some of Eloise's milestones in the past week or two. She has created two legible sign language words by herself. (toothbrush and washing). She regularly asks to brush her teeth during the day now. Also Eloise has started pretending! I pulled out a digital thermometer which didn't work. So I let her hold it while I used the functioning thermometer. Almost immediately she put it up to her ear and started babbling loudly. Then she looked at me, smiled, and started talking again into her improvised phone.

Other things going on in Ono are continued preparations for the Bible Course which starts next week. The staff are still unpacking and setting up cooking facilities, praying daily for the students that are coming, and settling into life in a Fijiian village. Brian and Richard have worked on the village generator for the last two days. It's been non-functioning for many months and they got it running and diagnosed an alternator as needing further repair.

One interesting event happening in the village is that, for the first time ever, the village has hired an experienced drum maker to come to the village from the Lau Group of islands to build them a drum. He has his own work area and has been working for three weeks, carving and solid piece of orange-colored hard wood into a Polynesian drum. Do not imagine a circle with canvas over it like in the U.S. It looks more like a rounded, full- bellied watering trough. It's about four feet long, two feet wide and about two feet tall. The walls are two or three inches thick. When it is even lightly tapped it is loud and resonate. I'll send a picture when I can.

And last but not least….HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ELOISE'S GRANDAD! Happy Birthday Bob. We love you.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Arrival in Ono

Hello All.

We took the long way around the entire island of Viti Levu, up the west side, across the top, down the eastern side and the down to Ono. This was about 170 miles instead of the 115 mile straight shot south east from Lautoka directly into the wind. The first two days were pleasant and in protected waters. Two nights ago we entered into open ocean and had a few ill people that didn't think they needed seasick meds because it had been so enjoyable up to then. But Brian took care of the boat and the people and I took care of Eloise. We happily pulled into the southwest corner of Ono island just at sunrise yesterday morning. Tom, the pastor, that invited Marine Reach to come lead the Bible course, had been watching since before dawn. Before we could anchor he came out in a longboat (looks like the Mexican pangas)to greet us and start unloading the goods for the school.

We palangis (white folk) had to stay on the boat until it was time for the sevu sevu ceremony in the afternoon. That allowed time for Brian to take a much needed nap after staying up all night. The sevu sevu ceremony consists of formally offering a gift to the chief or village elders after which they formally welcome the visitors and offer access to their village and friendship. Tom and his older brother were our representatives and conducted the ceremony in Fijiian so I have no idea what was said except for a lot of "Vinaka" which means thank you. We attended two of these ceremonies right in a row because there are two villages right next to each other. Marine Reach's gift was a tank of diesel fuel and a tank of premix gas/oil mixture used for outboards.

A 12 year old girl happily carried Eloise around and played with her during our attendance to these ceremonies. It was an odd feeling for me to know she was being cared for but to have no idea where she was for short periods of time. Eloise is a big hit on the islands. They like her blonde hair!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eloise likes hats and hammocks!

Busy in Fiji

It’s only been a week since we officially checked into Fiji. On Sunday Brian dropped Justin, our nephew, off at the airport. He did a great job as crew from Tonga to Fiji. It was great to have him aboard.

Since then, we’ve been busily reprovisioning to head out to a village on the outer island of Ono. Two years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting and volunteering a little bit with Marine Reach, a branch of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Since then, we’ve stayed in contact in the hopes that they might be able to put Nomad to use. They can! The timing has turned out perfectly. We knew we’d arrive in August and they are starting a new venture of bringing 12 week Bible Training Courses out to remote villages. In the past, if a person wanted to attend these courses, they had to leave home for 3-5 months to attend a course in the big city of Lautoka. Nomad’s job is to transport 100 kg of flour, 50kg of split peas, boxes and boxes of other foods, and 5 of the staff that will be running the school. We are excited that our heavy weight sturdy boat is up to the challenge. We are also hoping to be able to volunteer and help however needed once we arrive at Ono. Yesterday, the goods were brought to the marina where we are moored, and dumped on the foredeck. Today, I’m slowly finding nooks and crannies to pack the boxes in. Eloise has taken it all in stride with her usual friendly self, interacting happily with the new people and enjoying the new climbing structures the boxes have created. Her favorite discovery was three bright green plastic bowls. She thinks they are hard hats, another of her favorite discoveries in Fiji.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tally Ho

Based on weather reports we've received, tomorrow morning the wind will have switched to the SE. That means it is time to leave Tonga. We checked out officially from Tonga two days ago but the weather didn't suit so we have spent the time doing chores, visiting beaches, visiting a local couple on the island of Lape, snorkeling, and trying to catch the spits of rain and funnel them into our water tanks. I've been planning meals and baking bread to freeze for easy snacks en route.

Our nephew, Justin, arrived on Monday and will help us cross to Fiji. In exchange, we're hoping to provide him with some fun kiteboarding when we arrive, and some good sailing experience. We are very very thankful to all family and friends that generously filled Justin's bags with things for us. Malo! (thank you in Tongan)

Kolio and Tala, a warm friendly couple from Lape offered us papaya, bananas, drinking coconuts, and some delicious breadfruit chips to send us on our way. I baked them rolls and chocolate cookies as a thank you. I wish we could adopt them as an extra set of grandparents. They were very sweet with Eloise. Tala gave her a bracelet, a bikini and grass skirt, head band and lots of smiles and cuddles (as much as Eloise would allow). The items were all made out of hibiscus fibers or another plant called ruakao.

More details later.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: