First of all to clear-up some business. The pig's name is Collingwood, we failed to mention our vote is worth 1,000. So we voted for Collingwood and it just came ahead in a close race... She is doing well, a lot more civilised than our neighbour's pig who makes loud grunt noises whenever they are cooking food. We haven't quite got Collingwood sitting and shaking hands before eating though. She really does have a personallity though and continues to want to tip the water bowl over, weird... We told her to do some excersise while we are out as she is putting on weight. She is getting hairier too and has stunning long eyelashes. Our landlady's family was feeding her while we were in Fiji and renovated the pigpen while we were away to try and keep dogs out. However, our dog did get in and ate her food, but it is now difficult for us to get in because the edge is too high and the front has been attached properly.
Nicole's parents came to visit us for a week in late June. We took them to Teirio, a small islet off Abaiang, an outer island of Kiribati. It was beautiful. It is a 1.5hours motorboat ride away. Once there, it was a weekend of eating, swimming, snorkelling, reading, eating some more and snorkelling some more. The water was clear, the fish were pretty (as well as tasty) and the sunsets were amazing...
After their visit we flew to Fiji with them and spent 9 days there. We stayed in Denarau for 7 nights with Mum/Kaye, Dad/Adrian, Debbie, Tristan and Jasper. Then we headed to Suva for 1 night and then Nadi for 1 night on our way back through to Tarawa. It was great. It was nice to have a bit of luxury for a while. We enjoyed having nice food, shopping, drinkable water, warm showers and a pool. It was also wonderful to see family again. We both had a bit of post holiday blues after returning from Fiji. Still, we're glad to have returned to Kiribati, rather than Sydney where we hear it has been about 10 degrees. Now that we’re back into routine it’s as though we never left.
We returned to Kiribati during Independence Week, which is a week of public holidays. Plenty of competitions, we just saw boxing because we were lazing about at home except for the Friday night. In one fight between an imatung and a local Kiribati person, you could really see a contrast. The Kiribati person wasn't wearing any shoes compared to the imatung in full suit. Completely different to any competition in Australia as the audience was completely silent the whole time!
It has been raining a lot here lately. My (Nicky's)work transport involves sitting in the tray of a truck, so I have been getting pretty wet going to and from work. That's not an experience I can have legally in Aus. When it rains, it pours. Huge puddles form everywhere. I'm glad we live in a Western style house instead of the bwias (hut things with no walls) that locals sleep in, except the downside I'm sure our house is obviously hotter in comparison. They must get so wet on days like today.
Mum and Dad commented on our water situation while they were here. The water in our tank is not really drinkable, we have filled it with PUB (public utiliteis board) which is fresh water but gives funny tummy. We just use it for showers, washing etc. We get our drinking water by buying from shops or friends rainwater tanks and then boil it and put it in bottles. To do so, we rely on someone with a car to transport the big bottles there and back for us to collect the water. It is not an ideal situation, but it is reality. Apart from the fact that being sick isn't pleasant, the medical system here is pretty lacking. We were told there was only 1 doctor on duty in the hospital during Independence week, the busiest week of the year on Tarawa. I guess the doctors all want to take leave to be with their families, but it isn't great for the patients.
Nicky had an adventurous weekend in North Tarawa last weekend. On Saturday she walked with some friends from Buota, the beginning of South Tarawa (on the bend in the boomerang shaped atoll), to Aboukaro, which is 4-5 hours away. She stayed the night there in a basic council guest house and set out on Sunday on bikes (some motor and some not) to Naa, the furthest point on North Tarawa. It was about 2 hours each way. The chain snapped on one of the borrowed push bikes, so it was substituted with someone else's in a village along the way. Luckily people in North Tarawa tend to know eachother, so the lady we swapped with was going to arrange to return the bike once her husband had fixed the chain. What lovely people they are helping us strangers. Thankfully we caught a boat back to Buota, so we didn't need to walk all that way back again.
Pete has had the flu but finally turning the corner, he also has a toothache which has started today after some previous discomfort. Assume it is the temporary cap that was placed on the root canal. Fingers crossed it holds and he can wait until treatment in Sydney.