Leslie’s Letters, Marquesas, Oct 2, 2015

October 2, 2015

Dearest Mom – Glad dad set-off okay on his annual fishing trip. I’m sure he was very excited to hang out with his long time buddies again, catch some fish, and on top of it relate some great stories about his recent trip to the Marquesas…which, of course, is a hunter’s and fisherman’s paradise.

Ron Dennis fishing just after returning from the Marquesas. He was inspired!
Ron Dennis fishing just after returning from the Marquesas. He was inspired!

At the beginning of this week, after a week vacation, Trent and Bryce were very discouraged restarting school. They were predominantly frustrated by the difficulty of not understanding what the teachers were wanting and what was required of them due to their still limited French. One of Bryce’s teachers got so angry with Bryce having incorrectly completed his homework by wrongly writing his notes in the front of his notebook instead of the back that she ripped the pages out of his notebook and shredded them in front of the class. It was a low-point for Bryce.  We set a meeting with that teacher for next week and discussed with boys the possibility of arranging some of their more friendly classmates to spend a moment after class to explain their homework assignments, etc.

Then there was the incident when Trent was playing volleyball after school Wednesday and the other boys were purposely hitting the ball hard at him.  They told Trent that he could use anything to keep the ball in the air including his feet. So the next time the ball came at him, Trent kicked it and it accidentally slammed into an older boy’s face. There was a bit of tittering/laughing by the others, but Trent felt badly.  He approached the older boy and asked him if he was okay. The older boy reached out to shake his hand, but instead slapped Trent hard on the face. Trent fought back tears.  Not wishing to show any weakness, he stayed a while longer to show that the older boy’s action was not right and that he would not be intimidated. The older boy has since not aggressed Trent and there seems to be no hard feelings. Trent is more wary now.

Trent in English class. He is all smiles in that class!
Trent in English class. He is all smiles in that class!

The bully that was taunting Bryce while you were here has fortunately been called off through school administrators. However, Bryce says girls come up to him and ask if he wants to fight. Go figure. On the bright side, it’s teaching Bryce to be a little more politically savvy…instead of vying for the position of top dog all the time, he is being forced to learn how to exercise humility to his benefit, employing patience over expedience – something that will benefit him his entire life – a skill that even his father didn’t develop until becoming a VP at Sony.

Note the boy in the middle giving photographer the finger.
Note the boy in the middle giving photographer the finger.

Due to these events, I was not in great humor yesterday. I worry and fret over my boys and want to protect them. Eric has really stepped up to make sure that the school knows we expect our boys to be treated well and that we are not absentee parents.

It is a crazy business living on a boat. The water pump failed and Eric had to pull it out due to my mistake of not turning off the pump when I left the boat.  Unbeknownst to me, the water tank had gotten so low that the freshwater pump kept running, for 6 hours, non-stop, trying to pump nonexistent water. So now we don’t have running water in the bathrooms or kitchen sink, just the two foot pumps. Bummer. Of all the replacement parts that Eric brought along, a water pump was not one, nor repair kits, so Eric has been trying to figure out how to go about ordering a replacement pump and repair kits without having it cost an arm and a leg. We need it before our next visitors so we have to go through a customs agent in Papéeté to import it without paying customs as a ‘boat in transit’ and to insure that it doesn’t get held up for months in Papéeté. Even so, it looks like we won’t have running water for a month or so. Ugh!

Nuku Hiva dancers rehearsing for Matava'a
Nuku Hiva dancers rehearsing for Matava’a

We attended a Marquesan dance rehearsal last night. Dancers from Taiohae and Taipi Vai are rehearsing almost every weeknight until they depart for the December Matava’a Marquesan Arts Festival in Hiva Oa. The boys and Eric are on the fence about participating. I’m for sure not going to dance. Even if he and the boys are not good enough to dance in the festival, Eric thinks it’s a good use of time in the evenings to learn and participate in the culture instead of sitting around on the boat doing nothing special. Good point, right?

Aakapa's patron Saint is Saint Therese. She guards the bay.
Aakapa’s patron Saint is Saint Therese. She guards the bay.

This weekend is getting full. We organized “movie night” tonight for the boarding students at the boys’ school. And we will leave early tomorow morning for Aakapa by car. I may or may not sing at their important Saint Therese celebration on Sunday. We’ll see. It’s the sole reason why we’re going, but no one seems to know how to appeal to the bishop about my singing for them. I’ve prepared a condensed version of Mozart’s ‘Alleluia’ to be sung A Capella. We’ll see if the bishop can be persuaded. It’s blustery and rainy today; cool unlike yesterday’s heavy humidity and hot weather. My ladies’ English class went well as did out-rigging. Felt good to get into the water and engage in some heavy-duty exercise. Thinking of you always….

flags on cloudy day

Leslie Rigney

One thought on “Leslie’s Letters, Marquesas, Oct 2, 2015”

  1. We’re REALLY enjoying reading personal letters with your discussion of every day life – it gives us the real flavor; unexpected boat problems, teacher expectations, kid problems, maturing incidents for the boys, singing opportunities, outrigging for Leslie …

    Did you learn through the grapevine that Allison and Grant had their 8 lb. baby boy (Cooper) 3 weeks ago? Everyone’s healthy/happy/& a bit sleep deprived.

    Bisous!

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