Note: This is the fourteenth of fifteen parts. Click here to read from the beginning.
Somehow, 28 days have passed since I arrived in Majuro, and, as I write, my reality is that I have one day left here. I have a very ambivalent heart and spirit, so it will be hard to tell you what I will and won’t miss.
But, of course, I will give it a try.
There is one thing I absolutely will not miss, and that’s the lack of sanitation. I have seen more trash on the ground and along the shore here, where it literally becomes part of the landscape and weaves itself into coral and jetties, than I have ever seen anywhere in my life. I have killed 12 cockroaches and laid eyes on dozens more. I have also seen 10 rats, not to mention some unspeakables on the beach. So, yes, enough of that.
These are the three things I will miss without qualification: Molly, the island of Eneko and the balmy climate here.
I had actually blocked out that when I leave, Molly is not coming with me. I woke up one morning, remembering, and it made me so sad it was difficult to fall back to sleep. Molly will be home in early summer, though, so I’ve made peace with leaving her behind.
Eneko, though, I likely will never see again. It is the most beautiful, serene place I have ever been, and it was truly sad to drive away from it for the last time yesterday with Steve, the captain of the boat. Eneko, it was a true privilege to know you.
And the steamy, hot climate. Sigh. What can I say? I loved the baking hot sun, sunbathing, swimming, wearing summer dresses and flip flops in January.
Here are all the rest of the things I have mixed feelings about:
Transportation. While there are times that I have missed my car, and I will be happy to zip to the grocery store when I need food, there is something innately satisfying about going to the store on foot with an empty backpack and totes and packing our food home. It’s good exercise, which I always appreciate, but it also makes me feel independent, strong and resourceful. Also, I have enjoyed taking taxis to the places too far away to be walking destinations; paying 50 cents for a ride here and there is incredibly economical and smart.
The culture here. Yes, it is filthy, and people are in need. Most of the dogs limp, and the cats are perpetually hungry, but there is a certain ease and comfort with which people go through their lives that I like to see. It is simple pleasure. Children play volleyball at night with their parents and friends. They play in the fields. Men and women barbecue and talk late into the night in their outdoor kitchens. And there is pride and generosity here. Fierce pride in the country, and loyalty.
The children. Truly a mixed blessing. I love to watch them. I have loved playing with them and getting to know them, but they break my heart too. They need so much and some of them, I have discovered, do know it. They look for ways to befriend the “rubellies”—the white people—in hopes that we will help them, or take them with us when we go. I wish I could take them all.
The lack of resources. It is the dry season here, so water supplies are short. Some families have run out of water. Some laundromats, too. Molly and I work hard to preserve water in the kitchen and in the bathroom. I won’t miss the worry of having no water, but it a good practice to be so completely aware of waste and to practice conservation so scrupulously. With electricity, too. The system here is to put money down for “points” on what’s called the Cashpower system. As you make coffee, run the AC or cook dinner, you see your points decreasing and, at zero, your power shuts off. It makes you think twice about keeping the coffeepot on for an extra hour, just to keep what remains in it warm.
I’m sitting under a tarp next to the sea as I write this. I was sleeping in the sun when a storm approached, and I took cover.
Storms come and go very quickly here, as do many of the people who live here, like the fisherman I can see in port who come for provisions and a rest in this small harbor and then head back out to sea
I guess I have now become one of those people who come and then go.
I take fabulous memories and gratitude with me, and I leave you with my youngest child to educate your children.
Goodbye beautiful island.
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