My friend Cindy is a POM and she left last week to visit her daughter in some far off place. I'm happy for her and have been praying for her, but there is a part of me that is sooo jealous. I've been blessed to have traveled to Vanuatu three times. I have so many memories, good ones,bad ones,scary,happy,sad ones,fun ones, all unforgettable.
Cindy told about packing and unpacking her bags getting ready to travel. I remember that exercise, and when one is allowed only 2-50lb bags one must be discerning. She packed everything around a crock pot. I remember the time I packed a bathroom sink in my bag. We were flying between islands with a strict weight allowance. I couldn't sleep for three days worrying about getting weighed with my bathroom sink. I wasn't sure who would get left behind me or that much needed sink if we went over weight. Luckily we both made it onto that tiny propeller plane.
I remember the first time I traveled on the road into the village. I call the road "the nightmare". We literally ALWAYS get stuck somewhere on that road. The first time it was mud, over the tires. It took hours to dig out with only two bush knives and prayer, I realized rather quickly that I wasn't in the USA anymore, no tow trucks here.
And then there was the time we literally were high centered on top of a tree that was blocking the middle of the road.
I remember asking Sierra, "What will we do if it gets dark before we get unstuck."
"Don't worry grandma, someone will let us stay in their grass hut for the night."
I remember not being comforted.
I remember the rain that settled in and poured for days. Our clothes hung on lines and never did dry until the sun came out a week later.
I remember baking, reading, and playing games with my grand children.We had a great time in spite of the rain and cold that week.
I remember finding the six inch centipede that sat under my chair the entire afternoon I made skirts for my grand daughter. Spiders as big as my fist, and the giant cockroach that kept me company in the toilet at night.
I remember being slightly dizzy when the earth shook and I felt my first earthquake.
I remember the boom boom boom of the active volcano sending rocks hurling into the sky as we traveled across the ash plane to the road leading up to the top.
I remember the wide smiles of the people.
The stares of the those in the village who would sit for hours and just watch me.
And the little children who would play games in the yard with my grand children.
I remember the chickens that were given to me as gifts. One village papa tied the chicken securely so I could take it on the airplane with me.
Little did he know that would never ever happen.
I remember the smell of flowers,saltwater,dirt,mildew,sweat,burning fires,and cooking food.
I remember the delight of my grandchildren and their friends when they found big white caterpillars in the logs, roasted and ate them. I remember distinctly saying, "no way!!!"
I remember Mamma Ellen making me a purse out of tree branches. She spent hours on a bench weaving it together for me.
I remember the hours Erik spent translating the Word Of God into the Nafe tongue, and watching the translators from the village working with him. I remember praying that God would change their lives as they studied truth.
I remember watching Erik preach to the many on the hillside. I was so proud of him and thankful for the people that had gathered to hear him.
I remember making Lap Lap (the traditional food of Vanuatu)with Mama Tetrosi in her hut. We grated manioc with tree branches, and cooked the finished product in a hole in the ground.
I remember teaching the women of the village to knit. How quickly they learned, and how thankful they were.
I remember trying on colorful grass skirts with Sierra.
I remember walking with Michele from family to family in the village as she introduced me. How happy they seemed to see her, and the easy repore she had with them. I remembered I was thankful to be a part of it that morning.
I remember the excitement of my grand children when they saw me and grandpa get off the plane, and how hard it was to say goodbye.
So many memories.
To many to write them all down, but I've been blessed tonight thinking about them.