Greetings from Ebeye!
It's been a good week. Ebeye is a crazy place. I don't even know where to begin. There are so many houses everywhere. The houses are built up right next to each other and where there aren't houses they are small dirt paths/ alleyways that go between the houses. I feel like I'm in a maze a lot of the time, winding around houses. People have little yards where they do their laundry and clean fish and such, so at most places we go through a door into their "yard" and then knock on a second door. In the alleyways people have little clotheslines strung up, so you always have to duck and make sure not to step on any cats or rats. In a way, it feels a little bit like Japan because of how close the houses are together, but of course it's a lot dirtier and not as nice. and it feels less like an island because you don't always see the ocean or lagoon and there's more than just one road down the middle. There's a main lagoon side road and ocean side road that stretch the length of the island, and then a number of crossroads (maybe six). These one are all paved. There are plenty of dirt and rock paths and roads though. The dogs are all pretty friendly here, which is nice. Sister Mahit is pretty scared of them though.
The north part of the island is called "dump" or "dump town" because that's where the dump is. Dump is branch 2. I asked a girl on Saturday: "Kwoj kiki ia?" (where do you sleep/live?) and her response: "Dump." Branch 3 is iolaplap, or the middle part of the island, and then branch 1 is turok, or the south part of the island. The three branches and one on kwaj all make up the Kwajalein district. There are two elders per branch on Ebeye (no elders on Kwajalein) and then we sisters have the whole island. So, our area is the whole island while each set of elders only has 1/3 of the island to work. Lazy elders. Haha. Which also means we get to go to three sacrament meetings on Sunday...yep.
I'm surprised by how windy Ebeye is. Majuro could get pretty windy at times, but not like here. The ocean side of the island is especially windy. I now wear shorts under my skirts everyday. And I don't think I'm going to be wearing my chacos much. Probably only crocs. It's way too dirty and my toes are better protected in crocs (which is sad because I was starting to get a pretty nice chacos tan, Annie).
When I got to Ebeye on Tuesday we only had water fromand everyday. Luckily our toilets run on salt water, so those always work (hallelujah. that's all I really care about). We always just make sure to fill up a few gallons for drinking water and cooking and then we have a plastic basin for washing dishes. But then it rained for the first time in over a month! I think it rained Friday or Saturday night. It seemed to rain pretty heavily, but idk how much we really have. Some days we seem to have water on all day, and some days it's only mornings and evenings. I'm not sure what the schedule is now. We still need more rain.
A kid asked me this week if I have any brothers in the NBA. Sadly I had to tell him no. Mike and Travis, you two need to get working.
Payless, the grocery store across the street that I prefer to call "paymore," is a bit sad. Everything is more expensive than in Majuro. I think I'm going to need to box of some things, mom and dad. I'll email you separately. A quart of ultra pasteurized milk in Majuro was $2 on sale (and milk was always on sale for some reason). Here it's about $3.50. A dozen eggs is $4. I found some white bread that has some flecks in it that might be wheat, which is promising. I can buy a tuna about the size of my arm for $2.50, but I can only eat so much tuna. The funny thing about the grocery store is all the weird stuff you can find there. I got a bag of "Food Should Taste Good" chips (those tasty hexagon ones) for $1.50 but they were cheddar flavored and expired in May 2013 and tasted really stale (mahit likes them though). I also found cottage cheese that's a year old, but surprisingly not too bad. I'm actually a little afraid why it's not that bad. And I got a brownie mix for $2. I've decided you just have to find the things that are on sale, and then check how many years old they are, and then decide what really can go bad in a year's time.
I have enjoyed eating all of Sister Whitney's food that she left. I've been enjoying dried fruit, oatmeal, nuts, some weird protein powder with flax seed and other things that are supposed to make you healthy that you mix into water, flax seeds, chia seeds (what do you do with them?), freeze dried strawberries and sweet potatoes, mash potato powder stuff, and other things like that.
I've been trying to get to know our investigators and a lot of the members. It's hard because there are so many people. And I need to learn the names of those in all 3 branch presidencies and the district presidency.
Mom, you had asked at one point what the name for the Marshall Islands was before Marshall and his buddy Gilbert came (where 'Kiribati" comes from). I just found it in a book (we're emailing at the Becker's apartment today). Supposedly name of the islands was "Lolelaplap" before. I also read in the book that the total land area of the islands is 70 square miles, which is less than half the land area of Rhode Island.
Sister Mahit leaves on the 31st for Majuro, and then on the 3rd for Vanuatu. She's really nice. Vanuatuans are great. We had a FHE with the Livai family last night. They live in Branch 1 (south part....still trying to remember where everything is). He went to school in California and you can tell they're a little more westernized. They even have a couch and a couple of sitting chairs. It was so weird to sit in a real chair for FHE. A lot of people have TVs because they get free TV from Kwaj. After FHE we watched the grammys (which is the one where the actors get awards? I never remember which is which, and I've never watched any of them before) while we ate a dinner of rice, chicken, and doritos.
There are four kids from Ebeye that are leaving on missions in the next two weeks. One is going to Vanuatu, so sis. Mahit has been teaching her Bislama (which is like pidgin English....yutufala go wea? which is "where are you all going?") and one is going to temple square, one to somewhere in Utah, and one to California.
Okay, I hope this isn't too much information about Ebeye. As Leans said, the current pronunciation is a long E sound and then "bye," but I don't know how they pronounced it before. Is "ebize" how the Japanese pronounced it? The beckers have a map of Kwajalein on the wall and by the island of ebeye is says "Ebja (Ebeye)." "J"s sound like ch or zh and between consonants they throw in another vowel, so I can see the Marshallese pronouncing it like "ebiza." Interesting.
And yes Kate, my fear of the ocean is getting better. I will watch out for all of the big fish.
I love and miss you all. Tootles,
Sister Ellen Butler