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village work day

March 19, 2012

From Thursday, March 1

Today I joined a good portion of the village in a village work day at the school on the other end of our island, a few miles hike away. I walked over there with our village’s chief. He recently started his second term in this elected position.

Along the walk, he taught me about some of the plants along the way and discussed copra making. Copra is the white part of coconuts and is mainly used to make coconut oil. This village, and in fact the whole country, depends heavily on exporting copra.

walking to the school

the chief describing some of the plants to me

showing me how to make copra from coconuts

Our project for the day was to complete a school building. Here’s how it looked when we started:

the school in the morning

We worked on the walls, which consisted of layering sheets of leaves attached to thin pieces of wood.

Joanna sent a big container of locally-grown roasted nuts with me to share. The man working on the ceiling beam almost missed the nuts as they were getting passed around. Typically Solomon Islanders don’t stop for food during the day.

snack break

While we worked on the building, others cleared the weeds around the area.  This included setting a few fires to burn the grass right next to the building.

clearing the area around the school building

some of the work crew men at the end of the day

By the time we finished for the day it was getting close to sunset, so I didn’t mind that they told me I should ride in the boat back to the village rather than hike back through the jungle. It also provided a nice view of the bay.

boat ride back

view on boat ride back in evening

When I got home, I was pleased to see that Sarah had made chocolate chip cookies. She’s a great cook, so much so that a gecko tried to steal one of my cookies.

gecko trying to steal a cookie

-John

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