4-23 Easter Traditions blong Melsisi

We had Easter here. It was a four day affair. I’m serious, four days.

The week kicked off on Thursday with a half day at school and an evening mass. The mass was the beginning of the vigil that represented watching over the dying Jesus. The vigil was done in shifts, which Jason thinks is cheating.

The church was tricked out for it. They turned the alter so we were facing the back of the church and the entire thing was candlelit. I don’t mean candle lit like it is in the States where you walk into the sanctuary and find nothing but candles but you go looking for your coat in the coat room with fluorescent lights. I mean, it was pitch dark and the front around the alter was light with candles and covered in white cloth that caught the light and made it almost glow.

The shifts at the vigil were organized by area or district. Vanmelang, where I live, was supposed to be number five. I figured an hour a piece and we’d be up to pray around 2:30 am. I set an alarm and went to bed. At 2:30, we crawled out of bed and went to the church only to find out that we’d missed our time to pray by about two hours. Whoops. Well, we made an appearance anyway. Jason stayed and drank kava with some of the guys on the way back while I went back o the house and my bed.

The next morning was Good Friday, which is really celebrated as a holiday here. It is a day off of work, even work in the garden. We went down to Jason’s papa’s house in the morning with hopes of going snorkeling and playing in the ocean. It worked, though not quite how we were expecting. That’s the usual around here.

We were planning on going down to an area around Waterfall, which is further south than Vansemakul, and looking for a tourist spot down there for Jason’s papa to take tourists to. He wants to try to capitalize on the tourism from Nakhol (land diving, go look it up on youtube, [seriously, it’s crazy -J]). We didn’t get there. Instead, we had a picnic on the beach and snorkeled around the reef. I swam a good way south with one of the other girls and everyone seemed a little surprised that I know how to swim well. I guess their idea of lakes and mine are a little different.

No amazing pictures from that round of snorkeling, though it was Jason’s first attempt at daeva or spearfishing. Apparently the rope was too short on the spear and he couldn’t catch anything.

Friday afternoon, we walked the stations of the cross starting at the ocean and walking up to the church. It is a big hill. It was also the middle of the afternoon in the tropics. Who’s good idea was that one? I decided to abstain from the service that followed for the sake of my nose (there was some serious BO, even by my new more relaxed standards) and not wanting to snore during church. I’m glad I did since what was supposed to be a short one hour service turned into a three hour service. I would have been sleeping.
Saturday morning we ran away and hid in Vansemakul. There was an evening service the represent the resurrection. It had a bonfire and candles and all sorts of fire. I’m sure it was very pretty. I was happily sitting in my house, eating my food, and not being surrounded by people. It was good. My introvert tendencies are coming out stronger than ever before.

Sunday morning, we went back to Melsisi for church. We showed up about an hour late and we weren’t the last ones in. Church lasted for another hour and a half after we got there, too. It was a bit long for my tastes.

After church we ate with Jason’s family and went back to the village. It was nice to be home again after the week of being in Melsisi.
I still have trouble understanding the services, but now I think it is a lack of interest and an attention span issue, not a Bislama issue. I’m just not an auditory learner and I don’t have an interest in paying attention in church. I guess I’ll just keep showing up and day dreaming. I’m good at day dreaming.

I will point out that I have had no less than an audience of five for the writing of most of this blog post. I am waiting for a workshop to start and have the computer on my lap. I’ve been the center of a group of children off and on for the last half an hour. Who knew writing could be such a fascinating spectator sport?

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