Archive for the ‘week 5 on the island’ Category

Sad news – Aiden won’t get his cast off for another week at least. Went to a different doctor today who felt that a spiral fracture would need more than 3 weeks to heal properly. She was worried that if we took it off today it could still be weak and break again. We had anticipated a 3 week healing time because the doctor who put the cast on said it would take 2-3 weeks to heal. The doctor today said she’d get an X-ray taken next Tuesday then work out whether we could take it off then or leave it another 2 weeks, which would put us back on the mainland. We really hope this doesn’t happen so Aiden can have at least one more swim in the ocean.


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This morning Rob finished his sermon while Di did the shopping and checked in vain for incoming mail. It’s been a month since various family members sent us parcels. The one in the express post bag got here within 2 weeks, but everyone else’s is still waiting. All the incoming mail comes once a week by air via Malaysia, on a Saturday. So if it’s not here by lunchtime Monday it won’t be here till next Monday at least. A friend told us today normal mail parcels usually take a month. Moral of the story – if you’re sending a parcel to Christmas Island use Express Post.

After lunch Di went off to have a swim in what she and Rob have decided will be a daily ritual – Di swims then swaps with Rob who can go to the gym. Di’s been wanting to meet some of the women and children in detention. They are held in a different spot to the men. It happens to be directly opposite the recreation centre, where the pool and gym are located. So it was great today to arrive when these women and children were having a dip in the pool too. One lady with very good English struck up a conversation, from which Di could find out they come every Monday between 1 and 2. This is exciting because it can be hard to get in to see people in the detention centre – for a start, you need someone’s name. Now Di can just go and meet them at the pool. One interesting thing that came up today was the cost of entry into the pool. The lady asked if Di got in for free and when she told her it was 2 or 3 dollars (she wasn’t sure because she has a monthly pass) the lady thought this was very expensive. They have much to learn about the cost of living in Australia! It makes sense of why they apparently haggle in the Op Shop (where Di will volunteer on Fridays), getting the price down on shirts that are only $1 to begin with.

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Today we had church and it was a great experience. We had the Lord’s Supper and Rob administered the sacraments for the first time. It was a wonderful and very meaningful experience. Whilst most of the communion service was in English we had some parts in three languages (English, Mandarin, Tamil). It was wonderful to share this sacrament with so many nationalities and tongues, it has been a real highlight of our time here (a photo of our church service and Rob and the two translators!)

Another highlight from our church service today was the appearance of Farmer Jill!! Unfortunately the photographer forgot to take a photo of Farmer Jill. But Farmer Jill told the kids (and everyone else) about what farmers do – something some of the children were a little unaware (there are no farms on Christmas Island). Then Farmer Jill recounted a story that Jesus told about a farmer who sowed seed on different soils. Farmer Jill also sang a song ‘The Ballad of Farmer Jill’ which bore an uncanny resemblence to ‘the Ballad of Farmer Phil’ which was sung at Aiden’s baptism. Farmer Jill also happens to be a lot better looking than Farmer Phil although her American accent is just as corny!

Farmer Jill proved a big hit as we communicated to everyone about bearing fruit for God. We think Farmer Jill may make a comeback next week with her sheep farming skills. We’ll keep you posted.

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Rob has been spending a fair bit of time with a group of Sri Lankan clients in the detention centre. They are all Tamils and are fleeing the harships and difficulties they face in their home country. Some speak English quite well, but others hardly speak a word of English. In order to help Rob communicate a bit better with them he has been trying to learn a little Tamil.

When Rob was in India a number of years ago he bought a book, ‘Learn Tamil in 30 days’. He brought it to Christmas Island and when he mentioned this to two of the clients in the centre they laughed, ‘it is impossible’, ‘there are 247 letters to learn!’ The Tamil script is a little daunting. Here is an excerpt,

26. ஆகையால் நீங்கள் இந்த அப்பத்தைப் புசித்து, இந்தப் பாத்திரத்தில் பானம்பண்ணும்போதெல்லாம் கர்த்தர் வருமளவும் அவருடைய மரணத்தைத் தெரிவிக்கிறீர்கள். 27. இப்படியிருக்க, எவன் அபாத்திரமாய்க் கர்த்தருடைய அப்பத்தைப் புசித்து, அவருடைய பாத்திரத்தில் பானம்பண்ணுகிறானோ, அவன் கர்த்தருடைய சரீரத்தையும் இரத்தத்தையும் குறித்துக் குற்றமுள்ளவனாயிருப்பான். 28. எந்த மனுஷனும் தன்னைத்தானே சோதித்தறிந்து, இந்த அப்பத்தில் புசித்து, இந்தப் பாத்திரத்தில் பானம்பண்ணக்கடவன்.

This is a section of the Bible and if anyone can tell us where it is from, there will be a prize. Otherwise, you can read the book, ‘learn Tamil in 30 days’ and in only one month you too can understand this!

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Fairy Bread

We have been really looked after here. Every morning we wake up, open our back door and the fairies have delivered a new fresh loaf of bread. There is no knock, no sound, just bread magically appearing! Sometimes yummy buns (the coconut ones are the best) also magically appear.

But we spotted the fairy! We got this photo of him this morning…

Our fairy is actually Ah-Long – our neighbour across the road. Ah-Long, with his wife, attend our church and Ah-Long has a part time job running a bakery in his house. He works full time for the phosphate mine driving front end loaders and runs a bakery as a ‘hobby’. We love their bread and are very grateful for their generosity.

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out to dinner

Quick one tonight – out late with Ian and Fay. Had fish and chips by the water under palm trees in the gentle sea breeze. Very nice 🙂 Then dessert back at Ian and Fay’s house, where kids went to sleep very easily. Had great chat, hearing about all their stories from their extensive travels. Surprised to hear they’re 75. They look in their 60s. Then miraculously, the kids transferred into the car and out again and into their beds without a sound. Apart from the protests from Aiden to eat his dinner and Aoife constantly wanting to run away at the restaurant, it almost felt like a normal pre-children night out, even getting home late: 11 o’clock!

Look out for the fairies with tomorrow’s post….

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We mentioned in yesterday’s post a new car. Here’s a photo of the first one we borrowed from some people who’ve now returned from their holiday and want it back.

Now here’s a photo of our current one again

Can anyone spot the difference?

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