Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ebeye

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.

2 comments:

vidzee said...

Hello! You have an interesting website. It is nice to visit here.

John said...

I hope you'll be joining them on the basketball court soon, or at least teaching them the joys of frisbee...