Christmas in Northern Vanuatu, Day 13: I'm hot blooded, check it and see. I got a fever of a 103*F.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

This morning we get up at our own pace. Colleen’s family is AOG (Assembly of God) and they have been holding church service almost every morning and evening leading up to the New Year. I woke up feeling miserable, so we decide to take it slow today.

I go to the faucet and brush my teeth, which garners the attention of a few neighborhood kids, who are playing near Colleen’s house. One of the younger boys, who is maybe four or five years old, stares at me and I pause. I tell him to go grab his toothbrush and we’ll brush our teeth together. He and I load our brushes with toothpaste and I show him how to go up and down and round and round, and brush the tongue if he’s feeling fancy. Colleen sits back and watches, and when he runs off, she tells me that I can throw that on my VRF (our report explaining what we have done with the community). Ha.

We sit on Colleen’s kitchen stoop and watch the kids play. She points out a little boy named Sam, telling me how he’s a “bush boy” who occasionally acts like he was raised by wolves. She laughs as she runs and screams wildly, but then once he decides he wants a popsicle from the local store, he enlists his mom to escort him because he’s scared of other people.

I hold Darwin, Colleen’s cat, in my arms, and she is super cuddly, nuzzling her face under my breast. Colleen thinks it’s because Darwin was pulled away from her mama too soon, so she’s always looking for a nipple. This becomes a recurring theme, with Darwin constantly nuzzling herself in and around our boobs.

Colleen's kitchen

Colleen’s bush kitchen is large and quite nice, situated on a concrete foundation beside her house. Out in front of it, she has a small table that she uses as a dish washing station, and it’s under a natangura cover, which makes for a nice shade. She mentions that her host dad has plans to install a bench just outside, which would make for a nice hangout in the shade. Inside she has plenty of space, which she can use basically as a shed, where she can store her diving gear. On the far end of the kitchen, there’s a small open fire stove and a large, albeit short, table filled with her pantry staples.

I was jealous how Colleen was able to store things like produce and oatmeal openly on the kitchen counter without fear of rats gobbling everything up. Colleen explained that her rats, while annoying, were courteous enough to not eat her food, instead nibbling at random things in her house like her hairbrush and focusing on gathering her hair to create a nest. She reiterates how surprised she was to find a lack of evidence of rats in her home yesterday evening. I told her that with Darwin there, the mama rat must have thought Colleen’s house was no longer a good place to raise her kids.


As I do a lot of baking at site, Colleen was excited for my visit so I could give her some tips. Originally, we planned to bake a massive chocolate chip skillet cookie, but we needed brown sugar. After a string of people ran around the village for us seeking it out, they returned with raw sugar, and while it is brown, it isn't what we needed. So we switched our plan to brownies. Flexibility is key, after all, to be a successful PC volunteer. I helped her create a bush oven setup in a cast iron pot over her fire, and soon enough, we had a chocolatey treat to snack on.

The Presbyterian church in Vinmavis

When I felt enough energy to walk around, we took a grand tour of Colleen’s village. She showed me the aid post and she pointed out the various stores in the village, as well as the houses that make and sell coconut oil, cacao, and sandalwood. After just a brief non-exhausting walk, I was exhausted. My illness was making me so tired and achy, and while the walk was without incline, I felt so tired.

When we returned to Colleen’s, I took my temperature and saw I had a fever of 103*F. After talking with the PC doctor on the phone, I started on antibiotics and continued on my ibuprofen. I then spent the rest of the day lying back on the mat of her living room, staring up at the ceiling.

It's a nice ceiling.

We’re again invited to church service in the evening, but we pass, as now Colleen is coming down with a small cold as well. We stay in and head to bed early.