July 28, 2009
Barnacle Chronicle #5
Yesterday was like being in an episode of the show "LOST". I woke up after wondering if I was still alive and my body was hurting like I had been in a plane crash. It was only an 18 hour passage, but it felt like forever. I wonder if Capt Jim was driving around in circles to see if I would if I would chum the fish. I was trying to sleep on the couch in the salon. We would get smacked by a wave and off the couch I would go. I saw land and had some coffee and was all better. We dropped anchor and the natives were at the beach waiting for us. Dane, Dad, and I went on to shore with the dink. After shaking hands and exchanging names, we asked where the path to the village was. We needed to talk to the chief. They pointed to what looked like a hog trail. So off we go into the jungle with two natives...one armed with a machete and the other a boat oar. Now you have to remember that it has only been 40 years since these islands were cannibalistic and this my first custom village experience. I am not sure how far we walked into the jungle, but we went through a bamboo area, a fruit tree area, then a grassy area. I just kept thinking and I hoped none of that crazy stuff on LOST would jump out at us because we were now just with the guy with the boat oar. How is he going to beat off the polar bear with that? :) Well dad befriended a guy named Adam. While we were waiting on the chief, Adam brought his nine month son to meet dad. While dad was chatting up the locals I was introduced to either the second chief or an elder. I never figured that out. His name was Sampson. He was my new friend. He told me stories about WWII and how the USA saved Vanuatu from being killed by the Japanese. So they are very happy when people from the USA come to their villages.
We waited a long time for the chief to come. We knew that yesterday was “National Children’s Day” in Vanuatu but we had no idea that we would watching the whole ceremony. My new friend Sampson translated the whole program for me. Tom from the boat “Priscilla” brought a huge teddy bear to give to the chief. Next thing we knew, Tom was a part of the program and presented the school principle the teddy bear. You should have seen the eyes on those children’s faces. After the ceremony, the chief came over to dad and remembered dad from last year. I had brought lollypops with me, but not enough for all the children. So I gave the bag of lollies to the chief and let him hand them out.
What great people. Always smiling and shaking hands. Adam walked us back to the path. Then we were back in the jungle without an oar or the machete.