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Archive for the ‘week 2 on the island’ Category

Well the adventure – or misadventure – continues.. 2 weeks and 2 trips to Emergency. Last time it was a false alarm but this time it might be a bit more serious. Rob was going down the slide at the park across the road with Aiden when Aiden’s leg got caught somehow and now he has a sore leg. He got a bandage (and an icy pole) at the hospital and has to go back for a review tomorrow. The nurses didn’t think it was a break but it is swollen and he doesn’t want to stand on it. He told the nurse that he had a sore knee from falling over today and that felt better and his leg would feel better too.
Before that we’d had a great day. The Pacific Sun came in with heaps of tourists. We’re not what you’d call local ourselves but even to us it felt like an invasion. ‘Our’ quiet little cove was now full of snorkelling, crab-fascinated tourists. They came, they ate, and then they chugged off as the sun set. The good thing for us was that one of the major historical buildings, Tai Jin House,¬†was open in the morning along with a nice little cafe. It’s usually only open in the afternoon when we’re having a siesta so this was a rare opportunity. It was a welcome stop after we’d walked along a dirt road through the jungle to look at the ship. It was pretty humid which took it out of the kids. Aiden was too tired to walk so Rob valiantly carried both him and Aoife. We caught up to one lady on the track who was puffing and wiping her brow. She turned to us and looked like she was about to complain about how tired she was from walking then she saw Rob and just commented that he had a load and a half. Rob repied that actually he had 2 – loads that is.
Just to finish, I’ll leave a picture of Aoife pointing to a crab. She loves them! She’d love to touch them if we’d let her.

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Refugee stories

Rob visited the Detention Centre again today. Actually, it’s one of three places the refugees are being held on the island. There’s about 1000 men in the main one that you might’ve seen on the news – looks like a prison. Then there’s a smaller location without fences or bars for women and children. There’s also some people, including 2 families in our area, in ‘community detention’.
Rob spoke to 2 of the men about their story. Some people might call them queue-jumpers or illegal immigrants, but if these men are anything to go by, they are just decent people fearing for their lives in their home countries. One of them was shot when his workplace was targeted by the majority group. Rob saw the scar in his abdomen. In this shooting, his friend died. The other guy fled to Malaysia from his persecution and had to return home when his visa ran out. He spent a month in one room because he was too scared to go outside. Both of them have reached Christmas Island on a boat from Malaysia. It’s hard to believe they’ve been through such harrowing experiences – they seem well-adjusted, easy-going guys. And today when Rob gave them Bibles in their own language they showed true joy.
Di ran into some of the refugee children playing across the road at the playground. A local was minding 3 children while their parents received English lessons. There were 2 little 2-year-old boys and a gorgeous little girl of about 8. The boys were a bit wary but the little girl seemed just like any other girl her age, playing with dolls and fawning over Aoife. There’s no obvious sign of the trauma she must have experienced. Hopefully we’ll run into them again. Aiden had a great time with them. He was emboldened to go down the big slide by himself just like the girl and swung and banged sticks with the boys. Aoife mostly enjoyed the attention, although looked a bit worried when the girl was carrying her around.
Tomorrow a cruise ship is coming and there’ll be markets in the main cove area – big excitement on the island! Will let you know how it is.

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So far, we’ve bought our food from the main supermarket but today Di thought she’d support the more local one, Boong’s Trading. Di’s enthusiasm wavered somewhat – actually completely – when she got the bill.
Ten items:
1kg Colby cheese
medium tub butter
packet of pasta
1 red onion
medium tub peanut butter
2 small tomatoes
tub of chicken stock
packet of McVities biscuits
packet of Vita Weet biscuits
tin of evaporated milk

Let’s do a poll

… answer: $42. Well done to those who answered correctly!

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The crab migration seems to be subsiding so roads are opening and we can explore more of the island. We made it down to Ethel Beach
which is linked by a short boardwalk to Lily Beach. Aiden loves these ‘bridges’, which remind him of Cradle Mountain – great memory from 6 months ago. . His behaviour has been a bit trying lately but he was perfectly happy and compliant on this walk.

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hash house harriers

This afternoon we met yet another segment of the community as we walked through the jungle with the Hash House Harriers, a running/drinking club (just to clarify, we were into the first bit). Aiden and Di walked the short (4km return) and easy way along the road. Aiden gave a running commentary on squashed crabs on the road, cicadas singing in the trees and upcoming cattle grates (used as crab crossings, not for cattle – unsurprisingly none of these are on the island). Di enjoyed the walk too, although was quietly afraid of whatever animal was moaning in the trees. It was very eerie – thick jungle with tall trees blocking the sun on each side of the road and previous walking companions long gone.
Rob and Aoife had a similar experience, but had more companions to chat to as they walked along an overgrown 4WD track. The leader had stretched the truth a little so Rob was right when he thought the 4kms was taking a long time – it was actually 6, then 2km back along the road. Aoife had a great time in the backpack, leaning out and taking in the sights.
By this stage, Aiden and Di were almost back. In the second half of their adventure, they were accompanied by ‘Conehead’ (after your second Hash run you get a nick-name, probably because every second lady we met seemed to be ‘Sharon’), who taught Aiden how to flick reflector posts and yell out ‘On on’ (another Hash thing, kind of like a coo-ee). Upon their return, Aiden helped Conehead’s boys build a fire then played with them in the dirt – a little boy’s heaven!
We thought we’d have a BBQ out there, but 7.30pm rolled around and they were just getting into their drinking games, no sign of sausages or BBQ grill. So we came back and had dinner here. We had a late night but all of us really enjoyed it and we met some lovely, welcoming people who we’ll hopefully see next Thursday on the next hash run.

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