Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 11 on Gaua March 10-March 16, 2014

Dia famale blo mi we i taff tumas,

So in the last letter I talked about a hurricane or tropical storm that might hit.  I said that the wind wasn't very strong and there wasn't much rain but that was just the start of the storm. 

On Monday the wind was a little stronger but we didn't worry much about it.  We went to the ocean and went fishing.  We used fishing line that was wrapped around water bottles.  We put snails and small hermit crabs on a hook as bait.  I didn't catch any but Elda Leva and Ransika did.  They were very small fish but it was fun.  While we were fishing a couple of boys that live close told us that a hurricane is coming our way!  And many people are going to take shelter at the school because the school buildings are supposed to be stronger.  The wind slowly started to get stronger and we knew that the hurricane was really going to come.  We helped our neighbor Brushly put rocks on top of his sheet metal roof so it will stay down when the strong winds come.  Then Brushly brought us some sheet metal to cover some of our windows (our house doesn't have glass windows) so it was important that we covered them.  We covered all the windows where we slept and one window where our table for studying is.

Then that night the winds got stronger and we went to sleep.  Surprisingly I slept well but I woke up a few times because of the wind, but the house held up well.  Tuesday morning the wind was still strong but there wasn't any rain.  We bot bored so we went fishing.  The water wasn't very rough because a reef blocks all the big waves from coming in.  Then after noon, the storm passed.  We decided to go to the store and buy more fish hooks.  And we wanted to see how our unit was.  While we were walking you could see more damage from the hurricane than where our house was.  Banana trees were blown over and manyoke was blown over.  The ground was covered in leaves and everything that fell from the trees.  A few coconut trees had fallen down as well.  But all the houses were standing and our church house was alright.  The roof was damaged a little bit but that was it!

You are probably thinking "This is exactly like The Other Side of Heaven," but it isn't.  Not everything was destroyed here.  The only things that the hurricane affected were the fruit from the trees and manyoke.  Most of the manyoke was blown over so everybody had to harvest it.  Or it will die and most of fruits on the trees were blown off.  The hurricane affected the island a little bit but everybody still has food and there are many other crops that were alright.  But most of the damage was away from our house.  We think it's because, first the Lord, second there are many coconut trees that blocked some of the wind, and third, there is a hill to the west that blocked the wind too.  And the phone tower here was damaged so we didn't have reception.

On Wednesday we wanted to go help clean up the unit and neighbors around it but Elder Leva was sick and didn't feel well.  So me and Raskiva just helped our neighbor Brushly and another neighbor named Phillip.

Thursday Elder Leva felt better and we decided to go and help anybody that needed help.  Sadly enough nobody needed help most of the people had already cleaned everything and even school was continuing.  Then we went to our unit and picked up fruits to take to our house.  We got avacados, which are amazing here.  I think I will have to make some guacamole sometime.  We also picked up some grapefruits here.  They call grapefruits "pomplemus" here, it's a little different than American grapefruits, but they are still good.  Then the network came back so we were able to make calls again.  We called the zone leaders and AP's and they didn't really even ask about the hurricane.  I don't think they knew what happened here.  Everyone was unaware of us.  But it's alright because everything is fine here.  And no one died on the island, everyone was safe.  Yay!

Oh and did I tell you I ate flying fox (bat) the other night?  Our neighbor Phillip shot one with his 22 and then he gave the bat to us because he didn't want it.  Elder Raskiva roasted it and then boiled it with some manyoke.  I tried it but the taste of it was strong and I can't quite explain it.  I didn't like it that much.

Friday (Chance's Birthday) we waited for a ship to come that had a propane tank for our stove.  There is no place in Gaua to refill propane tanks, there are also no fuel pumps stations for the trucks here.  They get their gasoline from fifty gallon metal barrels that the ships send.  We have three propane tanks.  When one runs out we put it on a ship that goes to Santo and tell the zone leaders what ship the tank is on and the zone leaders take it to get filled and send it back to us on the ship.  Anyways, the ship came not too far from our house, but there is no port or anything for the ship to come close to shore.  And there is a reef so the ship can't come very close.  They have little motor boats that they use to take you to the ship and load all of the food and items.  Elder Leva told me to get the tank so the motor boat picked me up (and many other people) and took me to the ship.  Elder Leva and Elder Raskiva just stayed on shore.  I got to the boat and I talked to a man and told him that we have a "bottle gas," that's what they call it here.  Then they put it on the motor boat with many other boxes of food and supplies for stores and such.  Then they brought me back to shore.  Honestly I think that was the first time I've been on a ship in the ocean.

Then we went back to the house and there were many people around.  A neighbor was making a custom feast because someone in her family died last month.  They killed a Bulluk or what we call a cow and they killed a pig.  They gave us some meat.  I cut off some slabs of meat and made some steak. I rubbed it with oil, some curry powder and put some salt and pepper on it.  It was very good but it would have been better if I had grillmates.

Saturday we baptized another investigator!  I baptized him because Elder Leva couldn't because he had a bad sore on his ankle.  And his foot started to swell.  After the baptism we went back to our house and stayed there because Elder Leva couldn't walk anymore.  If he continues his foot would keep swelling so we didn't teach anyone that day.

Sunday we didn't go to church because Leva couldn't walk around.  He could walk short distances but just couldn't put pressure on his foot.  Then we ate bat again and this time it was pretty good.  So it was a week without teaching.  We didn't feel like missionaries, but we couldn't teach because of the hurricane and Elda Leva's sore foot.  But it's alright, those things happen. 

Know that all is well.  I had my fifth baptism in Gaua and we are all safe.  Life is still good and I hope life is good in Cedar City.  I love you all so much!

Love, Elder Smith Beynon

P.S. Happy 14th Birthday Chance!  I can't believe you are already a teacher!  I hope your birthday was awesome!!!  I love you bro!

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