I finally got around to downloading pictures off both my camera and Elder Clarke's. It is now catch up time for the last few weeks of activities.
We have been wanting to go to a cultural show which would highlight local dances and music. We had seen an advertisement for the Gef Pago Show and thought this would be the dancers from Gef Pago Village in Inarajan on the south end of the island. This is a demonstration village showing the housing and activities of an early Chamorro Village. We have been wanting to go through but have not made it there. We thought the show would give us a glimpse of the village. Well were we wrong. Turns out that the show was celebrating the 10th year of a school in Inarajan which developed a program to teach the youth the songs and dances of their culture. The performers were all junior high and high school kids. They were presenting a story of keeping the culture alive. A lot of the story came from the songs that were sung in the Chamorro language. I was fortunate enough to have one of the teachers from the school sitting next to me and he would lean over and tell me what the song was about. I really enjoyed the performance, especially the young men. They were so animated and lively! We also had a wonderful Chamorro meal before the show started. It was really an enjoyable evening.
I got a reminder that the dominate religion for the Island is Catholic. It was really quite refreshing to have them start their evening with a prayer. This was followed by a song that was a traditional blessing.
The young ladies were a lot more subdued. The decoration on their grass skirts was quite interesting. I can't remember what it is that they used but the flowers were woven out of the plant they use to weave the baskets and hats you see all over the tropics.
One Saturday we decided to go check out a few possibilites for sightseeing when my parents come in August. We headed south and on the way decided to stop at the big latte at Adelup Point. There is a government complex here but the attraction for us was the big latte. This was built with the idea that it would be like the Statue of Liberty in New York. It is something that can be seen from afar and is somewhat of a landmark. It was funded by children saving there pennies in latte banks. The view was quite spectacular from inside it.
Our next stop was the Talifak Bridge. This was part of the El Camino Real during the Spanish era of Guam. The bridge was built in 1785 and is now known as the Old Spanish Bridge.
We later stopped at the San Antonio Bridge which is another part of the old spanish road. This part is located in the main area of Hagatna. The river and canal was diverted after WWII so this is the only part of the old spanish roadway remaining in the central Guam area.
We had seen this tree the day that we went to the "Secret Beach" for our sunset picnic but traffic was heavy and we were unable to get a picture. We wanted to go back and get a picture before it lost its color. Unfortunately, we waited too long. This is a Flame Tree. A week earlier the tree was totally reddish orange and was absolutely gorgeous. We see the Flame Tree all over the island but had not seen any as colorful as this one.
We recently had a Branch Bar-B-Que and the Primary had organized some games for the kids. You cannot see it too good but this picture is of Coconut Bowling. It was so fun to watch them bowl. The pins were 2 liter soda bottles that had just a little water in the bottom to make them stable. The kids would roll coconuts in the husks to knock down the bottles. If you are familiar with coconut husks you know that they are not round - they do not roll straight! It was so funny to watch them and quite surprising at how often they actually knocked down the pins.
We have had quite a few Branch dinners lately and I have noticed that Bro. Taiwairbwe is always at the Bar-B-Que doing the cooking. If he is cooking you can be sure the food is going to be good. His son, Junior, is in our Institute group and is one of the boys who did the cooking at our Institute Bar-B-Que. Like father like son. Anyway, it was just too bad that there were not more people in attendance. Oh well. All the more for those of us who were there.
THE START OF A WONDERFUL DAY
We went with the Dowdle's to pick up 8 new Elders. This was at mid-night! I was so disappointed when the batteries in my camera went dead. This is the only picture I was able to get as the first of the elders came through from Customs. It is always such a treat to be able to see these new, excited missionaries arrive. We loaded all of the luggage into the President's truck and hauled it to the Mission Home. As soon as we unloaded Elder Clarke and I headed home for a few hours of sleep. We were back at the Mission Home in the morning to go over financial information during the new missionaries orientation.
We returned to the Mission Home in the afternoon to witness a changing of the guard. It is transfer day and there was a lot of changes going on. This is a combination of new missionaries, seasoned missionaries and "dieing" missionaries. We are so sad that we will be losing 13 Elders and 1 Sister tomorrow. They are going home! I had never heard "dieing" used to describe a returning missionary before. They certainly did not look like they were dieing. They all looked quite happy.
This was just one of several areas that was a massive pile of luggage. Surprisingly, many of those who came out with 2 suitcases are returning with only one. Or not surprising. They have certainly worn out a lot of clothes and shoes.
I am especially sorry to see Elder Walpole go. He is on the right in front. This is one of our Office Elders and I have really enjoyed working with him. He is very bright and so spiritual. I just love listening to him talk about the gospel. Elder Mabey, sitting across from him, was in the office when we first arrived. He also is very special and is going home. We really will miss all of those who are returning home.
Elder Dold is from Placerville, Californian. Another young man who really impressed us with his maturity and sense of responsibility.
These are our winners of the "Celestial" rating for a clean apartment. Before we even started our inspections this month, Elder Garcia was telling us how clean their apartment was. He seemed so excited about it too. We were pleasantly surprised to find that he really had been working hard at getting their apartment spotless. They even arranged the furniture so it actually felt like home. Good job Elder Garcia and Elder Wood.
To end our LOOOONNNNGGGG day we had fun at Institute. We are teaching a Leadership class this summer. I started the lesson out with a game of Concentration. These kids love games and we had fun with it. After Elder Clarke gave the lesson, Sister Hidalgo came in to teach dancing. Elder Clarke thought we would lose kids because I had told them that we would be dancing tonight. Oh contrare. It was fun to watch - we did have a few duck out as soon as the lesson was over but the majority stayed and one even asked if we are going to do it again next week. Sorry, Juliette, we are playing games next week! I like that.