Sunday, July 31, 2011


All last week I took my first trip to Ebeye. Ebeye is in the Kwajalein atoll located in the western chain of atolls (I am living on Majuro in the eastern chain) and is about a 45min flight. You get there by a flying to Kwajalein and taking a boat across to Ebeye. Kwajalein is a US military base where they still test missiles and such. In fact there was a test while I was there. They blacked out the island after 8pm and tried to shoot down a missile fired from california. Apparently though something went wrong and it was headed for a popular area so they blew it up mid-flight. Don't worry though it only cost the US taxpayers 100-200 million dollars. While on Kwajalein we also were lucky and got to go to subway on the base. The only fast food for thousands of miles.

Once on Ebeye I was introduced to the parliamentarians representing the island and the traditional king. I soon found out that my counterpart is well connected and knew them all personally. Great news for me and getting things done. We took a tour of the water and sanitation systems which I am sure I will be updating more on that over the year. Lets just say it ain't too good. See picture of the kids playing basketball on the road to the dump. Yes it is burning too in the background and also happens to be the only baseball field on the island.

The next day the Iroij, traditional king, invited us on his yacht to an outer island, Elip for a ceremony where they handed over a boat. It was interesting and we definitely travelled in style. See the picture below of me and the king on the ferry boat to the island with the boat to be handed over in the background. It was small, only 100 or so people on the whole island. They didn't have a dock so we had so get off the big boat to this fiery boat then jump in the water and walk ashore. Once we were all on land we were welcomed into the village by the whole community by singing and shaking hands. We had to shake everyone single persons hand including the kids as we entered off the beach. Then we were given a lei and a fresh coconut, not a bad way to visit a place. Next was speeches and big meal. Check out what I had to try and eat with my own personal community member fly swatter. Was a bit strange eating a whole meal with 100 people watching and a women waving a banana leave over my food the whole time but at least it was not for me but for the king. After that we walked out to a lake on the island which was a bit strange for it small size then headed back. On the way back we saw whales and dolphins. The Marshallese told me this was a sign that something big and important was about to happen. I told them that maybe the water and sanitation system would start working. They all laughed hysterically.

Eneko island

went out to eneko island last weekend with for the night with another advisor and my supervisor from Australian who was here visiting. It is a small island, or as my friend Nick says, ilet since it is still part of the Majuro Atoll with maybe only two families on it. Small, i kayaked from one end to the other in about 10 minutes.. Anyway it was great weather with rains on and off. Caught a double rainbow just after snorkeling

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

drinking water?

Anyone want a drink? This is a shot of one of the Majuro water reservoirs. Yumm.

Work is going well, had a visit from my boss and AusAid this week and looking at upcoming projects here. I am a bit more settled in my house now, had the delivery of my a couch last week and now have a great place to sit. Also had some fans and screen doors installed so am starting to feel more relaxed at home, no internet yet though. Although, I did see my first rat, he ate all my cucumber and tomato seedlings, Ahh.

Will be going out to a small island this weekend and be back just in time to download and watch the end of Le Tour about a day after it actually happens. Go Cadel! Then will be off on tues again, flying over to the second island I will be working on, Ebeye. We get to go through a US airforce base which is there and apparently there is a subway and good shopping, like a little mini amerika. My counterpart says I will have a traditional welcome out there which is cool. He knows the senators and I am sure means a big party with lots of food. Anyway will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Due to popular demand here are some slightly better shots of my new home for the next year. This is the back porch onto the beach, the sunrise this morning, and me.

Things are well here, has been quite rainy. Had our first miny crisis at work today when one of the drinking water pumps failed. It was installed 10 yrs ago and never had any maintenance done, not even a change of oil. Woops. Off to it...

Monday, July 11, 2011

fisherman's day

The week I arrived here in Majuro there happened to be a holiday, fisherman's day. Its supposedly the only place in the world to honor fishermen with their own holiday. The big event of the weekend was the annual Billfish tournament and I managed to get myself onto a boat on sat and sunday. It was awesome to be on a boat with true locals who really knew what they were doing. We brought in marlin, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, and others. Check out this fish we caught on day two. It was the smallest one.

Sunday bike ride

Went for a sunday morning ride down to the end of the island, only about 30 miles rt with two new friends, possibly the only other bike enthusiasts on the island. Saw an unussal sight. Anyone ever seen a boat built out of a wheel barrow and 4in rigged insulation. Paddle made of palm tree branch.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

first week

The end of my first full week has been great and I on the high end of optimism. I am sure I will soon learn really what is going on here and get jaded and pessimistic, but for now it is all smiles. Besides the first week flying by there has been tons great initiatives happening here that I will get to be a part of. I have been fortunate to walk in here with multiple wheels already turning with the development of the sector and improvement of the water supply and sanitation systems. There is a policy process that has already begun and at least two donor funded projects that are expecting my input to finalize. My counterparts at the Water and Sewer Company also have some good energy. Like me they are also somewhat new and young and believe we can really do something here. It is the weekend, so see ya!

Here is a picture of one my counterparts Wani in our office.

The view from my new place on to beach and ocean. Well really it is the lagoon on the interior of the atoll. See google earth to see what I mean. Sorry for the picture quality as it was taken from my phone. Will send better copy once I get my bags unpacked.

Life is tough.
lv jesse

My new home

Not bad eh?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I'm back, sort of...

Hey all, so I am back, online that is, and decided to get this blog going again. Of course this means that I am in fact gone back overseas. So...

Here I am in the Marshall Islands. enjoy and keep in touch.