Thursday, September 8, 2011

School started

Eloise is happily playing with some fabric scraps on the floor. Rain is pouring steadily into our two blue buckets from our awning. A winter day aboard Nomad in Fiji is cold enough for hoodies and pants and bare feet.
A short while ago, Brian put on his foul weather jacket and went ashore to look at the school's generator. He's got quite a reputation already. He and Richard did a common sense maintenance program on the village generator and now it runs. He's been called in like a visiting doctor to make pronouncement on a dead chainsaw,
attempted to resurrect a broken washing machine and asked to repair a TV. But most of his time has been on the village generator, or setting up tents for the male students to live in..

Tomorrow is the first day of teaching ashore for the Discipleship Training Course. The speaker arrives on the ferry today. I just saw a longboat (aka skiff) head out from the village toward the bay where the ferry pulls in. All the students have already arrived from other villages or were from this village. 20 in all. They have been getting to know each other under the leadership of Richard and Thelma and doing work chores. Tuesday was a love feast which was supposed to be for students and their families. It turned into a feast for the entire village. Over one hundred people ate and enjoyed the pig, chicken, cassava, taro root, fish and taro leave pudding. The pig and root veggies were cooked under ground in the traditional lovo of hot coals and rocks covered by palm branches and old flour sacks. I watched three men hack a recently living pig into pieces while the village dogs lay panting nearby, eyeing the offal.

My contribution to the feast was to cook a triple batch of my mom's chocolate cake recipe and a double batch of coconut cookies. Eloise's contribution was to take a three hour nap so that I had time to do a baking frenzy.

And now on to Eloise…
She's a toddler for sure. I was surprised yesterday when I saw her crawling. But then I realized she was crawling backwards to climb down an edge. She has been sick since about the second day that we arrived here at the village. Fijians have a cute custom of kissing babies as soon as they see them. They are continually nudging their children toward Eloise saying, "give her a kiss". This is pretty cute until the face of the child that is approaching my child's face is slimy with large snot trails. So Eloise has had a cold, pinkeye, and some sort of diarrheal joy. On top of that, she started working on producing a new tooth.
Despite the sickness, Eloise is still learning and changing. She learns new signs every week. "sleep" and "baby" are her two newest ones. She enjoys taking lids off of tubs or jars and trying to put them back on. Hide and Seek makes her giggle. She is an avid reader, turning pages in her books, pointing, signing, talking, and flipping to find favorite pictures. She also tries to make the crowing noises of the village roosters. She had liked roosters for many months, ever since we started reading her Richard Scarry's "The Rooster Struts". She can even strut, and does so when asked!

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