We are officially part of this village. Or at least that's what they said this morning when we went to Sunday Church service. At the 21st Birthday Party we attended on Friday afternoon, the Methodist minister invited us all to attend the service at 10 am. We said we would and luckily we did. Here, we have discovered, as in most places, when you say you'll do something – they expect you to keep your word. It was a bit windier this morning and we got picked up by JanBart along with Matt, Jean and Monique to head to shore. We hiked over the hill and heard the "church bells" - in this case, wooden drums, beating. We found the church and the minister met us outside and greeted us warmly and led us into the church. We arrived early and were seated in a special pew that was decorated with a special purple cloth for us. We sat and listened as some women in the church were singing/praying in Fijian. It was quite warm so we did bring hand fans along (a tradition in most churches here). The church was a simple building with the altar section decorated in bright green coverings and fresh flowers and leaves were arranged on the pillars and clothes. People started to come in and many children arrived – and it was obvious they each had assigned seats. The girls all sat on one side, directly in front of us but with pews facing inward and we were in the front pew to one side. The boys were all on the other side of the church facing inward as well. The boys were all dressed in the appropriate sulus (skirts) and the girls had on long dresses. All were quite colorful.
The service began with some singing – to the accompaniment of a "triangle" which had a bell like sound. It was all in Fijian but Michael got a play by play from the woman sitting next to him. She'd tell him things like this is the "Lord's Prayer." She also held the hymnal and with her finger followed the Fijian words so Michael could sing along should he so choose. The minister would point to the numbers on the board and tell us where to find the songs in the hymnal and at one point even brought us an English bible so we could follow along the readings. Very considerate. At one point, he then spoke English and welcomed us to their village and their church. He said we were now part of the village family. The singing was very interesting – several very loud voices but the men and women sang different parts and harmonies and then would come together. It was a pleasure to hear. The children then did some recitation, by age groups, of different bible verses they had learned that week. Then the entire group of children sang "Kumbaya" a song they had learned two days prior and it was very beautifully done. At the end of the service many people came to us to shake our hands and greet us and then the minister invited us to his home for lunch.
First we went to his house and were seated in chairs while they all sat on the mats. Then we chatted for a long time learning a lot more about the island, the culture, the minister and his training. We enjoyed this time with he, his mother, the school master, an Indian nurse and the six of us.
The lunch was quite a feast – similar in fare to the birthday celebration. The men and guests ate first and the three women would eat after we were all done. When done we left to get back to the boats though we were invited to come back later in the afternoon. We declined that invite. But we did promise to come back on Monday morning to visit the school and give them some books. We were told to come at 8 am for school assembly. We will also bring a small thank you basket of food and gifts for the women who cooked out lunch. It was another great experience here in Komo.
Yesterday, we enjoyed a more traditional boat day! That means boat projects and some snorkeling. The boat project was the unanticipated leak in the dinghy. After we got it in the water, Michael noticed it needed more air. After pumping it up there was that horrible hissing noise that comes from air escaping into the water. There was a leak and it sounded quite big. So we re-loaded the dinghy on deck and looked for the leak. Once found, the process of patching started. This is not as easy as it sounds. It required cleaning, sanding, cleaning again with acetone, measuring, cutting patches, mixing glue, applying two coats, and getting it all put on a floppy dinghy. Then it would take time to set.
Once the patches were on, our friends from "Superted V" invited us to go out to the reef as it was a perfectly flat day for some snorkeling on the outside reef. This was probably the best snorkel we've had in more than a year as the water was clear to 50 feet and we drifted through some large cuts in the reef. We saw an enormous amount and variety of fish of every size, shape and color. There were some big ones out there as well – and a few pesky sharks that seemed to take a liking to Michael. We saw a wonderfully designed "Clown Triggerfish" which is polka dotted and yellow lipped and quite a character! Several new varieties were also spotted. It was a great afternoon in the water.
We have another village visit planned for the morning – weather permitting.
Sorry about not putting up pictures yet. We have not had any, let alone speedy, internet and probably won't for another couple of weeks.
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