Nuguria Island

The landscaping and cleanliness of this village were immaculate! Absolutely one of the more beautiful villages we’ve ever walked through. The array of plants that they have growing here is abundant and diverse. Walking along the sandy paths, I wonder how on earth they can get so many varieties to grow here!

Everyone greets us kindly as we are led through the small village by some of the community officials. They are proud of their village, and I appreciate how much community effort must go into keeping it looking so pristine.

As usual, I ask if we can please see the school and perhaps meet some of the teachers there. The school grounds are fantastic. A vast, flat playing field sits right in between the teacher’s housing and the classrooms. On the far end, palm trees line the beach in a single row, lined up like students ready for school to begin. We meet the head teacher and right away, he is eager to collaborate on some lessons. So, we set a time to meet the very next day with all the teachers in order to discuss how I can join them in their educational endeavors. Imagine my surprise when one of the teachers asks me if I could model a ‘whole language’ style lesson for them!! I’ll have to really delve into my teaching strategies memory bank for that one!

Jungle gym on the beach
Meanwhile, Michael and his new friends have found the perfect jungle gym on the beach. A tangle of tree branches and roots has been made into a climbing wonderland with the simple addition of some wooden steps and heavy duty netting. Any time we return to shore, this is sure to be the spot we’ll find the kids.

Dancing by school kids
During our final days here, the school organizes an assembly for us. A tarp is set up to protect us (and the massive speakers and sound equipment) from the afternoon rains. All the students are decked out in greenery and flowers. The older girls present each of us with a lei of ornate greenery that smells herbal and fresh. As is the case with many of these assemblies, various people give speeches of thanks and welcome, and I am asked to stand and make a speech, too! Then, each class takes its turns performing cultural dances and songs in traditional costumes, using a stick to beat percussion on an empty water jug as accompaniment. Afterwards, the mothers of the students carry in pots and bowls filled with local foods that they had prepared for our lunch - fish, rice, banana fritters, fresh papaya, and more. It is quite the spread! Even after our teacher meeting the other day, we were served a full meal! The endless hospitality and kindness we have encountered in these remote societies astounds and humbles me. Never do we leave a village with empty bellies!

Giggling boys doing a traditional dance
Food for the assembly

The time I spent here was mostly school-related. It wasn’t until the last day that I finally had a chance to talk with some of the ladies of the village. While sitting around underneath her stilted home, I noticed that one of the girls was suffering from a skin fungus, and I was glad I hadn’t totally emptied out my backpack from our last village visit. A single tube of antifungal cream was still tucked deep inside. I quietly handed it to the young lady, and she thanked me with a shy grin. In turn, her mother noticed my excitement at seeing a fresh basil plant growing in a pot nearby, and she proceeded to cut a clump of the beautiful herb for me. I inhaled the poignant fragrance, imagining the luxury of adding it to the pasta dish we’d have for dinner. What a treat!

The kind people of Nuguria show care in everything they do. The village is beautifully maintained, the schoolteachers strive for excellence, and the community radiates a genuine care for their fellow man. What an ideal example of what community living can be.


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