Sunday, March 10, 2013

Visit to Marshall Islands

 Judy and I got to go to the Marshall Islands for 5 days, Feb. 11-15, to get acquainted with the staff and resources available there.  This will help us to better serve in Kiribati to know how and what we can get to help the work, missionaries in Kiribati.

The picture at right is the entrance to the airport at Majuro, the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
 This picture is of the exit from the airport in Majuro.  It's much more modern than in Kiribati and even has shops inside.
 We stayed in the home of President & Sister Shaw.  Bedrooms are on the second floor, with a shared balcony from which we could see and hear the waves roll in.
 The main floor has a large living room. From left to right are Sis. Wayas, President Shaw, Sister Barlow, Sister Shaw, Elder Barlow and Elder Wood. We had a joint home evening.
 With all the senior missionaries, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of roast beef, potatoes & gravy, salad and dessert.  I didn't think we would have such a meal for another 9 months at home.
Left to right:  Elder & Sister Bush, Sister & Elder Wayas, office & fleet mgt (Hawaii, via Arizona), Elder & Sister Barlow, office (Spanish Fork, served a teaching mission in Samoa for 3 years when still had children at home), Sister Bulkley (nurse, served mission with husband in Connecticut before he passed away), Sister & Elder Wood, seminaries & institute, Sister Shaw.

The first floor of the pink building is the mission office in Majuro.  The front is a reception area and open office area.  Down the hallway are the president's office, the nurse's office and an office for the Assistants to the President.
Sister Barlow, Elder Wayas and Elder Barlow share the office area.
Elder Bradshaw, from Kiribati, is one of Assistants to the President.  The other elder is from the Marshall Islands side.
Picking up packages and mail at the local DHL office, we see that there are still problems with how packages get delivered.  DHL is the shipper for things from Salt Lake, but they don't send them directly to where they need to go.  Often, they are shipped to the mission office, which then has to reship the orders to the different islands in the mission.  This is inconvenient and expensive.
We got to go to the airport to welcome Sister Cassita, the new nurse for Kiribati.  She came through Majuro for a brief get-to-know you before going on to Kiribati.  Unfortunately, the plane she was to take to Kiribati got stuck in Brisbane with technical difficulties and she eventually made it to Kiribati by taking a different airline around through Hawaii and Fiji.
The man, a Seventh Day Adventist, did a great presentation on nutrition and exercise as a means of dealing with the high incidence of diabetes to a group of LDS women.  The woman in an interpreter for him.
After the presentation, they served little cups of healthy soup to all who attended, and a few who didn't attend.
Judy and I had some time one afternoon to go to the beach to look for sea shells.  These kids decided to help.  They became REALLY helpful after I gave them a little money for some nice shells they had found, and even went home and brought back some more.

At low tide, we could walk between islands, hunting for shells.

This beauty was still inhabited.  It had a razor-like edge on it's foot that it kept sweeping out when I picked it up.

We all got drenched, but Sister Cassita was still game to try the local crab.
This crab, with red eyes, was striking.

The local people make beautiful wall hangings and baskets out of shells and woven pandanas leaves.
The stores may be small, but they have a great variety and volume of handicrafts.

These ladies spend hours making the handicrafts, some right in the back rooms of the stores.  Keeping the string tight gives a fine, tight weave.
We noticed some great gardens in the Laura area on the western side of the island.  The main island is narrower than Tarawa, but less populated and has some great country side that is well manicured and cultivated in places.
The little boy is shredding coconut.  He is sitting on a little stool that has a metal foot sticking out that is serated.  He just has to move the half coconut back and forth and catch the shredded coconut in the bowl beneath.
There are a lot of nice homes, but Majuro also has its low income housing areas, like this one.  The dirt road is inundated from the recent rain.

Other homes are nice, like these.

The sea is never far away in Majuro.  There is just a ribbon of land in a curve, never more than 300 yards wide.

President & Sister Shaw, Judy and Val in the Majuro airport as we get ready to leave this little American-like outpost, with Ace Hardware, U.S. produce and other products, 110 v electrical current and people driving on the right side of the road.  It was a nice change, but we were happy to go back to the people of Kiribati.