Buma EliEli Church

Lars Alfredson
Tue 11 Aug 2015 22:14

2015-08-08 Another bright and breezy morning. Donning our “Sunday best”, shorts and crew T-Shirts we take the dinghy down the creek to the jetty opposite the Church. Just as well as my old toe is playing up again having been mercilessly abused on our beach trip.

We’re 10 minutes early, though the faithful are already gathering in and around. Seating ourselves under a nearby tree Raphael approaches us and insists we take a seat in the Church. The main seating consists of 6 inch high long benches, luckily for us we’re seated on some proper pews at the far right hand side of the church, behind some Nuns and next to a very nice lady of certain years.

On the opposite wall the “Father” appears to be taking “Confession” as various members of the congregation kneel and make the sign of the cross while he listens intently.

On the hour the services starts and the choir strike up with wonderful harmony singing in the native tongue although the service is held in English. I subtly click my camera to “movie mode to record the music and hopefully some of the scene although the Sister headdress is blocking the view somewhat.

All is well until the singing stops and I switch off, followed by a melodious “ding” emanating from my camera. The lady on end looks across, I look at my watch in disgust blaming it for the noise. Things continue but I can only use this ruse once more before losing my nerve and leaving it on record for future editing. I’m finally saved when the memory card is pronounced full, fortunately by a light.

When it comes to the “Offering”, taken by a young girl holding a basket standing by the altar, the faithful make their way towards it drop in their cash. I seize the moment of confusion to replace the card in the camera and carry on my subterfuge for the rest of the service.

At the end of the service we are welcomed again and asked if we would tell the congregation about ourselves and our voyage. Muggins gets the short straw as the other two claim English is their second language!

I give them a brief synopsis of seven years on the high seas, though descriptions of ice and snow at the poles may have been a bit lost on most, and thank them for their hospitality.

We are approached for handshakes and chats as we make our way out. We meet one of the Nuns, a tall, thin lady who turns out to be from Croatea, on a four year contract, working in the Clinic and the school.

A local lady English teacher locks onto Shan, then moving outside the “Gang” have gathered including our “wanabee” crew members, Philomena and Salome with another girl proudly sporting the “top” that Shan had given her the day before.

A photo session before Lars and I head for the dinghy ably guided by Freddie, a  delightful, 14 year old, downs syndrome boy who has become somewhat attached to us. Shan elects to walk around the island with the other women and children to the house on the beach we’re moored off.

She also wanted to give our food parcel to the woman we met yesterday with her twins and set of triplets!

While we’re entertaining Freddie aboard, a dugout arrives to tell us Shan is ready to be picked up. Ten minutes later Lars arrives back with a boatload. It’s all the usual gang. Descending like locusts, they sort through the remnants of our freebies and depart sometime later clutching their prizes and waving their fond farewells as we prepare to move off and back to Francis and his village to check on our robbery situation.

There’s a goodly breeze blowing up the Lagoon and with the genoa unfurled we’re soon making 6+knots in 14 to 16 knots of wind. How confident we have become now we’ve been up and down between the reefs several time now on this passage and can follow our previous tracks recorded on the chart plotter.

It’s a very pleasant trip, with a few tacks thrown in for good measure as we weave between the island and the marker posts, finally dropping anchor of the village around 3pm.

Francis and his Uncle Phillip join us for happy hour and to give us the latest news. They have found out where the “Rascals” live and the police raided, but they escaped into the bush.

Meantime as the Gin and red wine are reaching critical mass and with our inability to catch a fish in recent days means we need to go to Auki shopping and visit the Police Station and do our internet business tomorrow.

Bob the Blog

P.S. Should you note some discrepancies in dates it is due to my Blog computer is still being set on UK time making things a little confusing for the easily confused as it changes date depending on whether I write in the morning or afternoon, apologies.