Christmas in Northern Vanuatu, Day 7: A quiet Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Today, on Christmas Eve, I awoke at 6am to the unfortunate yet familiar wails of a cry. In Vanuatu, when a person dies, family and friends gather to cry over the body, and I recognized the mournful wails all the way from across the road.

As I pulled some laundry off the line in front of Eve’s house, I asked a woman walking by who had passed away. She said it was the mother, who had been sick yesterday and went to the hospital, but returned home last night when she was feeling better. This morning, she didn’t wake up. She was young, with a few young school-aged children, and it was unexpected. When I told Eve, we both were saddened by the fact that this family’s Christmas was starting off so sadly.

Annalisa, Frances, Eve and I started off our Christmas Eve with pancakes and a brief marathon of Game of Thrones before getting a lazy start on the day.

After getting some work done, we headed off to the Indian restaurant that I visited yesterday, as we discovered they had wifi. We hoped it would be a decent connection. Along the way, we saw all of the Chinese-run stores were open, which is a majority of them, making Luganville seem more bustling than you’d expect for Christmas Eve.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken tikka masala and benefited from the fastest wifi that Luganville has to offer. Any place where I can access Gmail in non-html mode is a fast connection.

Annalisa and I stayed longer than the rest of the group, and the restaurant catered its Western music to us, while also including a Bislama remake of “Flashlight” by Jessie J. I cannot find this song on Youtube, but when I do, I’m excited to share.

At one point, a young Ni-van girl, about 8 years old, comes in and buys a handful of loose cigarettes, most likely for her family outside. I am so conditioned to living here that the only reason I looked up from my laptop was because the girl was terrified of the dog sleeping on the doorway that she had to get the restaurant’s owner to shoo it away for her. Not the fact that the girl was buying a handful of cigarettes at age 8. Just that she was terrified of a sleeping dog that seemed like it would do no harm.

Annalisa and I head back to Eve’s and Frances and I end up playing a few hours of Just Dance, projecting videos from my computer against Eve’s living room wall. Eve’s small grey kitty was very confused at the entire situation, often swatting at images on the wall, assuming they were 2D lizards that he was unable to catch.

After properly exhausting ourselves, we took showers and crashed. Santa wouldn't be coming tonight, but tomorrow was Christmas day, so we had to get our rest.