All teams have returned to home base for the remainder of the summer. Our first activity upon our return was a 3-day long traditional island festival in which we were treated as the guests of honor. The festival activities were based on the traditional beginnings of the island beliefs and culture. We enjoyed baskets full of traditional food, watched many ceremonial dances, and heard the sound of various percussive instruments. During the festival, we also competed as the All-American team in a few different games and contests.
Our first competition was a 500-meter Dragon Boat race. The Dragon Boat is basically an extended canoe that is rowed by about 12 people. There is also one person that steers the boat and another that keeps the rowers in sync by beating a big drum at the front of the boat. In our first race we kept up fairly well and finished in second place, but we finished last in the semi-finals. We (Adam, Josh) also competed in a volleyball tournament and a few of us (Brandon, Zach, Tyler, Josh) swam from one island to another in a 2.5K swim race.
One night of the festival, Adam, Zach, and I were featured musicians on stage. In front of a fairly large crowd, we joined some friends we’d made earlier this summer as they performed traditional music during the night’s festivities. It was a lot of fun being under the bright lights and being able to entertain all of the people at the festival.
On the last day of the festival we attended a large fish grill-out on the beach. There were multiple tents that were very generous with their food and we ate a lot more of good traditional food. We also enjoyed more traditional dances and music before the festival ended that night.
As our summer experiences come to an end and we start to chew on what we have learned, please ask Father to guide us in discerning the application of what we’ve done and seen here. We have a little over a week left at home base before we leave so we also ask that you continue to think of us and ask Him to keep us focused for the remainder of our time here.