Monday, February 9, 2009

Birthday Party and Kwajalein Liberation Day


Before the other stuff: I added another class to my schedule. We did some rearranging of the Elementary teachers and now I am teaching 6th grade math during my free period (as of last week). It has been going pretty well so far. I really like teaching math, so it’s good.

Birthday Party
Last week I was invited by one of my 5th grade buddies (Richie) to his niece’s 1st birthday party (in the Marshall Islands, the first birthday is a major event). The party was on Saturday night after AY and vespers. Richie also invited Ryan, the principal, to the party so after we were done with the Sabbath programming we went with the kids to the party. We sat in the courtyard as the family was finishing up the party preparations. Ryan made the suggestion of going to watch the basketball game because the party probably wasn’t going to start anytime soon. So we went to the basketball game and watched until it was done. The team who won would play our team in the championship game on Liberation Day. The Kwaj High School team, the Spartans, won.

When we came back we sat in the courtyard again. We were there only a few minutes when one of the ladies ushered us to a long decorated table where the honored guests were supposed to sit (I found out later that the spots were for the king and queen but they couldn’t come). Ryan and I sat in the very middle of the long table. There were bright blue Marshallese pillowcases folded over the chairs. The table had huge cups, Marshallese cloth napkins and table decorations, boxes of Macadamia nut chocolates, bowls, and pitchers of coconut milk (fermented, as I found out from sipping it once). They came around to give each of us cans of cola. There was a prayer in Marshallese and then we were dismissed to get food from the buffet tables. Being a Marshallese party, there were several different kinds of meat in large aluminum serving dishes, rice, and spaghetti (yes, spaghetti). We put our food on these nice large oval plastic plates and returned to the table. While I was eating Ryan told me that the decorations were gifts for the people sitting at the table. I was surprised just to sit at the table, much less get gifts!
While I was eating, Jeo and Richie took turns using my camera to get pictures of the party. They had a good time and got many pictures of the baby. While we were eating a mass of kids ran up to the toy decorations hanging from the tents and pulled them down. Jeo told me earlier that it was a tradition and that he was going to try to get a Barbie doll to give to his niece since it was her birthday that day (he’s a pretty neat kid). I told him that I would be glad to hold on to the doll so it wouldn’t look like he wanted it for himself (a very un-cool thing for a boy!). The mother of the baby came to talk to Ryan and I to thank us for coming. She told us to take the plates, cups, bowls, pillowcases, napkins, table decorations, and Macadamia nut chocolates as gifts (for birthdays, the family gives the gifts instead of the guests). It was pretty close to 10:30 pm when they opened up the two huge boxes containing the cakes. Since it was already late, Ryan and I decided to go. We thanked the mother again and gathered up our treasures in the bags plastic bags they gave us. It was quite an interesting time.

Kwajalein Liberation Day
Yesterday was Kwajalein Liberation Day. We had been trying to plan things for a couple of weeks, but nothing really was organized until the night before and the morning of Liberation Day. We picked our students to run in the races and told the students what to contribute to help out with lunch and taxi and tent rental. The night before Liberation day we still didn’t have a taxi to decorate for the parade. The vice president for the PTA was there to help figure out decorations. We found paint and flags to make decorations. We had red, yellow, blue, and white paint. I showed Mr. Korok that you could mix the colors to get the right colors for the flag. I made orange and green to make the flag. I painted a miniature flag on a piece of printer paper. It looked pretty pathetic, but I was proud of my art skills.
On Liberation Day I came early to the school to help decorate. There were some parents at the school helping to decorate the taxi and get the sandwiches and drinks organized. Each family was to bring two loaves of sandwiches and several waters and sodas. Needless to say the office was overflowing with drinks and sandwiches. I had never seen so many sandwiches in my life!
I decided that I wanted to try to paint the flag again, but the size of a full sheet of printer paper. I got the plate back out that I used the night before to mix the colors. I added more paint and started my work. Since there weren’t any paintbrushes, I used spoons to make my creation. It took me a while, but I finally finished my masterpiece. I think it might have taken longer to dry that to make, but when it was done I glued it on some black construction paper and we taped it to the windshield of the taxi (over the passenger’s side, of course).
When we finally got our students together we walked around to the lagoon side of the island on the other side of the public school to wait for the parade to start. It was incredibly hot and our students kept running off to little stores to buy water. We waited maybe 30 minutes for the parade to start. We walked down the street a block to turn the corner and walk into the main event area. We huddled our students under the shade of the tent and waited for the speeches to begin. Emily Finch and I stood the entire time the leaders were speaking. Some of the speeches were in English and some were in Marshallese, but even the students couldn’t understand some of it because of the wind and the speakers. We listened for what seemed like hours (maybe not an exaggeration…) and when it was done, we went back to the school to eat our sandwiches and drink our sodas. I ate and went back to the apartment to change from my staff uniform shirt (VERRRRY hot) into a cooler shirt and running shoes. I headed with Lorraine to Beach Park to go to the race. We planned to do the long race from an island down the causeway back to Beach Park. We finally found the people with the signup sheet and headed to the place where we waited for the bus to take us to the race starting point. We talked to some Americans living on Kwaj. One of them knew someone from Union!
On the bus ride down the causeway we were driving through puddles. The ocean was at an incredibly high tide and had come up over the road. We got a little ways past Shell Island only to have the road blocked by water, so the guys had to start there instead of the other island. Once the guys were dropped off, the police truck took the four of us girls back down the causeway to the island where we would start. It was a lot closer to Ebeye than Lorraine and I had planned (which was a good thing for me!), but it was alright. I got my iPod out and started my music and was on my way. Lorraine and I jogged together for a little bit, but then she passed me and was on her way. I jogged with a girl from an outer island (Namu) for a while. She encouraged me to start jogging again after I had walked for a little while. I was with her for a little while until I started jogging and passed her and was ahead until the end. I kept setting goals that I would jog to and then walk for a little ways and then jog again. I tried not to overexert myself so I wouldn’t aggravate my exercise induced asthma.
When I got back to Ebeye some people were on the sides of the road cheering on the runners. I was encouraged to see people cheering. I rounded the corner back to Beach Park, jogging with one of the guys that had caught up to the girls. We had to maneuver through the crowd to make it to the finish line. When I finished, I went over to Lorraine and she congratulated me and I hugged her and acted like I was going to collapse on her. I was so exhausted!!! It was a lot of fun though. The high school girls ran over and kept yelling, “Good job Miss Emily!” They told me to go over to the judges and get my prize—2nd place $125! I was pretty excited. Lorraine had come in 1st for the girls, jogging the entire way. I was very proud of her. They also gave us a liter of water and I downed it within 30 minutes of finishing the race.

While we were doing the race our team was playing the championship game. We saw one of the team members when we were walking to the school. They had won! When we were at the school we saw the team riding around in the back of the taxi the school rented for the parade, screaming and yelling. I think they must have been excited about winning…

Today we didn’t have school so that everyone could recover from yesterday. We had planned on that since last week. We were told that even though there was school the day after KLD last year, hardly any students came and those that did were too tired to do anything. I think the teachers needed the extra day more than the students. We have had so many sick staff members so far this month. Some of them are just now getting over being sick. Hopefully we can all be ready for tomorrow. I’m still pretty tired and sore from the race. I’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.

I hope everyone is doing well back at home! Send a letter if you get the chance. I love getting mail.
Emily Lorenz
Ebeye SDA School
P.O. Box 5070Ebeye, MH (Marshall Islands) 96970


Misha Sisodia said...

Hey Emily! I'm glad you're enjoying your time on Ebeye. I miss that place! Please tell Abra, Disney, Velma, Dira, Lorraine, and the Kilmas that I send my love.
Enjoy the rest of your time there and remember that you're in our prayers here.
~Misha Sisodia (from Badminton class)

A Khudori Soleh said...

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Z said...

Wow, nice article, I really could feel what feelings and pictures you passed with this word. Thank you
Oh, let me introduce myself,
I'm Zav from Armenia, and I've been accepted from Guam Micronessia mission as a High School Bible teacher for serving In Ebeye School
I was praying God for that to show me must I come there or not, and I guess He wants me come there.
So I looked for especially a volunteer who can tell me more about Marshall Islands, Ebeye Schools, the staff, living room, food, especially about vegetarian,
I heard main food there is Fish
also about mission, about people studyig there and so on...
So would you please be my consultant and volunteer friend untill I come there, please:)
God bless you and your work
write me on this please,

Melanie Carbine said...

Hi, I used to live on Ebeye. Now I'm teaching on Majuro. Can you ask someone what the meaning is behind the Ebeye flag? No one seems to know here. Ri-majuro rejaje air manit, well at least they don't know about the manit from the other chain of islands.

Anonymous said...

awwwwwwwwww i really mizz marshalls island and hey do u still remember me my name is kuuipo hong....and yeah can u tell everyone in ebeye marshall island that i say i and i really miss them......

kuuipo hong speaking