Updates n’ Things

25 07 2013

You might be surprised to hear that not a lot has happened since I last updated. It’s hard to believe that over half a year has come and gone since I was in the States on home leave. More friends of mine Stateside have gotten engaged, gotten married, and popped out little people, and I am here in the village seemingly the same ole Jen.


The world map is close to being finished. The perfectionist in me thinks it will never be quite finished. It needs some touching up on the countries, labeling of all countries, and a border/possibly some sea-life around the border. Lastly, I’ll put a clear protective coat over the entire thing, so maybe it’ll last a year or two longer.

I’ve been teachin’ away. Reading, phonics, english-speaking, book report projects, library upkeep, and site-word races. I feel like work in this area is very slow, but I do see that I am making a difference, however small. Occasionally I fit in an art lesson for year 1 and 2, which they love. I haven’t found a time to make regular art lessons for the community or older students yet. Maybe I’m being lazy, maybe I’m a little nervous because I haven’t given formal art lessons in such a long time. Whatever the case, I need to get my act together and get on gettin’ on makin’ Tanoliu a more colorful place. These kiddos are already so naturally artistic and talented. Like Mr. Picasso say’s, “Every Child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”


I’ve also been bonding with my family a lot. I followed my mama to one of their gardens and helped her weed around the tomato plants a bit. It’s almost tomato time and I will have them coming out the wazoo- I can’t wait. My family runs a kava bar which means I am never lacking in that department. Drinking of kava remains my regular nightly “program” and I am now lovingly known as “girl blo kava.” Before I was given my new kustom name by my father, the young guys (my brothers) joked about naming me LeiMalok- which basically means ‘girl kava.’ Fortunately they decided on Leisara, which means girl who flew here from a far away place. Fitting, seeing as I came here from both America and Maewo. At the kava bar I am known as being the gal who always has American chewing gum and a lighter on hand. What can I say? It’s nice to be needed for something.102_2754

Holiday time is in full swing right now. There was the opening of “Ulei Day” in which I helped some students paint a banner. This wasa three day celebration of the birthday of the Junior secondary school, where Britt works down the road.



Thanks to him and his flas (fancy) set up, I have a place to charge my laptop and phone and occasionally use him for his shower when my water is out.

102_2737Children’s Day, which is a National holiday here, was on the 24th and there was no school. Vanuatu Independence day (the 33rd year) is on the 30th of July. Basically there is a school spel, or vacation, between Children’s Day and Independence Day. Everybody is busy constructing their booths/stalls where many different foods will be sold for 5 days. The opening of the stalls is on Friday, which calls for another school holiday. Ni-Vanuatu like their holidays, or any excuse to not hold school. I will take this time to go to town for a day and go to yoga, post some mail, and update this here blog.

30th of July is sure to be lots of fun. Kava, ‘strong drink’, crazy Ni-Van activity. Hopefully nobody will do anything too silly- like whacking each other with bush knives and what not. I plan to stick myself around some responsible family folks and observe quietly under a kava fog. Should be entertaining, if nothing else.

August 7-11 I’ll be returning to Maewo and Naviso with Nik and his American brother. I cannot wait! I am already training for the bigfalla hill and intend to take a billion and a half photos. I’m looking forward to consuming my body weight in taro, leaf blo taro, and hopefully lots of fishies and prawns. It’ll be exciting to see my youngest brother Trino, who was not yet walking when I left a year ago. Also seeing Nik and my adorable namesake, Jenikola. It will be much harder leaving for the second time, knowing I very well may never see these folks again.
After that I only have one week of school left for this trimester.

Then a good pal’s wedding. (Whom I designed her pop-up wedding invitations- photos to come)
Then all of my close of service reports and preparations for traveling in Asia starting on November 5.

Life is warm, life is good, life is sunny and busy, and full of thoughts of all of you.
More updates to come and photos I hope.




One response

28 07 2013

Always good to hear about your ongoing adventures, Ms. Jen. That world map is really coming along. It is hard (as a fellow perfectionist) to finally let a big project go as “done” at times, isn’t it? Such a struggle not to keep fixing and adding and…. That’s the beauty of a clear coat. It means you are done no matter what.

We all continue to be so proud of you! I’m betting you are a lot more important to the community than you give yourself credit for in this post, at least. Enjoy your holidays and visits and do take loads of photos. We want to see!

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