WHAT UUUUP? We’re back on Nargana. (That’s why he’s able to email today.)
How long have I been out here? There’s literally no sense of time here. People usually don’t even know what day it is, and neither do I.
Don’t really know what to tell you. Tikantiki is sick. Probably one of the most spread out of the pueblos. A lot of the other islands have houses that are super close together but we’ve got a big old front yard that goes right down to the water, and space in the back. We live in a little concrete house. It’s small with just one room that is divided by cane pole walls, which are cool. And yes, we sleep in hammocks. I don’t think there is a mattress on this island. Also, our bathroom hangs over the water.
|Our little house.|
|Our front yard..beach front property.|
Almost nobody speaks Spanish here. There are a few people, and most of the kids are learning it now, but all the older people and the young bloods don’t know squat. It’s hard to teach but near about every day we go out with the First Counselor of the ward, Edilio, and he translates for us. I’ve somewhat learned this language, but it’s kind of impossible. They have a different number system for coconuts, sticks, mangoes, and fish. Everything is weird, but there is a lot of Spanish mixed in.
We also spend a lot of our time doing service…going back and forth to the Monte, with whoever needs to go there, and doing other projects. There is a man that lives here that owns a tiny island nearby, and has been working to make it bigger for about the last ten years. We put down trash, then rocks, then wood, then sand. It seems to be working.
|Working on the Monte.|
We also meet with a member, Leni, every day to read scriptures and she teaches us Kuna and tells us the news in the pueblo. She told us the other day about her first time going to the city a few months ago. Most of these people have never left the island. She said she was so scared of cars and escalators and buildings and everything- haha. She’s awesome though.
The kids are legit wild children. They don’t wear clothes and they run around with sticks or on all fours most of the time. They chase iguanas up trees to eat them. The other day I caught a huge crab and showed it to Leni´s 4 year old daughter to scare her, but instead she grabbed it from me and took it to her house then came back eating it.
We’ve been to the Monte and the river many times. Monte is so sick here. Mangoes on mangoes on mangoes. I’ve been eating way too many. Literally we go out to find them and there’s a thousand on the ground and they are constantly falling from the trees. There’s crocs here too. They always say to be careful in the river because there’s buccos. And sometimes they come on the island but I haven’t seen any. There’s a little island behind the little island that’s behind the main island and they live there too. Also sea turtles! Saw two on the way to the monte on Saturday. And you can eat them. So if I feel so inclined, I do plan on killing one…but probably I won’t feel so inclined.
|Our transportation to and from the Monte.|
We had Zone Conference last week so we all went to Playon Chico like two hours away. We had a slow boat and the waves were huge. Thought I was going to die. That was super fun though. We slept in the congress house (the native church on the islands) there that night which was kind of spooky, but dope.
|Sleeping at the Congress House|
Church here is kind of crazy, but fun. We only had about 20 people out the first week I was here, but it’s been getting better, and yesterday we had like 40. People come and then after sacrament about half of them leave, then some come back, others leave, more come back. The kids are running around and screaming the entire time and everything is in Kuna, so I hardly understand anything. After Sacrament meeting, sometimes we have class, and sometimes they just do it later in the day.
Out on this little island, with people that have very little, if any, connection to the rest of the world, I have been remembering a scripture that I read in the Book of Mormon about Heavenly Father promising that the gospel would spread to ends of the earth…even the islands of the sea. Heavenly Father keeps his promises to his children…even a small group of Kuna Indians on a tiny island off of Panama…and so we always need to trust Him. It is so cool that the gospel is here!
I will stop writing now because there’s just too much to say. We have a baptism in the next few weeks. Oh, and Elder Taylor, my companion, is awesome and everything is good.
Elder Gwagwa Abgan
(They don’t have a word for green either so my name means ‘color of the iguana.’ And g´s are pronounced like k's.)