Sunday, July 29, 2012
Today was the first time since I arrived in the Solomons that I woke up when it was light out. Sundays we get to “sleep in” until about 7:15. Sr. Loretta and Sr. Matilda had breakfast prepared when Cayla and I woke up. We enjoyed toast with pineapple jam (my new favorite) and bananas. At 8:15 we left the house to walk to the cathedral for mass. Chrisma was dressed in her best - red and white shirt and skirt with a big white ribbon on her small bun. She skipped along with us down the road. We were a half hour early, and this gave me time to take in the artistry in the cathedral. Paintings and carvings exuded a unique Solomon Islands style.
The music ministry group that gathered to learn and practice all week sang for the congregation. Their hard work was evident as their voices and instruments echoed around the church. Bishop Chris gave many thanks to Bro. Roger and Bro. Rob for their hard work with the music program during his homily, which he delivers in Pidgin. The most interesting part of the service was the presentation of the gifts. About ten men dressed like warriors dance up the aisle while the choir sings a chant. They are followed by several women carrying the gifts. It was amazing how they incorporated their traditional culture into the mass. When the mass ended, Cayla and I helped hand out certificates to the participants in the music program. There were many speeches and thank yous. The Solomon people value welcoming new people and also sending them off. It makes me realize how important it is to remind people in your life that you truly appreciate them. Their small gifts and kind words are incredibly meaningful and serve as inspiration to keep living, loving, and giving. The mass and ceremony lasted 2 hours, and no one left early to rush to a soccer game or get to the beach. Mass is the main activity on Sunday, and the congregation was totally involved the entire time.
We walked home from mass in the blistering heat. Chrisma and Veronica, another girl who lives nearby, came over the house to dance. The group taught Cayla and me a few popular Solomon dances while we entertained them with the chicken dance and the hokey pokey. We pushed the table and chairs aside for the festivities and were laughing as we bumped into each other and tried to remember new steps. Sr. Loretta saved the day and played Shrek 2 for us on the computer. After the movie, I slipped away to the hammock under the house and read. Cayla and I have been feeling a little bit lazy because we love to run and haven’t really been able to because of the heat. We set up a little spot behind the house to do an Insanity workout that she had on her computer. We mounted the screen on a mat, chair, and box that we stacked up. We looked slightly ridiculous, and we caught an older woman staring at us from behind a bush. After 40 minutes we were pouring with sweat, and 6 hours later, I think I’m still sweating. We took ice cold showers before evening prayer.
Bishop Chris hosted dinner tonight. I enjoyed the company of the brothers, sisters, and a few members of the community. The world gets smaller and smaller as the bishop and I make connections with people we know from Long Island. I’m sitting in the living room of Sr. Loretta and Sr. Matilda’s home right now. Cayla is busy blogging and Sr. Loretta is using her whole mind, body, and voice to play “bubble pop.”
Every night I seem to think that “today was the best day of my life.” Then I remember I already said that yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Cayla and I were reflecting that it is so incredible to be immersed in this community. We are very lucky that we can go to bed thinking that we lived the day to its fullest. My friend at school once said to me “today has the potential to be the best day of your life.” That approach has definitely been working, and I can only look forward to the days to come.