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So today we finally made the 13-mile hike to and from the "President Fokon'tany" (local government guy); left at 4am and got back just in time for lunch! Which was good, because man was I worn out! I'm sure it was also good my headman, Papan'moana, walked the hike with me. Even he lost the path while it was still dark and we spent a lot of time zig-zagging in the bushes and thorns! Who knows where I would have ended up if it was just me.

After the challenge of walking over large ocean rocks for the last few kilometers to get there (which really slowed me down, but not Papan'moana), I told Papan'moana we should hike over the hills on the way back. It was good and bad. At one point I got stuck in a mud pit with the mud above my knees and I had to pull and squelch my way out of it. That was the worst mud I've ever been stuck in! It took over 15 min just to figure out how to get out of the mud and get moving forward again! But the rest of the overland path was better than the ocean rocks, and we made decent time. And we got the paperwork we needed (though I had to hand-copy several of the forms, because they had run out), so the trip was a success! I think I might've preferred to wait around at the DMV instead though, haha! -Adam
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4 days ago

We've had a great day celebrating Matimu's birthday yesterday! Still, so hard to believe he's already 7 years old! Matimu started the day with egg sandwiches for breakfast, he got his first snorkel and flipper set as birthday gifts, we played on the beach and built sand-castles, ate mac n cheese for lunch *and* dinner, shared a great birthday cake and sodas celebration with the rest of the village, built legos, and had a water gun fight. He ended the day by watching Star Wars IV. A fun-filled day, every part of it special treats, things that don't get to happen often. When Matimu received his snorkel set in the morning, he said, "this is going to be the best day ever!" For him, I think it was. :-) ... See MoreSee Less

7 days ago

Tomorrow morning I have to head out from our house at about 5am, to hike to the southern part of the island where they have the only "government office" on Nosy Mitsio, to get some paperwork for our visas. It's about a 13 mile hike (round-trip), but I haven't walked that far down there for a while, so I hope I don't lose the path! I hope to get the paperwork done and come back home in time for lunch! -Adam ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

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Haha, well, now it turns out I'm *not* going tomorrow! Our headman also needs to visit down there and he really wants to coordinate our trip so that we walk there together. (At least this way I definitely won't have to worry about finding the right path.) But our headman isn't available tomorrow, so we're delaying the trip until later. I got a hold of the President Fokon'tany (that's the title of the "neighborhood" government representative) and he said it's ok and he'll still be around later, so I just pray that's true! With him living so far away (and being a government representative here is definitely *not* a full-time job, sometimes he's away with other work for months at a time), I just hope we're not missing a window of opportunity! But that's definitely a regular aspect of life here: being ready for frequent last-minute changes of plans! -Adam

So, the new plan is to hike down there tomorrow morning. Only now we're leaving at 4am! Our headman wants to get there and back quickly.

We've been so thankful to have Amelia with us over the past six months! She's taught Matimu so much and we really enjoyed having her around. Thanks Amelia for all your hard work! We're sad you have to leave us today, but have a safe, smooth trip! We're praying for you! ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

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