10-14 Saying Goodbye to Pentecost, Again

 We went to Pentecost for five days. We went to say goodbye to the people who are important to us and to lukluk ples one last time. I’m glad we went. We told Jason’s papa, my counterpart, the PCV still in Melsisi and my kava buddy we were coming. We thought they’d spread the news around, but I guess that message got lost on the road.

Surprises are fun. Especially when I am the surprise. One of the oldfalaeven teared up a little bit. He recently had a stroke and could no longer speak, but the look on his face was better than anything he could have said. Really, the looks on everyone’s faces were wonderful. Every place we went, we had people who wanted to shake hands and story.
Jason and Jason
As always, transport is interesting. We had called the old school truck driver to pick us up at the airport. Jason even asked if he still drove a truck. He said yes and that’d he’d be there. We arrived and saw the school truck waiting. It was the only truck. We got off the plane and looked for the driver. He wasn’t there. I asked my uncle who drove the school truck down to the airport. Turns out, my uncle drove the school truck and had no idea whatsoever that we were coming. He gave us a lift to the village anyway. Upon further discussion, we found out that the old driver now alternates months with another guy driving a different truck but that the truck broke that morning. Figures.
We spent two nights in Vansemakul. Our house is still there and in good shape, but we didn’t bring supplies to stay there. Instead, we stayed with one of my friends who has a 3-month-old baby. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The baby was super mellow and hardly ever cried. And I got to play with her baby.
My co-conspirator didn’t want her picture taken
On Thursday, we walked to Ranwadi and said hi to the volunteers there. We got to play with Sheila, the adorable half-caste child of our friend. We stopped by Vanwooki and saw Jason’s namesake. He is BIG! And walking and doing some basic words. He didn’t cry at Jason at all and even when Jason picked him up. His mom said they show him pictures of us and tell stories, so maybe that helps.
We were planning on walking all over Vanmelang, the district, to see everyone. As it happened, we did walk all over, but we saw even more people than we otherwise would have. On Thursday morning, there was a death Leguru, the village furthest up the hill. We went on Thursday afternoon to pay our respects. The man who died was popular because he was helpful and kind, so everyone who could possibly make it was there. We shook hands with a lot of people and got a lot of surprised looks. Aside from the funeral part, it was pretty great.
Ke was very happy to see Jason
Friday morning, we walked over to Melsisi. We went to the school where the students were entirely shocked to see us. Jason caused a storm of giggles by chasing the primary school students he used to play with. At the office, the teachers were nearly as surprised as the folks in the village. Jason told the headmaster, but the headmaster didn’t tell anyone else. I told my kava buddy, but she didn’t tell anyone else.
More kava
There is a certain poetry in spending the last two days in Melsisi in the convent. We started our time on Pentecost there, it fits that we should finish there as well. We spent the weekend lazing about in the convent with Alexandra. Sunday was church, which we were late to. I guess we were continuing that tradition as well. After church we walked back to the village and met up with Jason’s family. We ate with them and hung out all afternoon.
Every night we were on Pentecost we drank kava. We didn’t drink a shell here or there either, we drank like we were going to drown ourselves. Jason says its the last time he’ll get good kava. He also told me it would be sweet. The first might or might not be true but the second was definitely false. (Though, I’ll agree that it tastes better on the island than in Vila.)
Airport goodbyes
This trip was great. It gave me closure to my time on Pentecost, especially since I didn’t feel like I had that closure when I left last year. The competitive part of me enjoyed being on the positive side of some comparisons to other volunteers and it was nice to be complimented. It was nice to feel loved and missed by our community there. I know if we ever manage to return, doors will be open to us.

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