MONTHLY LETTERS

May 21, 2004

We have been here in Nevis for a little over two weeks now. Some things have taken a little adjustment, and others will take much more, but on the whole, I would say we have settled into a workable routine.

The climate is one of the biggest adjustments. It is just very hot, no matter how you look at it. Air conditioning is not a top priority for most living here. We have window units in two of our bedrooms, and run them continuously. We have yet to see a utility bill, but I tend to think it will be fairly high.

No one has clothes dryers here, so we line dry everything. The people that lived in our home before us had the insight to put a line inside the house. The line goes the entire length of our hallway, and with a family of 6, it is always in use. I have taught the boys to take things out of the washing machine, and hang them on the line. When they are done drying, they also take them off the line and move them to the correct room to be put away. They are wonderful helpers, and really make things much easier for us.

Our home has three bedrooms. One for us, one with two double beds for the kids to share, and one that acts as our schoolroom. We have been having a great time with our schoolwork here. In addition to their language arts, math, Latin, and other basic subjects, we are doing a very in-depth study of the ocean and explorers. We are currently on tide-pool life and Vikings. Their notebooks are filling up with summaries and pictures of Pagoo, the hermit crab, and Long boats.

We have seen a number of neat sea creatures while exploring in the ocean here: sea cucumbers, a variety of starfish, rays, and anemones. Kory rigged up a float to take into the ocean. We all hang on and float out together, while some take turns going down with their goggles to look around. It is a fascinating world under the water’s surface.

We have made a number of friends here. The family that lives above us also has 4 children. Two that are near the boy’s age, and two that are older. The kids have spent much of their free time outside with these two children, and have formed true friendships with them. It has helped make the transition here a little easier, I believe.

The island people are sometimes a little difficult to understand. They all speak English (or so I am told) but the accent is a very heavy “Jamaicanish” one, and they say things like “me no know” for I don’t know. That combined with speaking very fast and not enunciating the words we do know, creates a challenge. We have turned to the wrong hymn more times than the right one in church, and never know where they are reading the scripture from. From what I hear, it will get easier. We’ll have to see about that. 17 days hasn’t made a difference yet.

The open-air market is on Saturday. People show up with all sorts of things to sell. This is where we buy vegetables, fruits, local meats, and fish. The vegetable lady was very helpful to us. She showed us how to prepare things like Christophene (a locally grown prickly vegetable similar to a cucumber) and green bananas. In the meat section, we bought some cuts of beef and goat. That was a unique experience. He brought out the back end of a goat carcass (skinless legs dangling from a ribcage) for us to examine, and upon approval, he proceeded to hack at it with a machete until he got the size I wanted.

School is going very well for Kory. He has A’s in all his courses so far. He passed his first exams Monday with flying colors, and is studying up for next week. Despite the fun distractions, that’s what we’re here for!