Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Drawn Out Story

Last week just before lunch two children in their school uniforms walked up to the construction site and handed me two pieces of notebook paper. They both had drawn pictures of the kingdom hall/missionary home. I'll let their drawings speak for themselves.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pictures from Ebeye

this is Dijo. Dijo lives right next door to the construction site. over the last six months Dijo and i have become friends. he often is the first person to greet me on the way to the construction site. last week when it was pouring down rain i saw Dijo standing on the street, under a broken umbrella waiting for me. he wanted to walk me to the site under his umbrella so that i could stay dry. the smile on his face in this picture is exactly the way he made my heart feel. how can a child with so little be so happy? i haven't that answer, but i'm happy to have such a kind and happy friend.

didn't your parents teach you not to play with sharks? mine didn't have too. i'm pretty sure this kid didn't get that life lesson. last month a group of kids were coming down the street chanting and jumping around ( not that unusual for ebeye ) i walked over to see what the children were celebrating about. this kid ( two pictures down ) had this shark in his hands. he was holding the shark by the tail and had the sharks head in an old cardboard ice cream container filled with salt water. apparently they were playing in the ocean when this guy was swimming around. instead of fleeing the scene, the children decided to capture this shark. as you can imagine, the shark was the one who was wishing that he could leave. children of ebeye 1 shark 0.

same kid.... rides his bike around with a chicken as his hood ornament. does anything really need to be said?

last and most certainly least. apparently this guy had somewhere to go and he needed to take these pigs with him.

more pictures to come soon. a special thank you to Jude and Jakob Cunningham for visiting the blog and trying to figure out where Ebeye is on the globe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Recipe Of A Mad Man

3,2,1....3,2,1....3 rock, 2 sand, 1 cement. Repeat....3 rock, 2 sand, 1 cement. this is the recipe for making concrete. 3 parts rock, 2 parts sand, and 1 part cement. i've been repeating this formula since i was drinking formula(milk that is). i have no memories where concrete was not part of my life. even when i was playing in the sand box with my brothers, i was actually pretending to mix concrete. we would spend hours in that sand box paving pretend roads and making everything you could imagine out of concrete. and now here i am, almost 30 years on from those days, and i am still mixing concrete. just in the past month we've poured a concrete floor, concrete steps, concrete beams, and concrete headers. how did my life turn out this way? what the heck? every story needs a hero, and all hero's need their villain. growing up scibetta means i had both villain and hero in one lead character...... my father.

what possesses a man to learn a trade and then abandon it at the drop of a hat? where does one find the drive and the time to learn how to fly, how to sail, and then lose the interest almost immediately? who goes out and plants a substantial vineyard in their backyard, has grapes shipped to his house from half way round the world, spends countless hours honing his skill in making wine, and then suddenly destroys all his hard work, and decides he will plant peach trees instead? who gets licensed in hvac, cdl, and electrical, followed by pastry classes, massage school, and culinary classes, just to drop them all at the blink of an eye? who would imagine learning how to do body work and welding because they had nothing better to do? the answer to this is the very man who had the idea to bring five boys into this world and with all that knowledge and experience he would teach them.... concrete. you would call him crazy. i call him dad.

(my father- relaxing)

meet michael anthony scibetta. he gave us the gift of life and then taught us a trade that at times makes us wish that we had never been born. my father is a man who has honestly learned all those things i wrote in the preceding paragraph. he learned those things in his "free time", his secular job since i've known him has been pouring and finishing concrete. my childhood memories are incased in concrete. my bothers and i have concrete handprints all over the town that we grew up in. when he would drop us off at school in his work truck he would sing songs through the speaker he rigged outside of his truck as he drove away. when the school bus dropped us off at home, he would again, sing songs to the other children while he was finishing concrete. we had the most useless areas of concrete around our house. i kid you not, we had a helicopter pad in our backyard JUST IN CASE a helicopter was ever flying by and needed somewhere to land. he built a little cottage out of concrete pavers that he had acquired from a previous job. he built concrete pools and concrete fountains. when i was a child he once invited his employees over for a barbecue. when they showed up, minutes later three concrete trucks showed up behind them. he said," let's just pour my driveway, then we'll eat." this is my father. he is this stories villain.

so for nearly two decades, their has always been at least two scibetta boys that have worked in the family business. at our dysfunctional peak, the five of us actually worked together. while we were seldom productive, and frequently late to any job we were working on, we definitely managed to have a good time. i dare to say... great times. in large part, this is my fathers doing. he trained us, he raised us, he bought us baseball gloves that went on our dominant hand. we had no choice, we were going to be concrete finishers. so when i look back over the decades i've spent in this profession, my mind is littered with concrete moments. some of those moments were really tough days and tough times. but they were always spent with family, and that makes them good memories. and now here i am, half way round the world, mixing and pouring concrete on a tiny island in the blazing hot middle of nowhere. at times i can't help but wonder how i got here. not in my wildest dreams did i ever picture this scenario. maybe my dad did all those years ago, when we were playing in the sandbox. what we called playing, he called training, a mad man teaching his children his recipe. and the only man i could imagine being crazy enough to be a stories villain and it's hero. a better life i could not ask for. a trade i've been taught that has lead to the greatest adventure of my life. a profession learned that has brought me closer to my family. and a family that has taught me the importance of having a wonderful mother. dad i know you will read this one day. you are crazy, but i love you. thank you for the recipe.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Going On... In Ebeye

here are some pictures of the work here in ebeye-

here is what the previous hall looked like.

you can see the tremendous amount of work that was involved with tearing down the previous hall and missionary home. the lower concrete pad is where the missionary home was. the concrete pad above it is the old kingdom hall floor.

once the old structures were demolished, we could begin working on the new kingdom hall. you can see in this picture that we had a lot of digging to do. what makes the job challenging is finding a place to put all the dirt. the worksite here in ebeye is pretty small and were putting a pretty big building in the space available.

after about a month of demolition and preparation, finally we put up the first of ten columns. these columns have over 30 vertical pieces of #8 steel and they are sitting on two giant 8x8 steel mats also with #8 steel bars .

here you can see how much work has been done in just the past month. last saturday we poured the base for our 4th and 5th column. do you see where the steel splays out from the columns on the picture to the right? that will be roof height of the kingdom hall. these columns have to go up one more floor because the new missionary home will be above the kingdom hall.

there is a lot of work ahead. everyone here is having a great time and we feel very privileged to be on an island with so many kind and generous people

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where Antennas Never Die and Imagination Is Crystal Clear

i remember the days of childhood where i would spend countless hours staring at a fuzzy picture on our television screen, wishing, praying, that my favorite show would come in clear enough to make my eyes not ache and dry out. i remember stephen slowly turning the antenna dial to rotate the antenna on our rooftop as i willed the tv to become fuzz free with my hopeless eyes firmly focused on the grainy image. these were the days of under roos, legos, and limitless imagination. where anything was possible if you just had the desire to pretend a little bit harder. knight rider and the great american hero were tv shows to die for and a clear picture was worth the sacrifice of a brother.... sorry aaron. this was childhood and these were days passed, or so i thought. it's fitting that on an island of children i find that i'm watching television the same way i did as a child....with an antenna. ebeye's "skyline" is defined by it's sea of antennas( yes i just combined the sky with the sea, anything is possible here in ebeye). this week i installed my very own antenna here in ebeye. the memories of childhood all came rushing back as i gazed at my television screen through the fuzziness hoping, praying, that the reception would suddenly come in clear. and as i yelled out the window to zak debeque as he slowly rotated the antenna on the top of a coconut tree searching for the best possible signal, i think to myself- 1) what really has changed but the location? besides the under roos... of course. 2) imagine how awesome knight rider would have REALLY been if david hasselhof had actually been cool.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lord Of The Flies

a typical landing on a small island in the pacific ocean aboard a 727 jet could be described as "hair raising". the runways seem to be built out of rocks and coconut husks, with old coke cans as lights for the runway. as the plane gets ever closer to the ocean water, the desire to see land(safely) gets greater and greater, the time lapse between the two feels infinitely longer than what is real. at last! i see land!!! as the tires touch the "tarmac" the planes reverse thrusters are instantly applied. at this point it becomes moot, but i either wet myself from the fear of landing on this little piece of land in the middle of the ocean or from the amount of pressure applied on my bladder from my seatbelt as we attempt to stop on a dime.

like i said this is a typical landing on any small island, but kwajalain is not a typical island. owned by the military, kwajalain is a like an oasis in the middle of a barren desert. as you approach for landing at kwajalain, you look out your window and you see a very broad and spacious airport, and then nestled in between the airport and the ocean is a green nicely manicured links golf course. as you taxi down the runway you notice that there is an elaborate and extensive bike trail around the island. for those who do not wish to put forth any physical exertion, there are solar powered golf carts ready to escort you around the island. as you walk out of baggage claim it feels like you've walked onto a 1978 version of the truman show. perfect little roads with perfect little houses, all the amenities that an american thousands of miles away from home could hope for- fast food( subway, burger king, pizza,etc) movie theater, baseball field, basketball court, tennis court, and a skate park. there is a school for the military children, a hospital, a dentist. life's comforts have been brought to you in the middle of nowhere courtesy of the military. the only problem is... it's not provided for you. unless you are authorized to be there, you are not a partaker in the island of plenty. you can admire but you can not touch. as i was escorted through the island and to the ferry to take me to my final destination, i couldn't help but wonder if any of these amenities would trickle over to the nearby atoll of ebeye. after all the military developed this atoll for all the displaced natives of kwajalain. the answer to that question was only a twenty minute ferry ride away. across the beautiful blue lagoon ebeye awaits you. you realize rather quickly that you are ferrying from the island of plenty to the island of not kwajalain. sensory overload ensues. as you step off the ferry you officially have entered a different world. with reggae blaring as your soundtrack, you are welcomed to ebeye. kids litter the island(literally and figuratively). on roofs, in the streets, in the tree, and all over me. if ebeye was disney world(and it isn't) then i'm mickey mouse, and the doors to the amusement park have just opened. as you walk down the street you are greeted by a chorus of children asking for money or serenading you with the word- ri pellae (foreigner). they want to shake your hand they want to climb on you, they want you to notice them, because THEY have noticed YOU. there are always children on the street. when it rains the streets flood with water, ebeye has just become a water park for the children. they build little boats out of aluminum cans, they splash,they swim, they rejoice in their havoc. somedays the children "play" war. twenty five kids on each side of the street. they start chanting war, war, war.... and all of a sudden they all run at each other. playfully each side battles, the winning side having the fewest tears streaming from there snotty little faces. it's funny but i kind of envy the kids here. how cool would it have been as a child to hang out and play and run wild everyday with you and your buddies. setting your own rules making your own bedtime. nothing would have been more fun! i always thought this kind of life was just a story from some writers wild imagination. an island run by children, it's perfect. at least until piggy gets pushed of the side of a cliff and chaos ensues. it's not fiction. it's just life in ebeye.