Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Of The Gang To Die

(left to right- the late scratchy, zippy, and itchy)
he was hit by a car one too many times. where most dogs would call it quits after one fender bender, scratchy lived and ultimately died because of his love of the four wheeled vehicle. born in kosrae in late 2009 on the border of two villages lelu/malem, "scratchy" lived his life to the full- chasing cars, eating food, chasing girls, barking at stuff that didn't even exist, taking long naps on the construction site on warm sunny days, and tormenting the stew out of his little sister zippy. this is what scratchy liked to do. this is who he was. he had a pleasant limp to his walk (mostly because of the afore mentioned car incident), a limp that i looked forward to seeing when i would arrive to the site each day. he would gratefully gobble up any food ever given to him and he'd sit quietly, wait patiently- for more food. sadly though on july 13th when we arrived at the site we found scratchy with no more life to live. it wasn't pleasant finding him at the site but it was heartwarming to know that when he had been mortally wounded for the last time, he sought comfort and refuge from the pain here, with his family,at the construction site. this was his safe place, his home. scratchy- a life lived to the full but not fully lived.

The Office And Police Station

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Words?

it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. well... i don't have a picture for this one. the story will have to do. as background to the story, all the single brothers that work at the site take turns during the week doing guard's not a difficult assignment, the office we sleep in is a small structure made out of plywood with a tin roof, we have an air conditioner and a fold down bed, simple but comfortable enough. the site is about a fifteen minute drive from where i live on the island. last monday was my night for guard duty. i drive to the site at 8:30, do a quick walk around the grounds and the go into the office, set the alarm clock, and go to bed. the alarm clock goes off, i wake up, but it's still dark outside(sun rises around 5:30 am) i check my phone and i realize i set the alarm wrong, it's 2:30 in the morning not 5:30 ( quick explanation- my phone has been on airplane mode since i left hawaii, so it's still synced with the time in hawaii, hence why my phone's alarm went off at the wrong time) i still have three hours of sleep! since i'm up though, i decide i'm going to go outside and check the site and use the restroom. i grab a flashlight and unlock the door and head outside. all is normal i thought. i walk back to the office and turn the door knob and.... it's locked. i am in a state of disbelief. i turn the handle again, still locked. my disbelief is turning into sadness. as i turn the handle one more time, (this time accompanied with a violent shaking of the door) raindrops begin to fall on my sad face. there i am standing in flip flops, a t shirt, and a pair of shorts, in the middle of nowhere 7,000 miles away from home. i turn off the flashlight, because if you cry in the dark, you're not really crying, your eyes are just sweating. once my denial of the situation had passed, and it was apparent the no amount of prayer was going to make the keys pop out of the office, i assessed the situation. 1) i'll find some way to pick the lock or break into the office 2) i'll sleep in the car till everyone shows up to the site 3) i'll walk home. i liked option 1. surely i could find something around the site to pick the lock of the door and save myself from the humiliation of telling anyone this story! clearly, option 1 failed. after an hour of failed attempts(you'd think that on a construction site you could find something rather quickly to help you pick a lock. nope. everything gets locked into containers at the end of the work day. everything)- searching through the garbage in search of a plastic knife, using a machete to pry the door open, breaking a cd into sharp pieces to pick the lock, using a razorblade to try and move the locke, etc... accompanied with each failed attempt was the sound of the ac unit turning on inside the office, mocking me and reminding me of where i could be, where i so desperately wanted to be. i'd look down at my feet with the gloom of sadness and frustration hanging over my head, and i'd see four to five mosquitos enjoying my ankles as their midnight snack. it was time for the next option. i decided quickly that option 2 was never really an option. the car was hot and humid( cars here are not like cars back home, this car was not designed for comfort but rather to get you from point A to point B and thats all) and i realized that there would be nothing worse or more humiliating than having the crew arrive at 8:00 am well rested and with a belly full of food, seeing me there, hungry and tired, in my shorts and flip flops, and being forced to explain the whole story. that would not be my fate. option 3 was no longer a plan, it was a reality. with my dying flashlight i started my long journey back to my home. it was 3:30 in the morning, thankfully it was no longer raining, but it was very dark. there aren't really any street lights in kosrae( which is nice on a night with a clear sky, it's breathtaking. the only breathtaking thing on this night was the walk home.... and my constant sobbing, my eyes were really sweating.) so the walk of shame was dark, very dark. you'd think that walking home on a small island in the middle of the pacific ocean would be serene and peaceful, a time to reflect and ponder over the great mysteries of life( like how on earth did i lock myself out of the office). you would be wrong. there is a lot of wildlife on this island and they all seem to think that the road is a great place to come together and socialize at night. if the streets were lit up it would be no problem that there were giant frogs all over the place. but since they are not lit, walking becomes... an adventure. every dog on the island seems to be awake tonight, and it's their duty to inform the next dog of my arrival. some want to chase you, some want to taste you. fortunately for me, at this time of night/morning my disposition was such that i almost welcomed a dog to come at me. i was ready rumble. maybe they sensed this, because for the most part on this night, the dogs left me alone. halfway through my walk home i remembered that just over the next hill was the police station. i'll post a picture of the police station soon, but the station is a story in itself. i figured it was worth a shot to go up to the station and see if anyone was awake and if they were, maybe they would give me a ride home. i walk into the office and it's dark, no lights on except for one room down the hall. with cobwebs and spiders illuminating from my flashlight i walk down the hall to the office. i knock on the glass window and i startle a dozing "police" officer. i explain my situation to him and i can't help but wonder what is going through his mind. he calls his supervisor and asks if he can take me home. i again explain my "situation" this time to the police chief, and after we all share a laugh( at my expense) he agrees to give me a ride home. sometime around 5:00am on tuesday july 20, 2010, i climbed out of the kosraen police car and quietly climbed into bed. with a smile on my face and feeling ever so thankful for an hour more of sleep, i remember thinking to myself as i tried to fall asleep- man am i glad i put shorts on before i left the office.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Crew Goes For A Hike

monday july, 12 was a rare day off for the construction crew. everyone had worked so hard on the roof pour, the overseers thought it'd be nice if we had an extra day to recover. some one in the crew (shem) thought it'd be a nice idea if we all went on a hike... up a mountain! relaxing it wasn't, but entertaining it was. as we trekked up one of the mountains of kosrae we came across several japanese caves from the war, there was a waterfall, and handful of breathtaking views ( mostly because we climbed so high and it was hot as heck and we couldn't breathe) but breathtaking they were. all in all we had a great time and it was neat crawling into the old bunkers and finding the remains of japanese soldiers! that last part about finding remains was not entirely truthful. hope you enjoy the pictures! final note- thank you all for your kind comments, sorry i don't respond to all of them but it's really great hearing from all of you. love you guys! krista, email me

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Roof Pour

this past friday, July 9th, we poured the roof of the missionary home in kosrae. the job called for 70-75 yds of concrete to be poured and finished on the top of the missionary home. in kosrae you don't just call up the concrete plant and say send me some crete in the morning, and you certainly don't call up the local pump truck and ask him to pour the concrete on a roof 15 ft off the ground. they don't exist here in kosrae. when you want to pour concrete you go buy sand, gravel, and portland, then you mix it yourself and pour it.... yourself. the previous roof pour that the construction crew had in micronesia was on the island of pohnpei, where they poured 70 yards with a 100 volunteers, a plethora of buckets, a couple of mixers, and some ladders to boot. pohnpei has concrete trucks and pumps but they decided to do the job by hand in preparation of this pour in kosrae. so it's the week of the pour in kosrae, everything on the roof is formed, braced, and re-enforced with so much steel that it could withstand a natural disaster of massive proportions. a few problems arise though, volunteers are not as plentiful as hoped for the pour. instead of the 100 volunteers in pohnpei, there are about 35 volunteers/construction crew members total. it's decided that we need to solicit some equipment help from a local construction crew. a giant mixer capable of mixing 7yds an hour is rented along with a front end loader( tractor ) for dumping the materials into the mixer. also rented was a crane that would allow us to lift&pour the concrete onto the roof. these moves make the pour possible. as a side point- when you live on an island in the middle of the pacific ocean thousands of miles from any noticeable country, you come to appreciate that once a machine breaks you no longer have a machine. there are no replacement machines or overnight shipping for quick repairs, you either find another way or you wait for a long time. the crane broke two days before the pour. the company apologizes and offers their forklift. this is helpful but it means that we will now be wheelbarowing all the concrete on the roof, a sizable challenge for such a small crew. we carry on though. later that afternoon the skies turn grey and it begins to rain. heavy rains continue all the way up to the day of the pour. for the sake of everyones eyes and your patience i'll try to make this story progress a little faster. the pour is set for 7 am friday morning because it's said that the operators of the machinery can not make it any earlier that morning. when the operators drop off the equipment thursday evening they say that starting at 6 is no problem for them. we move up our start time one hour. 5:00 am friday morning we arrive at the site to prepare for the pour. it's still raining. in fact it's raining harder than it's rained all week, a deluge. word comes in from the arriving missionary couple that the only rode on the island is now impassable because a giant mangrove tree has fallen across the street( the tree was at least a hundred feet long, natives say that it was one of the largest trees on the island,"coincidentally" the tree fell directly across the street where the old kingdom hall is in kosrae). if we had not moved up our start time the night before we wouldn't have made it to the site. the concern now is, how are the operators going to make it here. soaking wet we jump into a truck and head to the fallen mangrove tree, we will do our best to move it and then find the operators. now common sense tells you that maybe this isn't your day to pour concrete. no one in the secular world would pour concrete on a morning like this, i promise you that, the financial risk is far too great. i was right though, it "our" day... it is Jehovah's day. looking back at that day i'm reminded of the scripture at prov 3:5,6-"Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.  In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight". as we arrive to the fallen tree we notice the operators walking down the street in the rain. these guys don't work on days like this with weather like this, their on an island, there's no rush. but there they are soaking wet and ready to work! we pile into the truck and head to the site. it's still pouring rain though. who cares at this point! we fire up the machines and start mixing the very first load of concrete. as the forklift raises the first bucket up to the roof, i kid you not... it stops raining. the rain stayed away until the very end of the 10 hour pour. we are given perfect weather for the duration of the pourimg of the roof slab. had the sun been out it would have been extremely difficult to work that long through the day. early the next morning, some time around midnight, we finished the roof under a beautiful night sky in kosrae. i've personally seen the magnificent things that can be accomplished when you work in sacred service. whether it's concrete in kosrae or knocking on a door in griffin georgia, there is no doubt that all of us serve the most magnificent creator. when we seek first the kingdom and rely on gods thinking, not our own, then, there is nothing that we can not accomplish.

Kinyeir Fulat (Lelu Ruins)

lelu ruins

you may have read in the jan 8th awake 2001 of the nan madol. nan madol is just ruins now, but hundreds of years ago it was a thriving citiy in pohnpei micronesia. the ancient city of nan madol is much larger than the ruins of kinyeir fulat here on the island of kosrae. that being said, kinyeir fulat is said to be the origin of all these tribes around the micronesian islands. regardless of who's ruins are bigger and who started what tribe where, one thing is for sure, the design, effort , and strength it took to build these ancient cities is incredible. hopefully the pictures i took of kinyeir fulat( lelu ruins) will translate all the hard work that these ancient engineers put into building and fortifying their one time fortress. if you get a chance please read that awake article. i think it will enhance your appreciation for the slideshows that follows. in the slideshow you will see ancient walls, streets, tombs of kings, and canals that were once an entry way into these cities from the ocean many hundreds of years ago.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The "Rise" and "Fall" of the Mangrove Crab

disclaimer: some crabs died in the making of this post. if you do not want to see any crabs meet their maker do not watch clip one. otherwise... let's eat!

the mangrove crab- they are vicious little buggers, they are feisty, ornery, and they want to do you harm. if one of these guys nip you, you will be more than sad. we came home from the meeting wednesday night, with shock and horror we discovered that four crabs had escaped and. there were three crabs in the kitchen, one of the crabs(the guy in the first clip) had ripped off one of his brethren's arms, backed himself into a corner and prepared for a battle with the humans. as clip one shows... he eventually lost. but i salute this mangrove crab. he had gall, he was courageous, and he was a valiant fighter. more importantly though... he was delicious. i like to think that this mangrove crab was also a hero. in my mind i see him on that late wednesday night, encouraging his fellow crabs, imploring them to make their push for freedom. and when they finally escaped, i like to think that he ripped off the arm of his fellow crab companion, not out of cannibalism and pure unadulterated hate, but because his friend needed help. he needed help escaping through the small opening in the screen door. he knew what he had to do. a missing crab and a claw lying on the kitchen floor is proof, that on this island, on that wednesday night, there existed a crab that was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. now watch the video clips!