Sep 20, 2013
In our back garden, and in the front garden, we’ve grown a variety of flowers this summer, including black-eyed susans, roses, lilies and hydrangea. The dogwood tree beneath our front porch bloomed in the spring, and the gardenia bushes that the girls gave me for my birthday a few years back were bursting with a hundred flowers.
Last year, our attempt to grow daisies didn’t work, but this spring Erin planted bunches of plants that Joanne brought down from Cleveland. Erin also put in potted plants from the garden center, thinking they were a variety of daisy. One went up front, one out back.
But all summer, the plants just stayed green. Not so bad, of course, as the green growth and crinkly leaves gave color and texture to the yard. But, no flower buds.
We’d given up hope that these were ever going to flower, and Erin pulled the one in the back garden to give the black-eyed susans more space to grow. (The white ginger rhizome from that last year gave us fragrant flowers didn’t survive the wet spring.) The plant up front stayed, because we were distracted by a project to put rocks between our house and the neighbor’s house, to fix the muddy mess caused by all the rain running down from the hill behind our houses.
And, then, that plant up front flowered. It’s a daisy after all.
It’s been more than a few years since we last wrote to our host family on Paama. This spring, Erin put together a carton of hats — a friend was going home to Niger to visit his family, and Erin had asked at her office if anyone had unused hats (it’s sunny and hot in Saharan Niger!), and in one day she’d collected more than a hundred caps — some photos of the kids, and a note from us with our best wishes.
This week, a letter arrived from Paama, written by Enna – she’s spelling her name with an ending h now (read Naming rights for context).
Hallo ol famliy Dady Anton/Mamy Erin mo sista mo brata. Mifala i wantem talem bigfala Thank you long pasel wei yufala i bin sendem. I kam, mifala i glad tumas taem mifala i recivem. Mifala i glad tu wei yufala stap tinabaot mifala everi famliy long house even everi famliy long Liro mifala i glad tumas.
And she shared news about each of the family members: Terry is 25 years old and had gone to New Zealand to pick apples. Mereva is 15 and in the 10th grade at Vaum Junior Secondary School. And Enna is 21 and working in the Liro Health Center (where Erin had spent most of her time during our time as Peace Corps Volunteers in Vanuatu) as a student nurse.
If seeing the daisy bloom was the highlight of the summer, then getting that letter from Paama was the highlight of the year.
Anton Zuiker ☄
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