Monday, October 3, 2011

Where in the World are the Marshall Islands?

This is usually the first question people ask me when I tell them our daughter is working as a teacher in the Marshall Islands. After spending lots of time on Wikipedia, I can tell you that there are over 100 islands in the country and they are located on the equator between Hawaii and Japan. During her first month, DD was training and living on the capital island of Majuro. There are large buildings and banks and resorts and schools and homes there much like most of the touristy islands we are familiar with in the Caribbean.

After her month of training, she was assigned to a remote island. It is very, very, very, very small. To get there, she had to fly from the capital island to a second island ( The plane goes once a week.) From there she took a boat that is owned by the islanders and goes whenever there is a need from the 2nd island to the island she is now living on. The boat ride lasts about an hour. There is no dock, so she was dropped off as close to the shore as possible with her bags and boxes and waded into shore.

The island she is living on has 150 residents, 50 of whom are students in grades K-8 at the 3 room schoolhouse. There is also a church. She is living with a family at one end of the island. There are no roads or vehicles.

There is no electricity or running water. No computers, no TV, no cell phone, no shower. It rains daily, so the rainwater is collected in large (900 gallon) plastic containers. This is used for everything. Drinking water is boiled. There is no store on the island, no doctor, no clinic, no dentist. The residents fish for their meals and eat lots of fruit and coconuts from the native trees. Spam is also very popular. Apparently it comes in lots of flavors. Who knew?? Pancakes and donuts are breakfast staples.
The kids like to play ball games, esp. volleyball. DD goes snorkeling and swimming a lot. There is almost no English spoken. Our daughter is the ESL teacher. So she reads a lot and has taught her host family to play some of her favorite card games, like Speed and Kings in the Corners. The sun rises and sets about 6:30 everyday and the temp is always about 83 - 85 degrees. Very hot and very humid. Lots of mosquitos, too.

Most of us think about owning our own private island or sailing off somewhere to get away from it all. After hearing about my daughter's experiences, I've decided to stay put in Wisconsin -- at least until the snow gets too deep or the freezing cold gets to me.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an experience your daughter is having! This will change her perspective on life forever, I believe. I admire her willingness to give up all the "creature comforts". Thanks for sharing this--makes my day seem pretty easy.