Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 25, 2014, Sometimes I Forget I'm White


It's Monday and I transfer to Ajeltake on Wednesday after a zone conference in Long Island.  So that meansmtomorrow is really my last day in Jenrok.  I don't really want to leave Jenrok.  I always have mixed feelings about transfers.  I am excited to work in Ajeltake though.  And the good thing is that I'll have a car so on P days we'll be able to jambo (I don't know the english equivalent of this word...) wherever we want to on the island.  

The week started out rough because Sister Boutu messed up her foot on P day from kicking a rugby ball.  She could barely walk Monday night and we didn't work Tuesday.  The nurse said that she might be in pain for a couple of weeks, but luckily it turned out to only hurt a couple of days.  

Marshallese culture of the day:  If you have the hiccups you tear a small piece of paper, lick it, and stick it to your forehead.  I taught a couple of women my trick to get rid of hiccups and they were quite impressed.  I don't think the paper on the forehead thing works.

Sometimes I forget I'm white.  The white people on this island are so annoying and embarrassing sometimes.  I forget that I stick out a lot because I don't feel like I stick out anymore now that I know their language and culture....but then sometimes I see white people and I realize how ridiculous they look  and sound when they try to speak marshallese and then I think maybe the marshallese people see me that way at first.  But I think that goes away once we talk.

Driving on Friday with the Johnsons was great.  We drove to the airport and then I drove from there out to ajeltake and Laura.  They made me go down a bumpy dirt road in Ajeltake and then back up to the main road. I'm not very good at backing up, but I can do it if I need too.  Driving was fun.  I think I just needed some confidence.  I drove from Laura back to town, which was good that I got practice driving in town.  So on Wednesday I get a nice, new, fancy car.  The mission just got all new cars, so I'll be driving a really nice car.  I'll have to find out what type it is.

This evening we have a FHE at the mission home for all the sisters.  I think they're trying to build sister unity or something like that, so we're doing a talent show.  Everyone's going to sing or dance so boutu and I are planning on doing something different.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll let you know how it goes next week.  

The woman in the black (that's kind of white) in the picture with the RS sisters is Cindy.  She and her boyfriend both came to church yesterday.  We actually are going to go see her today because she works all the time.  
Love you all.  Tootles, 

Sister Ellen Butler

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 18, 2014, Sister Boutu Requested Pizza, Rice, Sashimi, and Cake


I'm starting my email really late today.  I don't know if I have a whole lot to say from this week.

Yesterday was Sister Boutu's birthday but we decided to celebrate on Saturday.  We got permission to have a few of the other sisters over for lunch.  Sister Boutu requested that we eat pizza, rice, sashimi, and cake, so that's what we ate.  It was good and nice but since all the kiribati sisters were over they spoke in kiribati the whole time and Sister Moea'i and I don't understand them.  

I now know enough Marshallese that most of the words I'm learning now are kind of silly words like: "to remove scales from fish," "sleeptalking," "afraid of ghosts" and "puddles."  

The work is going really well in Jenrok.  We had ten investigators come to church yesterday, which is crazy.  It feels like Ebeye sometimes.  I'm excited to go to Ajeltake though.  The work is good here but I still don't like it as much as Ajeltake.  It just has a different feel to it. I guess it's because I don't like the ward as much, and that makes a big difference.  

We have a plan to drive out to Laura with one of the senior couples this Friday so I can practice driving.  I'm glad I get to practice before I go to Ajeltake...I don't really want to just practice when I get there.  I need to get a license but supposedly I only have to take a written test for it.

We have a FHE planned tonight with the kiribati family, and we're inviting a couple investigators to it.  We're going to make pizza for it.  I think I've made too many pizzas in the last week.  But it's okay because everyone feeds us fish and they occasionally request that we make a pizza or cookies...things that you need an oven for. Everyone is jealous we have an oven.

Sorry my email is short this week.  Love you all.  Tootles, 

Sister Ellen Butler

August 11, 2014, I Have to Learn How to Drive


I had a pretty good week.  Sister Boutu gets sick a lot and so the week was kind of slow.  It also seemed like all of our appointments fell through, but that happens.  I realized I've had over a year of perpetual summer now.  I'm so tired of the heat.  The weirdest part is that one can't tell the passage of time very easily.  It's just always summer. 

Our investigator that's Seventh-day Adventist is still a struggle.  He keeps asking the same questions about eating pig and fish with no scales and going to church on Saturdays and it's just exhausting at this point.  We've answered his questions and now are trying to focus on other things, knowing that he's going to get over these things. But he still keeps bringing them up as if we're going to have a new answer one day.  I wish I could just give him over to the elders!  But we don't have any elders in our ward. 

Transfers are happening at the end of the month and supposedly I'm going back to Ajeltake.  Meaning, I have to learn how to drive.  I think I should be able to do it because there's just one road and the cars are automatic (not that I know how to do that).  Supposedly it's really easy to get a driver's license here.  I need to find someone to teach me.  I'm excited to go back to Ajeltake, but not to drive.  Hopefully it'll be my last area.  I think I'd be okay with "dying" in Ajeltake.  I've missed the west side of the island.  It's so beautiful and I'd get good food too.

All the pandanas fruit is starting to get ripe!  Mmm.  I'm going to see if I can bring some back in my suitcase. Would the TSA people confiscate fruit coming from another country?  We've eaten (except there's a verb just for eating bub) a lot of it this week.  All of it came from the other side of the atoll though.  This side looks a little more like ebeye. That's a good thing about going back to Ajeltake...I'll have lots of bananas and bub and papaya. 

I had some really good fish this week.  It's called rainbow runner.  It's really good raw and fried.  My least favorite fish is canned mackerel.  It's cheap though!  I've heard that you don't want to eat red snapper can get really sick from it.  

I keep thinking of stories from Lae that I haven't shared yet.  The whole way there, the men sat at the back of the boat and fished for big fish.  If you're trying to catch a tuna you need a really big fish hook.  They let out long fishing cords/lines behind the boat.  They didn't catch anything on the way to Lae, but on the way back from Lae one of the the men caught a big yellowfin tuna.  When they noticed they had caught it they let the driver know so he slowed down the boat and then they pulled it in.  Then they had to finish killing the poor beast, and let's just say it's not very fun to sit on a boat with a big tuna flapping around.  A few minutes later, another guy caught a big mahi mahi.  holy cow, those are pretty fish.  They're really green and have funny shaped heads.  they cut it up and started eating the sashimi.  I really wanted to try some but I was feeling sea sick at that point, and raw fish didn't sound that good. 

Also, flying fish are real and can really fly a long way.  We saw a lot of them when we got close to Lae.  We also saw a dolphin and some other big fish jump out of the water when we were close to entering the lagoon.  It's really good luck to see means they're welcoming the boat into the lagoon.  We were also supposed to throw some food into the water so we'd be protected from the demons, but I don't know if we did. 

Ierutia gave me a tibuta this week, which is a kiribati shirt.  It's so comfortable.  It's really loose so you can eat and eat and it won't show.

Okay, I hope you're all having a good week.  Tootles, 

August 4, 2014, For Skewers We Use the Ribs of Coconut Leaves


Holy P cow.  It's already August.  I think I'm leaving the islands on December 17th.  That's the plan as of right now.  I gain a day coming back so I'll either arrive on the 17th or the 18th.  Not sure.  It depends how long I'm stuck in Hawaii and a million other places along the way.  

Sister Boutu and I had a really great week.  We found more people to study with and most of them are progressing.  Most of them are women who's husbands/boyfriends are less active (either because they haven't gotten married yet or they smoke and drink and chew betelnut-- disgusting stuff).  The women are all really interested and are helping to bring their boyfriends back to the church.  We had a lot of people come to church yesterday, which was really great.  Granted, most of them left after Sacrament Meeting but it's hard to get most of the members to stay for more than that too. 

In the evening we had a Relief Society devotional/fireside.  It was good but way too long.  We had been at the church all day (because we have church at 1 and then we had to prep for the fireside), and so we were starving by evening.  Luckily Lerutia brought us a big bowl of chicken and rice, along with the donuts and soup as refreshments.  They always make donuts and soup or donuts and gravy for refreshments.  The soup is mostly rice, fish, a few carrots and celery, and coconut milk.  it's pretty good, except that there are always a lot of fish bones in it.  When I was in Lae someone made a really yummy corned beef gravy to eat with donuts.  Mmm, so good.  And so full of grease.  

I got the package last Monday.  Thanks!  The chocolate survived, and so did the stuff for making S'mores. Thank you so much.  We made the S'mores at the Kiribati family's house on Thursday night.  We waited until the tide went out and then we made a little fire on the beach using coconut husks and shells.  For skewers we used the ribs of individual coconut leaves.  The smores were yummy.  

I think I told you about the man we're studying with that goes to SDA.  This week we started studying with his wife.  We'll see how things go with them. 
What else...there are so many drunks in Jenrok.  A lot of them supposedly make a drink with water, sugar, and yeast and drink that to get drunk because it's cheaper than alcohol.  All of them want to study with us, or talk to Sister Boutu because she's hot stuff.  All of them call her "likatu in kiribati" meaning "pretty girl of kiribati." There are also a lot of Kiribati in Uliga and Jenrok.  Boutu finds new cousins and aunts all the time that she never even knew existed.  Everyone knows everyone in Micronesia.  

Have you guys seen the "my family" book that the church recently made?  It's to help people fill out a 4 generation pedigree chart.  Family history is near impossible here because there are no records.  But most everyone lives with extended families, so at least 3 generations live together.  We're trying to do FHEs with members and to help them fill out the book.  They should at least be able to get to their grandparents names, and if they live with their parents or grandparents they should be able to go back farther too.  When you meet a Marshallese person you always ask them what islands they're from.  Usually they list off 4 outer islands where each of their grandparents are from.  It's really important to them which island their from.  And there are jokes about each one.  If you're from Jaluit, you talk way too much...etc


Sister Ellen Butler