The next dedication was just amazing. We had to be up very early 4 a.m!!!! and walk to the harbour beach to catch a Dow at 5 a.m to an Island called Khelelene (pron Keya-laynee). The boat trip was 3 hours which I loved every second of. We sailed past Islands that could have been in Bounty adverts, I dipped my hand in the sea and it was as warm as a cool bath.
On some of the little islands there would be guys fishing with big nets catching everything they could, these nets would be so heavy when they were pulling them in it would make you wonder if they ever would pull them in.
When we arrived at Khelelene there was a shortish walk to a rest area a small gazebo like area they had built for us. we were then invited into the Church where one of the best things I have ever tasted was waiting for us.
The Church on Khelelene
Fresh green Coconuts!!! I have had a coconut before, they are brown and sometimes they have a little milk inside... naaa. Fresh green Coconuts taste nothing like that. The milk inside is clear and just has a hint of a coconut flavour to it, but they do taste slightly fizzy!!! and it is so refreshing!!! I have never tasted anything like it in my life. God knew what he was doing creating the Coconut. As Ray Mears the survivalist says...If I was ever marooned on an Island with Coconuts I could last forever. The tree gives you... Food, shelter and the best drink ever.
Cutting open our Coconuts for the best drink ever.
Enjoying God's Bounty!!!! without the chocolate.
After a break and time to collect our thoughts we were taken on a small tour of the island and to the beach. We were followed by loads of Children who it seemed were mesmerised by us. They would hold our hands and keep looking at us smiling, it was just wonderful. When we got to the beach I was taken with how beautiful the Island was and how perfect it seemed, I said to Missionary Man that the island was Paradise, to which he replied, Yes if you don't have to live here. Which was very true.
Some of the Children who had followed us to the beach playing in the sand.
A fisherman showing us his catch
Some of the fish caught drying in the sand, if only I could of bottled the smell!!!!
Again this island is a fishing Island and as we headed back to the Church we would come across area's of fish drying in the sun, you could smell them way before you ever saw them!!! We walked back by what must be the High Street!!! half a dozen or so houses with produce outside for sale Mango's, Rice, this root that is mashed up into a porridge that has no taste or nutrients but fills you up, clothes and this shop that even had Haribo!!! Julia you could live here!!!!
A General Store that even had Haribo!!!
As we were walking back to the Church we passed a slightly larger hut that even had a satellite dish next to it, it was a cinema and had a couple of posters up advertising films!! both were the violent types like Fight Club!!! Just before the Church we walked past a small hut and the little boy who was holding Mr Administrator's hand mimed getting drunk and said no and pointed to the Church!!! Then he mimed smoking a Joint and did the same...obviously what goes on that little hut come pub...but at least this little chap of about 8 new it's wrong to get drunk and high....
The service was again just amazing and it left me emotional and totally drained, it is just amazing that during most of the services I didn't really understand the words but I knew what was being said. I can see God working and feel that he is changing the lives of the Koti. Whilst the service was going on a little girl sat near me and would inch her way closer, eventually she got close enough and got up the courage and touched my arm where I have a tattoo and rubbed it gently with her finger then looked at her finger to see if it had come off. I couldn't help but smile.
After the service and a wonderful meal, the same sort of meal we had before Chicken, Beans and Coconut Rice, we had 20 minutes to refresh ourselves before we headed back to the beach to catch our Dow back to the mainland. I looked up at a Coconut tree and there was this little boy maybe about 8 years old, standing happy as anything a good 20 feet up at the top.
The Dow trip back was a little more exciting the wind had got up a little bit and this made the boat rock a little. I thought this wonderful, a few of the team didn't really like it, which is understandable. As we got closer to the beach the boat needed to cross the waves and of course this made the boat rock a lot....Yay I thought, it's like a fair ground ride. I don't think everyone agreed with me.
The next big thing we did was head inland early one morning to attend a wedding, this wasn't a Koti wedding but a Macau Wedding, Macau in an area a little further inland. It was a wonderful honour to be invited to a wedding and I was very excited to attend. It took quite a while to arrive at the wedding because the truck we had borrowed belonged to the shop we had earlier purchased the cokes from and changed our Dollars to the local currency at. Well, he wanted us to deliver some corrugated zinc roofing in exchange for the use of his truck. This involved a trip up a wonderful dirt track to a house nearly finished. We all thought ohh a Church with no roof!!! I hope I have enough sunscreen on. Everyone got off the back of the truck the roofing was removed and everyone got back on and we headed back down this track. It was so funny, as no one knew what was happening.
On the way back down this track I saw a Mongoose!!! Yay I saw some real African wildlife. It took probably another 30 or so minutes to arrive at the wedding, and an area had been saved for us at the front in the shade under a Cashew Nut tree, that was shedding cashew nuts, one landed on my head!!! and it hurt. There were a few sermons 5 I think and Missionary Man did 2 of them, the 2nd one was due to a misunderstanding about a passage and he cleared up what was being said. (Paul and it's better not to marry, Missionary Man explained the context and all was OK)
Sitting under a Cashew Nut Tree (sorry I am yawning) (yes I am in Mrs EB's trousers)
We then went through 8 Marriage ceremonies!!! I know but it was just amazing and wonderful 8 couples wanting to stand up in front of a entire village and say we believe in Christ and want to marry and promise to stay faithful to each other and God. In these Muslim Villages and the culture of many wives and divorce, it is an amazing and brilliant thing. Though affection is not really shown, after the vows (supplied by our Church's previous Minister using the book of common Prayer, the; to have and hold, richer or poorer) The couple give each other a small piece of wedding cake and then some mango juice, wipe each other face and then kiss...well a peck on the cheek. Then it's a big cheer and you then give them a present, usually a small gift, and most people do give them a present, some sweets, a small amount of cash, fizzy pop, a head scarf etc. After the amazing weddings we went to the Church and were given a wonderful meal of Chicken, beans and Coconut Rice and then someone came in with some wedding cake for us. It was possibly the best and longest wedding I have been too, unless of course I was at your wedding and then that was the best wedding.
The next post the last two dedications.