Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The (Church) Learning Garden

The Church, over the last couple of years, has invested in the creation of a "Learning Garden" for the purpose of teaching people how to grow a more nutritious option than the current staples in their diet.  Though bread fruit, coconut, and papaya are healthy, the volume of rice consumed is out of proportion for health reasons.  The people here desperately need more green vegetables in their diet.  The trick is, given the poor soil (100% sand) most things won't grow without serious tender loving care.  This garden was founded to help people learn how to do the TLC necessary to grow more healthy foods, decrease their food expense, and show them how to become self-sufficient.  The previous welfare missionaries, Elder and Sister Youngberg, were instrumental in the development of this garden.  They did a great job on their mission and these pictures reflect their work.
In the back is the Mwaneabe.  This is kind of a bowery where classes and demonstrations can be held.  Upper right is a restroom with showers and everything.  This picture shows covered spots where compost is curing.  Also, you can see the corn in the upper right.  This was planted about a month ago.  Today it has tassels.

Above shows some eggplant with some tomatoes immediately behind.  Continuing to the right are beds with more tomatoes and beans in the last bed.  The gardener is staggering the beds so that he always has some vegetables ripening.  You can see him and Sis Waldron in the upper left.  His name is Tioromaea (pronounced Soro-my-aya) and he spends all day at the garden five days a week.  He is learning a lot and wants to go into the gardening business for himself with a goal of becoming self-reliant.
This is a bed planted in sweet potatoes.  No one here has ever heard of them.  We can't wait to do a demonstration to show what fun things can be made from sweet potatoes--SP fries, SP pie, SP casserole (we'll have Sis Bogh make marshmallows for the topping), etc.  Yum.

A great picture of Sis Waldron standing in, get this, a watermelon patch.  We visited the Taiwan Mission Garden one morning and they shared some watermelon they had grown with us.  I would never be an unappreciative guest but couldn't resist the temptation to purloin a couple of seeds.  I stuck a couple in my pocket and badda boom...

You can see three melons getting just about ready.  The green one on the left is from my illicit seeds.  The one at top should be ripe in a couple of days.  

As mentioned the corn is just over a month old and as you can see, it is tasseling and there is silk where the ears are starting to form.  Can't wait to see what this produces as we don't know what variety of seeds we planted.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

VTEP and Cultural event of 26 Sept

Today saw a fun event for Moroni High School.  The Vocational and Technical Education Program of the school put on a cultural event to show off their newly learned skills and talents.  There were eight or ten tents set up with demonstrations of various aspects of the vocational training here.  One was a tent where students were assembling a Briggs and Stratton engine--automotive shop.  Another was Home Economics with pastries for sale.  A third had fun boxes the wood shop students had made (all dove tailed corners).  But all demonstrated some aspect of the vocational training received preparatory to entering the job market.
This is one of our favorite little gals here.  She has a cute, fun personality and was one of the first sufficiently outgoing to rush up and give us a big hug, introduce herself and welcome us to Tarawa.  Her name is Teresa (Teh-reh-saw, much like Teresa in English), she is about 17, here from Christmas Island and sporting the dress she made in Home Ec.  

They had all the girls who made their own dresses model them at the opening exercises for the event.  These little gals were all dressed to the nines and all heart-breakers.

 Watch out Elders, maintain control at all times.  In the background on the right, seated, are Elder and Sister Bogh, the VTEP missionaries.  He is an old shop teacher from Mayfield and she is a homemaker.  Together they have done an incredible job setting up and coaching the vocational training at Moroni High.  From wood shop to electrical and gas motors to cooking and sewing, these students are getting the best training around.  

In these little Buias (pronounced Boo-yaw) students were demonstrating/sharing their home cultures for those at Kiribati; the kinds of homes, foods and lifestyle they enjoy at home.  This one shows a palm frond basket on the table with bread fruit and coconuts.  Bread fruit is quite yummy, by the way.

Here they are seated on banana leaves and singing with a guitar accompaniment.   

Abemama is one of the outer islands SE of Tarawa.  She has some fruit and fish on the table.  In her right hand she has a small leafy branch they use to shoo the flies.

This concession is made up like a little porch setting with a covered bench and the beach out front.  The little sign on the front says Beru, a small island further SE of Tarawa.  Not only are there students representing most of these islands here at Moroni, but there are missionaries out there preaching the gospel.  

East Stake Song Fest, 19 Sept

The song festival is a once a year deal here and a BIG deal at that.  All the wards and a branch participated and worked for weeks on their performances.  Not just the singing, they were judged on parts, creativity/choreography, arrangements, etc.  They did three numbers each and it just got wilder and crazier as it went.
This is one of the wards doing their number at the song fest.  Part of the judging (in which Sis Waldron took part) was costuming.  They looked great in their dark skirts/trousers and colorful shirts.

This was a primary group from one ward--led by a primary child.  Soooo cute.

This group was huge and chose to be seated.  Their number was very well orchestrated with a tremendous bass section--notice all the neckties on the back row.

One group showed up late but better than never.  They represented a branch located on one of the outer islands and came in on a two hour boat ride.  

This group was from Eita Ward and won the deal.  They had not only musical numbers for the song fest but had huge choreography to go along with their numbers.  My problem was I didn't think to do movie or sound.  Next time I'll bring the Church's movie camera so I can capture the real spirit of the event.  It was wonderful and very moving to hear the saints put their hearts and souls into their respective numbers.  Sorry about the lights in the back--couldn't help that.  It really fouled up most of the pictures.  These are the best.