Tuesday, August 28, 2012

July 24th Celebration - Pioneer Day

 The Tarawa East Stake had a Pioneer Day celebration around July 24 (the 21st this year), which started with a pioneer trek of 6 kilometers from one chapel to Moroni HS.
 We made it through the gates to Moroni HS with the first group.  The guy with his walking cane (Ture, prounced "Suray") has bad knees after playing soccer for BYU-Hawaii.   He is the dorm parent for the young men.
This is their  "tired look."
 President Iotua Tune and his wife, Mei, participated.  President Tune was one of the first members in Kiribati, back in 1973, after attending Liahona HS in Fiji. 
 Etuete (Edward) is our univeral handyman.  He can fix anything, and services our missionaries' flats with whatever we need.  He usually rides around on a Honda 90 trail bike with a little backpack of tools on his back.  He has a truck for big jobs, but it's amazing what he can do -- from electrical to plumbing and carpentry -- with just his little bag and a lot of smarts.
Young single adults:  the tall one and the girl next to him actually won't be single for long.  Very talented young man in directing music with even large choirs, since he was a youth.  He served a mission in the U.S.  They all have great personalities and love to laugh.

Judy walks by some of the crowd waiting for the "pioneer dancing" and games to start after the trek.

 This group of YSA were 3/4 of one of the squares for a square dance Judy taught.  We filled in to complete the square.  Most of these are returned missionaries.
The girl with the flower in her hair is Mirian Tiira, who served in Oakland California mission with Sister Kunz from the Rexburg Temple.  Sister Kunz asked us to look her up, and we found her by chance

These are the others in the square dance group.  We told them to get some straw hats and Judy made suspenders for them.  We just didn't anticipate chartreuse shorts and red t-shirts.  The girls made the hats in about 15 minutes from palm leaves.
One of the games was a relay of blowing up balloons and sitting on them to pop them.  They had a lot of fun laughing at each other.

Around Tarawa

There are some beautiful flowers and trees here.  There isn't the variety of some tropical places, but these red beauties and the white plumeria provide color and fragrance all summer long.  I don't know if we have a summer that really ends, yet.

The little kids often stand on the back of the motor cycles with their arms around their parents' necks or on their shoulders.  We have seen as many as 4 people on a motorcycle, with one in front of the driver, one between the driver and the 2nd adult.
Missionaries with their van in front of our flat came on our preparation day (notice Elder Bush is not in a white shirt and tie.)  We sometimes don't get a regular preparation day, since we have to see to the young missionaries needs, deliver mail, inspect flats and order repairs.  So we take time when we can to do our washing, shop and take care of our little garden.  (We actually did get one tomato from our 8 plants and other little ones are starting.)
These two members are very nice people, who share their time and energy with the community, as well as the church.  They own several businesses and sponsor some city events, like talent shows.  They invited us to sit among the "honored guests" at a dance competition they sponsored.

Air Marshall is becoming more regular in its flights between the Marshall Islands and Kiribati.  It now flies every other Monday.  That is a 3-hour flight.  It sure beats the 3-day flight through Hawaii, Christmas Island, Fiji, Kiribati,
  When we get packages from the U.S., this is the plane that delivers them.  (Keep those packages coming.)
This lady is taking home some pandanas leaves to do some weaving, such as the girls below are showing.  Moroni HS has a class where they help the young people learn and maintain some of these cultural talents.  Learning to use the natural materials here is a real blessing to the people.

These baskets are woven from coconut palm fronds, which are coarser than the pandanas.
This girl is learning to weave a mat, used as a mattress for sleeping.

Elder Bush went outside our flat to saw some wood to make shelves for our pantry.  Just like when we were at home, young kids always want to help.  This young man did a pretty good job.

Missionaries pose for a photo at the Church information booth they are running at the Independence Day festivities July 12.