Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life on an Atoll

Iawke Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are all doing well and I am sure you are keeping busy.  My thoughts and prayers are with you always.  I have been in the Marshall Islands for over a month now.  I love it here, especially the wonderful people.  I especially love the children.  They are so cute and friendly.  There are so many too.  They always say Iawke and have a big smile.  Here is a cute picture of some of them
that came to my door selling green coconuts.  They are all husked and you cut off the top and drink the juice and eat a soft coconut inside.  Its supposed to be very nutritious.

The cute boys that came selling coconuts

I am studying Marshallese and hoping to learn more each day.  Its easier for the young missionaries because they are out every day talking to the people.  I work mainly with the missionaries and other people in the office so I don't get as much opportunity.  Plus I think its hard to hear all the sounds they say since they talk very fast and kind of mumble,...but that's just my excuse.  I am seriously studying and hoping to learn it.  Marshallese is spoken in church and so I would like to be able to understand and be able to speak without having to have a translator. That's one of my goals.

Sister Mahit,, me and Sister Roota

The missionaries are wonderful and I love working with them.  I have met all the missionaries serving on this island and gotten acquainted with all of them.  I do admire the great work they are doing here.  We have several baptisms every week it seems and the work is going strong here.  The Elders and Sisters are amazing.  They are hard workers and are out in the hot sun, (we are close to the equator)  every day for hours.  My job is to help keep them healthy.  That's what I tell them too.  I tell them it is easier to prevent illness than to treat it and give them some good reminders on what they need to stay healthy in this climate.  I have been able to become acquainted with some of the doctors and people who work at the hospital.  They practice  socialized medicine here and it also includes people from other places who come to the islands.  When an Elder or Sister has to go to the hospital for labs, x-rays or to see a doctor  it only costs them $20.00 for the whole visit.  That may sound really good, but I think if you were here you would agree with me that our system in the US is much superior and the health care is better.  The hospital is a little scary and they have to wait in long lines for everything.  Some of the doctors are really good though and I have enjoyed working with them. I am also able to give antibiotics and help missionaries so they don't have to always see the doctor.  I have seen some interesting health care issues  but the vast majority of them are dehydration related or the usual missionary ailments.  It keeps me busy but in my spare time I am preparing awards for the cleanest apartment and doing apartment checks, filling first aid boxes for the outer islands, writing newsletter articles on good health or just helping in the office.  I am also active in my ward.  I have been playing the piano for Primary.  We are practicing for the Primary program.  It is so fun to hear the children sing the songs in English.  They speak in Marshallese but they know the words to the songs in English.  Like I said, I love the little children.  One little girl came up to me and pointed to my hair and told me I have pretty hair.  I don't think they see blonds too often.

A cute girl in her school uniform

It's hard to believe that it is going to be Thanksgiving soon and then Christmas.  We have all the missionaries serving on Majuro over for a big mission Thanksgiving dinner.  The president and his wife will be in Kiribati for Thanksgiving but then will be here for Christmas.  They are always on the go since they have missionaries serving on many different islands and countries in the Pacific. They are wonderful people and I do so admire them and the great job that they do.  I think it would be very hard to be a mission president and mission wife.  They are amazing.  Since our mission covers such a large area in the Pacific, they are only here on Majuro about 40% of the time.  They travel to Kiribati, (Tarawa)  Karitimati (Christmas Island), and Ebeye and Kwajalein (another atoll in the Marshall Islands).  They also have missionaries on 3 outer islands here and soon to open another one and several in Kiribati also.  They don't go to the outer islands because it is hard for them to get back sometimes and they don't want to get stuck over there for weeks at a time without a way to get back.  The Marshall Airlines is not very dependable.  The missionaries serving there serve for 4-6 months at a time and communicate by radio.  We send a little first aid box with them with antibiotics and other medications and items to help them if they get sick.  They are supposed to try to call me before they start using the meds. Hopefully  they can get a hold of me.  They communicate with the APs every Tuesday by radio.  We have been blessed for sure because we have not really had anyone get really sick on the outer islands

Sister Barlow and me at Ejit Hospital

The senior missionaries hiked over on the reef to Ejit and other islets off of Majuro during low tide.(That's why I am wet)  On Ejit we met the health care provider and visited his little hospital

  I think it is starting to be the rainy season because the past week it rained almost every day and poured a lot too.  When its rainy the streets get full of water and it gets really muddy.  Some of the missionaries I visit live out on dirt roads so it makes that a challenge to drive to where they live.  The rain makes it a little cooler though and quite pleasant in the mornings to run.  Sister Woods and I run in the mornings.  When its 6:30 am you don't expect it to be hot but it is and very humid.  One morning this past week it was rainy like crazy so we got our umbrellas and ran in the rain.  It was fun.  I get soaked whether its raining or not. 

At this Thanksgiving Time I would like to tell of you thank you for being my wonderful family and friends.  I am very grateful for you and for your love and support of me.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love,  Sister Judi Bulkley

PO Box 1107
Majuro, MH, 96960
Marshall Islands
(Its just regular US Mail)

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