The Home Stretch


2009-07-12

It’s amazing what Enchiladas, TD Jakes, and Reckless Kelly can do for
my spirits. I have to say training is making everyone a little
crazy. It’s kinda like boot camp for everything but the muscles.
Your brain, attitude, health, and sanity are all put to the test.
Everyone is reaching their wits end and hoping for a little saving
grace to make it through the next 12 days.

We had “Iron Chef” yesterday which is basically an American free for
all food fest. Well, I say American. All the volunteers got
together and made Mexican, Mediterranean, and Italian food. The Peace
Corps gave us an awesome cookbook with a ton of great recipes. Each
team had the responsibility to make four of five dishes from the
book. Jules and me made Mexican Burgers from beans, garlic, onions,
not nearly enough chili powder, cumin, and a few secret ingredients.
The burgers where judged one of two top dishes from the Mexican side.
Yee haww.

After everyone finished cooking we all gorged ourselves on the several
varieties soaking in the savory treats. It was nice. After the fest
we had part two of our gunu sede raising funds for the co-op store. I
crashed at 8:00 and slept for 11 hours.

Today we brought out the Bishop, that is Bishop TD Jakes from a
vodcast Kelly downloaded right before we left. I forgot how much I
missed, and was missing, church in English. It was like dry sponge in
a bathtub. His message was on suffering and got us jumping and
hollerin’. Perhaps the best part was his observation on the current
economic woes, “In a correction, everything that can be shaken will be
shaken so that those things that cannot be shaken will remain.” Good
stuff…. Our Ta (father in Fijian) loves the Bishop and we hope to
somehow get, legally of course, some DVDs for him.

We went to Fijian Methodist church and made faces at all the kids
staring at us from the pews in front. We where sitting by the side
door and a small three year old approached the door from outside. As
soon as he saw us he yelled, “Kavalagi, Kavalangi!!” and ran away. It
was hilarious. Kavalangi means any white person to the Fijians and
the kids find us fascinating. Most kids in the village have never
seen a white person other than on TV or in the city. He came back and
we got him to smile. They’re not really scared of us, just excited.
Its great fun.

Now we are soaking in the do-nothing Sunday’s of Fiji. I love
Sunday’s in Fiji. Some volunteers despise them but I think I would go
insane without one day of doing nothing. It’s a great time to write,
read, study, and listen to good Texas music or just sleep. I prefer
the later but right now I’m enjoying some non-Christian music for a
change. The villagers pretty much blast KLTY cheesy Christian tunes
from the houses everyday of the week. It gets somewhat eerie after a
while.

If you get a chance, download Reckless Kelly’s new album Bulletproof.
They’re all good except “American Blood,” which makes my blood curl
and proud to be an American at the same time. Free speech is a
precious gift of which the value I will never again take for granted…..

On the language front, we are trukin’ along with Tuvaluan. I finally
memorized a prayer for meals:

Fakamolemole Talo,

Fakafetai te atua mo meakai mo meainu ko oti ne tuku mai ne koe. Koe
ke alofa ke fakamanuia mai ne koe. A latou kola ne fakatoka mai ne
latou. Ite igoa O Iesu ko talo atu iei matou. Emene

Translated:

Please pray,

Thank you Lord for the food and drink you have given us. We ask you
to bless the food and those who prepared the food for us. In Jesus
name we pray. Amen

Here’s a great Tuvaluan gem:

Se se se se se se se.

Translated: A mistake is not a mistake if it’s not wrong. Whew,
we’ve got our work cut out for us. Thankfully my favorite Fijian
word, Bulamakau (cow), is a close match in Tuvaluan, Pulamakau.

Lofa (goodbye),

Mataio

One comment on “The Home Stretch

  1. Sesesesese! Ha !! I will remember that. but what about the mistakes that are not determined a mistake, but really are? hmmm.
    I love your posts.

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