Congratulations in Order: I am a Mother Again

Congratulations, Colin!  You finally got the brothers and sisters you always wanted.  Today, I announce that you have a new brother, or technically speaking, a few new brothers.  I have adopted a son named Kaltoi, otherwise known as Carl.  Kaltoi is older than most children at the age of adoption, as he is around 35. But, nobody knows for sure.  Birthdays aren’t well documented among Vanuatu’s remote islands.  Carl is married, and has four children: two boys and two girls.  That means you are an uncle too.

According to tribal island tradition, which is known as Kastum, you are also the brother of all of his brothers and cousins.  This means you are the uncle of all of his brothers’ and cousins’ children too, and you’d better start saving for Christmas presents.  I’m sure the village chief will receive you well, as Jake, and other villagers are intrigued by you.  Jake and his son built you a traditional bow and arrow of your own.  I have it on the boat for safe keeping until I can figure out how to ship it since the bow is about six feet long.

I think you should come to Vanuatu as soon as possible toIMG_1360 meet your new relatives, especially Carl.  Their village is also our new second home.  It’s a coastal village called Fartavo that sits, on Banam Bay, on the story book island of Malakula.  Actually, I’m wondering if they adopted us.  At any rate, the life there is simple, and the people are loving.  I think you’ll love it. Maybe they’ll teach you how to carve a “dug-out” canoe from a tree trunk.

On a more serious note, Kaltoi’s own mother passed when he was five, and it’s clear that it left him wondering what it would be like to have a real mother because he calls me “mom” as though I had brought him up. Kaltoi says his father did his best, but he loves being a mother’s son, and I love him as one of my own even though he’s as ornery as a teenager. When my things disappear, I find them in Kaltoi’s cabin.  Sound familiar, Colin?  Sometimes, I have to remind Kaltoi that he is actually a grown man with a family back in Fartavo.

Welcome to the family, kaltoi.

 

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Published by: So the World Goes

What began as a data collection endeavor, following Cyclone Pam, has become an adventure that has taken me from Vanuatu's central islands on to the north, and back, spending time in remote island villages and cosmopolitan cities, all while living on boats. Since I arrived in August, Vanuatu has experienced a 7.3 magnitude earthquake and the jailing of 14 government officials, for corruption, the last of which brought a UN warning of riots. Luckily the latter didn't happen. But, from flying fish to the red glow of volcanoes, I wish this waking dream could last forever. Frequency of Posts While the intention was to blog almost daily, either being at sea or experiencing limited internet access, has put me way behind on posting. The upside is that there are still many stories to share, the lack of internet access being a story all its own. That said, life in a developing nation that toggles between old the world and the new, is both romantic and frustrating. So, please be patient as I must also be. Contact me at lydiaajohnson@gmail.com

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