He awoke at 5am and had a prayer about the route he should take. There are only two ways around the island and both had very bad flooding. Our phone rang at 7am with a determined Saimone on the other end, "I'm coming home." We couldn't believe it since the "coconut" news was reporting flooded highways, washed out bridges, and landslides. All day we were anxious for his well being. At one point we called and he sounded a little weary. "Siamone, are you okay?" "Yes, but I am wading the streets in Nadi trying to find a way through to get to the other side because it is too deep to go the rest of the way." Nadi is a major international airport town about 70km from Ba. At our next communication, he was on another transport and now closer and would call us once he was nearing Ba. About dinner time he phoned and had just waded through Ba downtown and was headed our way. What a sweet sight to see this faithful father and husband safely here! We expected just Siamone, but as you can see he had hauled 20 pounds of scriptures, church manuals, and a hymnal in his brief case. His backpack had started with about 15 pounds of dry clothes and arrived with 25 pounds of soggy belongings. Dripping wet from his 11 hours of trekking, swimming, wading and riding, we offered him a "shower" (we're back to 3 cup bucket baths), some dry clothes and a hot dinner.
Between bites we asked more about his incredible journey. He told us of washed out bridges, landslides, fallen trees over the road, and badly damaged villages. He described wading and swimming through streets that had become rivers. At one point, a police boat took pity and ferried him to the other side of town where he could catch another transport. Each leg of the journey had unforeseen challenges of similar nature and somehow through it all, he kept his scriptures and church books dry. We had all been fasting that day for his safety and as we ate and listened to saga of his journey, we were grateful that this dedicated husband and father had made such a great distance and against such odds.
As it was getting dark and he had yet miles to go before he would be home, we ferried him to the last river crossing.
|The Crossing (picture taken the day before)|
At one point during the evening Annie had said to him; "Saimone, you're the man!" In his always humble way, he shook his head and pointed towards heaven. We have endless admiration for this wonderful young man and his family. They are all an example of commitment to family, faith, and self-reliance.
|An earlier picture of the Nairoqo family with cousin Emily (pink blouse)|