It’s about 8:00am and the scorching tropical sun is lighting up the banana tree’s I can see out our window. The village is still pretty quite right now and the only noise I can here is the annoying hum of our generator as it powers our fridge, charges our laptops and allows me to enjoy a fan for a few moments. Unfortunately Tom will shut it off in a few minutes and we will hope that the old solar panels on the roof of our house will work well enough today to keep our fridge going. 🙂
It’s been almost four weeks that we have lived here in the Tigak village (almost five for Tom). These weeks have been very eye opening ones as we have spent time with the people, learned about their beliefs and ways of life and even tried our hand at some of their common activities, which are far more difficult at times that they may look! These experiences and the many times we have been able to meet with Ned & Linn Beall (the missionaries here) and each other to talk over aspects of the needs here and the future of the church have all been helpful things as we seek the Lord if this is where He would have us come.
*Oh pooey, there went the generator 🙁
In an attempt to fill you all in on the specifics of what we have been up to, here is a walk through a typical day here in the village, from my (Beth’s) perspective. (Note: This is not exactly one day, but is very close to an example of how one day has gone or could go for us)
7:00am: Start to stir and hear Tom leave out the front door with his laptop to go attempt to collect our e-mail. To do this he must walk to a certain section of this Island, search for a cell phone signal, and then using his web “digi-stick” plugged into our lap top he generally can collect our e-mail through a very slow connection. When it works it makes us so happy. It means SO much to hear from people way out here.
7:30am: Get up. Tom goes to fill the generator with fuel and get it running while I pull back our mosquito net and make the bed etc. I can usually hear Jude jabbering away in his bed by this point dying to be freed and start the day!
*Once a week at about this time I do laundry. This is a very big task and generally takes me 2.5-3 hours. To wash one laundry basket stuffed full generally takes me 4 or 5 “large” loads in the twin tub washer I am using. For the entire laundry process I am standing in front of the washer constantly, moving washed clothes to spin, spin to rinse and back to spin. Phew! Everything takes longer living here but I’m not sure I’m quite used to it yet!
7:45-8:30am: Every one is up, breakfast is eaten, we pray together as a team (generally every Monday) and discuss the plans for the day. Generator goes off and IF the batteries are charged enough the inverter gets turned on so that the fridge can be powered. These days things are not working well as our battery charger just broke. So for now, Ned Beall is letting us borrow his. Hopefully we can get something else figured out soon so that Ned doesn’t have to keep coming and getting it from our house when he needs it for their house! 🙁
*Usually around this time we get a knock on the side of our house by one or two of our Tigak friends requesting either medicine for a minor ailment or wanting their cell phones charged (if the generator is running). Based on what we can help with and what the Bealls have advised us to do, we usually do our best to get what the people are asking for. This aspect of being here is a fun one sometimes b/c you feel like you are helping but can also get tiring when there seems to be an endless stream of people who want something from you!
8:30am: Start our assigned activities. (The assignment we are working on right now is to conduct a “census” of the village here. Doing this helps us gain a good understanding of who lives where, how they are related or connected to each other and who owns what land. All this will help us grow in our cultural understanding, relationships with the people on the island and how to know best how to serve the village as missionaries) In order to conduct the census we go around and meet with all of the “big men” of the island and Tom initiates an interview with them about all the land they own and who lives there. It has been an interesting experience to get to know these men and learn more about how this village is divided up. Admittedly though, it is extremely confusing at times as I am drawing a map of the island with every boundary line and hut on it, Aimee is recording who lives in each house and we are all asking the questions! It is A LOT to keep track of!
11:00am: Usually around this time we are headed back to our house and I am thinking about what to make for lunch. Cooking here can be a real challenge for several reasons. Sometimes we are low on supplies (we only go to the main land to buy groceries about once a month), sometimes our food has rotted quickly because of how much our fridge has to be off and on top of all that-our oven is broken.
12:00pm: We eat lunch together and discuss how the morning went and what we learned. Afternoon plans and expectations are clarified and if we are lucky we might get Ned or Linn dropping by to ask us a question or sending their kids to give us a block of ice for our water cooler (that they were so generous to freeze for us!).
1:30pm: Aimee and I have cleaned up, the dishes are done (usually by Aimee-bless her!) and we are onto the next order of business. Depending on the day this could be-
We go out into the village and spend time with the people. Introducing ourselves to new people, visiting those we have already met or taking part in some activity that is going on. Eg. preparing food (washing sak-sak), fishing, canoe trips, community work, making roofing out of leaves for the new school, and so on.
Baking days for Aimee and I. Because of our broken oven, Linn Beal has been very gracious to let us use her oven to do all of our baking. This involves days baking 4 loaves of bread at a time, making double batches of granola and making batches of 4 dozen tortilla’s. Gone are the days of buying these things in the store so we are getting very good at whipping them up (and sweating our faces off while we do it!) 😀 Welcome to bush living-it’s amazing how much we can eat so quickly! Wow!
Doing some work project. Either maintaining things on the house we are staying in (because things keep breaking down) or helping the Beals with something they need done.
These days we (well, mostly Tom & Aimee because I am watching Jude) are replacing the screen of the Beall’s porch. The screen is full of huge holes and is one of several projects we hope to help the Bealls with around their house. We want to be a blessing to the Bealls as thanks to them for all they have done for us and for letting us come stay here for this time!
4:00pm: If this was an ordinary “out with the people” day, we would generally still be out and about. If this were friday Aimee and I would start preparing our part of the dinner we will be having with the Bealls. We have been eating at least one meal a week with the Bealls-Friday night Pizza Night! 😀
*In addition to eating one meal a week together we try to have at least two planned times of hanging out per week with the Bealls, usually in the evening. These are the times when we can ask the Bealls lots of questions about their ministry, the needs here in Tigak, and many other things! Of course we see all of the Bealls daily for many other reasons too. Ned has repeatedly come to our rescue when our solar electric system has problems and when other things break. The Bealls house is only about 50 feet from ours so we are always popping in and out of each others houses for various reasons. We truly enjoy the Bealls and really look up to them in so many ways!
4:30pm: Normal days, we could be anywhere on the island. On Fridays, however, Aimee and I go over to the Bealls and help Linn get all the dinner prepared and into the oven.
*The generator usually gets switched on again from 5-7pm
(6:00pm: Eat dinner at our place if it’s a regular day. Debrief about all that happened that day, and what we learned etc.)
8:30pm: This is Jude’s bed time so if it were Friday this is usually when we leave the Bealls house. Most evenings are pretty low key. Sometimes after dinner one of Tom’s friends will come and want to sit on our porch with him and talk for a while. When the sun is gone, most of our power is gone so we may watch a movie on our lap tops, if we have remembered to charge them when the generator was on. Or we just hang out with Aimee a bit and then go to bed. When you live in a village and you have no internet connection, no house phone or no TV, there is not much reason to stay up very late. Our bodies have quickly and happily accepted this new ritual of early bed times.
That is our life here-basically. We are keeping very busy and learning a lot. Some days can be stressful when something else breaks down, things take way longer than we are used to or we just get missing the connectivity and joy of the internet. 🙂 Also, the heat here is quite oppressive and there is rarely a day when I am not begging the Lord to help me make it. :O But He is helping us, one day at a time!
If any of you ever have any questions about what we are doing here or anything else at all, don’t hesitate to click your little mouse on the CONTACT tab at the top of this page! We would love to answer your inquiries!