Friday, February 20, 2009

A typical day for the Neeleys in Vanuatu

I realized many of you have no idea what is like over here as we didn't either till we got here. So here is a typical day for us. It starts early as the sun and heat are in full force filling the house by around 6:30 am. By then you are just too hot to stay in bed any longer. After a quick cold shower (there is no hot water) with a handheld shower head to get rid of the stickyness it is time for breakfast. At up to $20 a box for cereal that is out and yogurt although less expensive at $12 a container is also not an option. Fortunatly we have a great variety of fresh fruit so we usually start our day with papaya or passion fruit or if it is available mango. Avocado and coconut are other options. We also have acces to some 1/2 whole wheat bread we usually buy. I haven't found any whole grain flour or whole grain bread yet. Oats are also out at $7 a small bag. We are learning to adapt to new foods. Protien is harder to get cause of the cost and for whatever reason Chicken and fish seem completely ellusive outside of the restaurants. SO we have found peanuts and peanut butter. Laundry is usually next on the list. We don't have a washer or dryer so we use our little laundry sink outside and hand wash and hang. This part is a bit time consuming as our clothes get so dirty so fast here. Josh is great at it and a big help. In the kitchen we work with out appliances as well except the luxury of a very small fridge. We also have a rice steamer, wok and hot plate. Electricity is made here from a diesel fuel plant so it is VERY expensive. We try to really cut down on our usage, but we do run fans at night cause with out them you couldn't sleep. We are gratefull for a friends advice to bring a bug net as that has been a life saver. WE are covered in mosquitio bites from during the day but it is alot less than with out the bug nets over each of our beds. n the mornings we usually scrub off our tile veranda as well to keep the ants at bay. The black ones aren't so bad but the fire ants we could DEFINETLY do without. They seem to be making a beeline across the inside of our house so I find the cleanser spray very helpfull. they aren't big fans. Most weekday mornings we head to the base (15 minute treck in the HEAT!!) to the base for morning worship with everyone here. We absolutly love that part. We meet under a new shade building they just filnished with a grass or palm frond roof called natting goring. It is cool under there the breeze comes throught the open sides and the worship is really wonderfull. When it is really hot and we are free for the day we pack up our stuff (guitar, books, toys lunch) and head to the beach to lay in the shade. The kids take naps there and play and we all stay cool and out of the way of the bugs. During this time I usually make the 15 minute jungle walk to the base and get on the internet. And then leave the computer here and head into the market. I take a "bus" which is really a small mini van with the letter b on the liscence plate. You flag it down when they come by and pay $1.50 each leg of your trip. To save money you want to consolidate your trips otherwise it can get pretty expensive by the end of the week since not all the shops are in walking distance. The market is an open air affair that is open 24 hours and all the villagers come to town with their produce to sell. By Sat (today) you are buying the leftovers that have sat out all week and on Sun it is closed so the villagers (from all the islands) acn go home and get more. It reopens on Monday. It is really pretty cheap. We love it as a great source for the delicious fresh prganic produce you can get. But the other part of shopping for any protien, stapeles like bread, pasta, rice sauces etc all that is available anyway is in a few "super markets". These are HIGHLY expensive so we pick and choose carefully. Bandaids can be $11 and cheese can get over $50 a kilo. But you can find some things like bread and noodles. This is where we would also try to find any plastic wares like a trash can etc.. But for any electronic things you go to the other end of town to the Chineese shops. bear in mind whatever you buy in one place needs to be carried across town while you get your other things on the list and then all needs to be carried back to the bus stop and once you get off the bus we have a 5-10 minute (depending on how much stuff you have and who you have with you) walk through some pretty big mud puddles to the house. The vehichles won't go there cause it is too full of giant holes/puddles. By evening we are at home with the fans blaring making a dinner of rice and veggies in the steamer or pasta or bits of whater we have which may be peanut butter and jelly if I couldn'g get what I needed at the store. Peanut butter is very important to us for protien as we have yet to find how to get fish and chicken. Josh bought a spear gun but got an infection and crazy sun burn last time he went out so he has to stay out of the water for a while. the coral spores get in any open wounds and they really get bad. The fllies as well really get into any open wounds so mosquito bites that have been scratched or any other little cut need to be seriously doctored and covered immediately! All of our feet are pretty tore up and I think I need to find some better band aids as the ones we have don't stick so they don't do much good and the flies are still infecting them. Josh and I got a few cuts from barbwire on our legs and those are taking FOREVER To heal. SO in the evenigs after dish and porch clean up to keep the ants away we read stories to the kids or watch a dvd on the computer. Some days we have been out for quite a while though and by dinner it is close to the kids bed time. We LOVE the beach and the breeze there is so nice that we try to get there as often as we can. We can't wait to own our own piece of beach. It is really expensive to do so as the Australian tourist buy up alot as do resorts that cater to the Australians. Please pray for this. We would really enjoy the cooler bug free beach atmosphere. For the meantime though we are blessed that the beach isn't too far. Life as you can see if really quite differant than the US. It is a 3rd world country so it isn't exactly like being in Hawaii. We do love it though and look forward to what God has for us. I am posting a few mini videos and photos on facebook so check there to see them. Thanks for all your Prayers!! Love Kristy Josh Pierce and Dahlia

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