Friday, June 12, 2009

Greetings from the Land of Coconuts

News from Tonoas. And pictures! Kevin reports he is continuing to enjoy island life. He also reports that his Chuukese is improving. He is teaching more and understands most of what is being said around him.He said part of the difficulty with Chuukese is that their language is missing many key words found in our language. He said to try to go an entire day without using the words "need" and "have." Make sure you don't use any of their synonyms, either!

In my last letter to Kevin I had put little thumbnail pictures of things here at home. I put a picture of his little baby nephew, Kolby, doing one of his favorite activities, watching the clothes wash in the washing machine and pictures of his mustang, one of his favorite golf courses, our home and other such items. He mentioned that it was startling to see those things and it seemed surreal that those things do exist.

In one of Kevin's previous posts he mentioned eating turtle and that he would be eating it again as a church party was planned because an extraordinarily large turtle had been caught. He was able to attend the party. He missed seeing the turtle cooked, but learned more about how it is cooked. Kevin's little home has a solar panel and a hot plate to cook on, but most people on the island cook over a fire. That is how the turtle is cooked. The turtle is left in the shell and the fins are cut off. Then they put the shell in the fire. The shell acts as an oven and everything is cooked right in the shell. He said it sounds gross and a little sad (I'm sure he is thinking of his poor mother when he says that) but it is really delicious.

Kevin mentioned an interesting experience he had while going to visit someone he has been working with. The person lives on the other side of the mountain from where Kevin lives. He and his companion tried to find a shortcut to the house through the jungle. The jungle was very thick and there were no trails. They came across some really "neat Japanese stuff" from WW2. There were also holes the Japanese had dug out all over the mountain. The holes were used for bunkers. They also found a huge gun turret.

The good news Kevin had to share was that Darien, an investigator that Kevin has been working with since his arrival to Tonoas, was baptized. Kevin performed the baptism in the ocean. Kevin also did the confirmation. (in Chuukese) He said it was an awesome experience.

Kevin has been able to work and visit with many people on the island. He said he is welcomed everywhere and greeted warmly. He loves the Chuukese people and loves getting to know them and understand their culture.

There is a church activity planned for the men in hopes to establish a more unified group. They will be camping on one of the small islands on the edge of the reef. They will play volleyball and other games. They want Kevin to teach them to dance the American way. Kevin says Help! He really has no idea what he is doing! He tried to show him that he really can't dance and they loved what he did when he tried to convince them he really can't dance! They will catch fish for dinner by going on a boat and using poles and also by spear fishing.Kevin closes by saying that it has been another amazing week in Chuuk and thank you to those who contact him. Tong fofoch! (that means Love always)

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