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Showing posts from July, 2016

Seaside Service

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Somehow it is Sunday again. When we arrived over a week ago we figured we’d stay a few days, but here we are again, joining the community in worship at the local Presbyterian church. The clanging of the bell on shore tells us it is almost time for the service to start, so we eat a quick snack and then get into the dinghy. We’ve learned that these services can be a couple of hours long, and inevitably our rumbling stomachs interrupt the sermon.

Mariellen and I are dressed modestly in long skirts and sleeved shirts in accordance with their culture (well, I wouldn’t consider myself an immodest dresser in general, but here there are strict societal standards regarding clothing). Women are expected to cover shoulders and knees, with conservative necklines. Many of the women wear long, roomy dresses with puffed sleeves and ruffled fabric in layers for decoration. And the men wear pants, collared shirts - some even have ties on. I can’t help but think I look like the missionaries who used t…

The White Man

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“The white man, he drinks water from a plastic bottle! Humph! We get our fresh water from the mountain rivers.” I was sitting in on a health and hygiene seminar that was presented to the women as one of many electives during the week-long Presbyterian Women’s Conference at the village church. After he spoke the words, he caught himself, chuckled, and explained in English what he was trying to convey to the women - that they were fortunate to live here with such fresh water to drink. I understood his point, and thoroughly agreed. Didn’t every plastic water bottle sold in the US boast of “fresh spring water” or “pure mountain water”? Not to mention the squared bottles of South Pacific’s own packaged “Fiji” water that lined every BP station’s refrigerated shelves! But it was “the white man” that piqued my interest and would continue to rattle around in my thoughts throughout our time here.

“They just came to our islands and stuck a flag in the ground, claiming it suddenly belonged to Fr…