Monday, October 14, 2013
14 October 2013 Uturoa, Raiatea
My First Week in Tahiti
Well, not really Tahiti I was only there for a few days. For my First Zone I was assigned to Uturoa, Raiatea. (I’m using a member’s compûter so I can’t take too much time). I want to write about; my first week here so I will summarize arrival. We flew in and stayed in temple housing then flew out on Wednesday, my companion elder Chailloux was with me as well. He is the district leader here, and he is from Bora Bora and doesn’t speak a lick of English, needless to say it’s been fun. We arrived at our house and there were mosquitoes everywhere! We live near the airport but on a road that takes out away from, the coast. Luckily, we found the source of the mosquitoes and took care of it, the previous elders had left a big thing of standing water Under the sink. Mosquitoes here aren’t like mosquitoes at home, after a few swats they give up and fly away!
if you want to know how I am feeling right now, Watch the other side of heaven when he gets off the boat and introduces himself to the "branch president" that face is how I’m doing. Who knew French could not sound like French? I mostly follow Elder C. around on my bike and smile and bear my testimony. Well... maybe its not that bad, I can understand probably 20% or less of what is being said to me. I swear they only use half of the entire word to speak. I can’t understand the bishop for the life of me. Imagine the godfather, but with two more ping pong balls in his cheeks- and then put it in French/Tahitian and your getting there.
We already had a baptism for an investigator named Bruno. Names are sooo hard to get in a conversation. They are all sorts of American/French/Tahitian combinations, and everyone says their names so fast I cant ever catch them!
I have a few names memorized but it is still hard!
We have mostly done lots of porte à porte (door to door). This involves biking up to someone's house yelling “iaorana”, and waiting to see if they come out. Then I introduce us, answer the obligatory where are you from and Elder Chailloux saves me before I get into trouble! We actually find a decent amount of investigators this way, probably because they are so confused as to why I speak Tahitian. We tracted into this ancient Tahitian man the other day, whose shirt only went down to the top of his belly, and he had a cloud of mosquitoes around him. We talked a while, gave an overview of the restoration, listened to him speak and then he agreed to let us come back. (didn’t find this out till after we had finished).
There’s lots of wind here, so it’s never too hot, and I am always comfortable at night, due to the fan, and a thin blanket that protects me from the nono's (mosquitoes). I actually don’t have very many bites, probably due to my frequent and fervent prayers.
So lots of biking, lots of swatting, and lots of trying to figure out what’s going on. Ward council meeting was extra tedious, but it gave me lots of good practice with listening.
There are chickens everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! Right now there are two roosters having a territory war over our yard, accompanied by their gang of hens. They are crazy; I go and yell at them to be quiet as well as Elder C. a lot.
The people’s houses are really cool. Pretty much everything is open, but the insides are tiled and kept really clean. People in the US would probably think its 3rd world living standards but that’s how you build houses here. Once you go inside, you see appliances like TV’s, game systems and nice furniture. So it’s rather odd. Some houses are nicer than others though. There are still some that are living at about 3rd world level.
We have meals called faatamaaraa's with members everynight. Last night I was feeling rather overwhelmed; as we biked to our diner appointment - I was almost dreading it. But it was with this wonderfully kind Mami (what you call all old Tahitian women). She talked nice and slow for me, corrected me French/Tahitian, and made sure I knew what was being discussed. I told her I felt a little trapped in my own head. She responded with "well of course, it’s not easy to learn 2 new languages, but you will, it just takes time" I love how Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need when we need it. That dinner appointment left me feeling a lot better.
Well that’s about all I have time for. Things are going well. Couldn’t be happier!