September 7 – September14

Sweet!  That’s the only way to describe a bite of sugar cane.  Pita brought in a stalk of sugar cane and taught us how to peel it and eat it. Well, it was more like drinking than eating.  You take a bite, and the sugar just pours out as you squeeze the cane in your mouth.  It was delicious!  The cane pulp you throw away, brush your teeth with (seriously), feed to the pigs, or use as fuel.

Pita with the sugar cane he brought Elder Whitehead
Pita with the sugar cane he brought Elder Whitehead
Chowing down on sugar cane
Chowing down on sugar cane

Then Dan brought in coconuts so we could try coconut milk.  They scraped away the rough outer shell, punched out the three holes, Glen ran and got us some straws, and we had the perfect island beverage.  It was almost fizzy, good tasting, and the one stop shop for anything you need from medicine to hair conditioner.  It was fun to hear Dan, David, Glen and Tetika tell us all the things you can do with coconuts, the tree and its leaves.  They call it the tree of life for good reason.  Plus, they say there’s nothing better than eating lovo with a pig that’s been raised eating coconut. YUM!

Dan and Glen showing us palagis how to drink coconut milk with a straw
Dan and Glen showing us palagis how to drink coconut milk with a plastic straw
How you really drink coconut milk, if you don't want to use a blade of grass as a straw
How you really drink coconut milk, if you don’t want to use a blade of grass as a straw

Tetika also shared something very special with us: a rope made of braided hair! It is generations old, made from the hair of his grandmothers, and is worn as a belt during traditional dances.  Small strands of hair are twisted tightly and braided in a very complicated way.  He said that the darkest strands are from women who used a lot of coconut oil on their hair.  It was absolutely beautiful!

Tawetia and Tetika showing me the beautiful hair rope
Tawetia and Tetika sharing the special rope made of braided hair.

The week wasn’t all fun, games and show and tell — we also had some great institute classes.  We are learning so much!  In a training broadcast we watched Monday, our commissioner of Education, Elder Kim B. Clark, said that to help a student experience “deep” learning, a teacher must be inspired, one who puts on the WHOLE armor of God — every bit of it.  To evaluate how we’re doing with that, he encouraged us to ask ourselves two questions: 1) What am I doing that I need to stop doing? and 2) What am I not doing that I need to start doing? What a great way to evaluate ourselves!  I’ll make a poster of those questions and put it up at the Institute.

One of our lessons this week was about scripture studying.  I used an object lesson a seminary student in North Dakota showed me: an apple may be healthy and delicious, but you have to internalize it (just like the scriptures) to receive any nourishment from it. I don’t know how Manny felt about the lesson, but he sure liked the apple necklace, and modeled it for us until he got hungry and finally ate it!

IMG_0435

We sure have come to love the Young Single Adults who come to the institute! David, Mele an Tetika are some of Elder Whitehead’s best buddies.  They also keep him humble when they win at all the games they play together. They say they let him win once in awhile only so he won’t get too discouraged:)

Elder Whitesocks and his pals David, Mele, and Tetika
Elder Whitesocks and his pals David, Mele, and Tetika

Saturday night was movie night, and we showed “Freetown,” I stopped counting at 38, but so many came it was the first time all the buckets of popcorn were totally eaten.  They even drank all the gallons of punch. Yay!

Sunday evening was our Family Home Evening and dinner at the mission home with all the other senior couples.  Elder and Sister Johansson and Pres layton spoke.  It was such a wonderful evening I didn’t want it to end.  When someone said to all of us that we were here for a reason, I knew it was true.

Being here is a sweet experience for us in more ways than one;)

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