*Cough cough...* Unfortunately we are both sick at the moment, sore throats and coughs. Nicky had it first, and Peter had it start a few days ago. Its strange to call it a “cold”, being in the tropics, but the symptoms appear to indicate that. This is the first real illness we’ve had since arriving other than a funny tummy. No Tolar’s Pharmacy down the road here, so we are rationing Cold + Flu tablets… which Peter only just found out we have!!!
We are also a little down as we have seen some examples of people rejected in the community and we’re not sure how to respond. Being a communal society here, most people are looked after by their extended family. However, there are some who would seem are rejected by their family for some reason and they live on the streets, generally have an alcohol addiction and ask for money- especially from imatangs (white people).
Since the last update, we have had the Easter long weekend and ANZAC Day.
Easter involved going to a church in Betio and seeing some cultural events including a choir competition (shown above), a guitar/ukulele competition (which had singing as well) and a dancing competition (also with singing). They love to sing. The 4 different villages/churches of Betio wore different coloured lava lavas (skirts/sarongs). We live in Takaronga- they were wearing purple. The ones with black lava lavas were from the theological college Nicky teaches at. They're not based in Betio, but were invited to participate. As guests, we had to get up to dance in front of everyone and say a speech at the end, which was quite daunting. *Cough cough*
We were also up and at the dawn service at the war memorial at 6am on Monday for ANZAC day followed by a gunfire breakfast at the Australian High Commissioners house. They had bacon, eggs, ANZAC biscuits, sausages (chicken we think), coffee and juice. It was great and plenty to go around!
An AYAD volunteer (similar program to the one Peter is here with), who was here for a year left on Thursday. Another two leave next week and a “newbie” has just arrived. By the time we go, most of the volunteers we have befriended will be gone and there will be a new lot. I guess that is one of the benefits of makings friends with the locals rather than just hanging around other volunteers.
We met a lady the other day who is here for 3 months from the UK. She is a psychiatrist here to train doctors and nurses in psychiatry- not sure how far she'll get in 3 months, but its a start. Apparently there are no psychiatrists in the country. The lack of understanding of mental health may have something to do with the homeless issues mentioned above.
It was Nicky’s birthday on Wednesday. We played soccer on the tennis court at the Australian High Commission as we do each Wednesday. Nicky had a quick swim and got out of the pool to find a cake with candles lit for her birthday. Everyone sang happy birthday and shared cake. It was a lovely surprise that Pete had organised. We went out for dinner afterwards to the hotel down the road with some friends. Her present was some frilly pillow cases with a floral design and the words 'Good night honey, see you in the morning'.
Until next time… ti a bo.
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