Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Work Begins

Monday, July 23, 2012
Sr. Vero, Cayla, and I woke up for 6:15 mass this morning.  The church is just across the road, and coincidentally, it is Sacred Heart Church - the same name as my church in Merrick.  It feels like home on the other side of the world.  It was still dark outside when mass began, and there is no electricity in the church.  The readers and the priest used a flashlight so they could deliver the readings.  When we left the church, Visale was bright with sunlight.  We walked through the wet grass back home for breakfast. I can’t get enough of the pineapple and watermelon.  Several people gave Sr. Vero pineapples to welcome us, so they are all over the house.  
Sr. Vero took Cayla and me to the secondary school, where I will be helping for the next few days.  I sat in on the teachers’ assembly, followed by the students’ assembly.  Sr. Vero had Cayla and I introduce ourselves to the students.  The head boy then welcomed us on behalf of his classmates, and we were presented with a gift.  Two girls brought in exquisite and fragrant leis, composed of yellow and white flowers.  I wore mine all day.  I am constantly overwhelmed by the welcoming, hospitable nature of the Solomon culture.  I hope that I can bring this aspect of the Solomon people home with me.  After the assembly, I observed and assisted in a Form 4 English class.  
I had a break following the lesson, and was chatting with a teacher about the room full of donated books that they are planning to turn into a library.  The principal contacted a neighboring school, hoping their librarian could come organize the books.  I said I would gladly help organize the books and make a system for borrowing so the students could utilize the materials.  The staff was so excited that I could help with this project because they have no idea how to go about it.  They unlocked the room, and I got to work by myself.  It was really a sad sight.  Two large bookshelves filled with dusty books randomly thrown on the shelf.  Rat droppings were all over everything and spiderwebs were thick in the dark corners of the room.  I started going through, book by book, and sorting them into piles.  It took a very long time to look through it all.  I took a lunch break with Cayla and Sr. Vero to relax for a little while and get hydrated.  When I returned to the soon to be library, I continued the job.  
By 3:30, I needed to escape the dust and rat droppings.  Rain began to pour, but I decided to go for a swim anyway.  Under my umbrella, I walked across the road, down to the beach.  I followed the shore for a little while and stuck my clothes under a tree in the hopes that they would stay dry.  Two young boys followed at a distance.  We waved to each other and they immediately started giggling.  While I was swimming around, I saw the two darting around in the trees and sand.  My first instinct was “oh no.  They’re going to take my clothes and I’ll have to run through the village with my bathing suit on while everyone is watching out their window.”  Luckily, I was just paranoid.  I swam in and they escorted me back.  The boys, Dominic and Tony, were so cute but there was definitely a mischievous air to their grins.  I was happy to make two new friends.  
I showered at the house and helped Sr. Vero prepare dinner.  I made omelets for the three of us.  Sr. Vero has never had one, so it was exciting to share with her one of my favorite meals.  I went a little overboard since there were so many fresh vegetables to choose from, but it turned out to be a success.  
We prayed evening prayers together, and made intentions especially for my brother John on his birthday.  Then we headed to bed early.  Since there is no electricity, we do everything by the sun.  I’m glad that I can help set up the school’s library.  I am bursting with ideas of how I can set up the room.  Sr. Vero will take me to town tomorrow so I can by some necessary supplies to get things going.  

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