Saturday, September 30, 2006

84th Annual Maui County Fair

This weekend is Fair weekend and we went Thursday evening for a few hours. The County of Maui includes two outer islands, Molokai and Lanai, two smaller islands adjacent to Maui. The Fair is a big event, particularly for those born and raised here. Thursday night was parade night, and I assume the schoolkids who walked in the parade gained free admission. Being an evening parade, this would exlude time off school, so it would probably have excluded my old friend Hugh Wagner, as his motivation in participating in the parade was the half day off school?? In any event, there was lots to eat (several churchs, service clubs, and associations selling local favourites); many horicultural, fruit & vegetable, and craft exhibits; and of course an entertainment tent. The crowds were excellent from our perspective, and the whole thing looked very successful, at least for a first night.

Today, Saturday, we tried a new experience in taking the bus to Kalhui, the major shopping area close to the airport, Costco, Walmart, etc. Marlene wanted to check out the Swap Mart (aka "Flea Market"), and rather than sign out a vehicle, the bus seemed a good alternative. It is a good service and it will get you to several parts of the island. It could even come in handy getting to Rotary and at $1 per ride, the price is right.

We have two new couple today as volunteers, one a repeat and the other first timers, both both from the same hometown, Dallas, Oregon.

Our participants for the next session started arriving today, which means the Dining Room is open again with evening meals served. Having the Dining Room is really like going out to eat every evening, and very enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Half Work Days Are Great

Another Wednesday and even though we have much to get done this week, we only worked a half day today.

This week I was trained to lay a carpet on a lanai (balcony). Some of the carpets are original, about fifteen years, so needless to say, a new one can really spruce up a room. The problem is it is outside work, and it has been very warm and humid this week. With this training I will no doubt become the lanai carpet installer.

I went to Rotary today and Marlene went shopping with a group. I sat beside a lady who is the President and General Manager of the the "five star" resort where Rotary meets. She is also a Director (volunteer) of Hawaii Tourism. She told me they still want people here who spend more, but their advertising is aimed at population segments, moreso than countries. That was a relief to hear, because last year she was the speaker one day at Rotary and she gave statistics on what the spend was from various countries and Canada was at the bottom of the list.

The top picture is of Ed & Agnes Balzer who I referred to two blogs ago. Blogger ate the picture and did so again in my last post. (Three times lucky??) Ed is a retired teacher, volunteered at a Christian School in Budapest, Hungary for three years after retirement and then was interim pastor of a church in Alberta for five years. This is the third time Agnes and he have volunteered here at Haggai. They live in High River, Alberta.

The second picture is of Art Dickman and Marlene. Art lives in Victoria, BC and he is the new men's volunteer supervisor starting Friday. This is his eighth time here in Maui, and I worked with Art last year.

The final picture is of Gene & Sheila Anderson, the current men's supervisor, and his wife from near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They leave for home this weekend after a four months of volunteer service hereat Haggai.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Work Weekend

We did "on call duty" yesterday which involves being on the premises from 6:30am until 10:00pm. That pretty well includes the whole day. There are some work duties which must be done, but it is more of an inconvenience in not being able to plan something with the other volunteers. On the plus side, it is a great opport unity to catch up on college football, which I did. The volunteers organized a "Crazy Whist" card game in which we did get to participate. So it wasn't a bad day overall.

Today we went to church "upcountry", a small church about 3,000 ft up the mountain. Tonight the volunteers had a poolside barbecue (see picture) since the caterer is off because there is a one week break between classes.

Thursday night was convocation and the fellow in the picture with Marlene and me is Bernard, a Pastor from Narobi, Kenya who was a Resident Coordinator for the last class. He is also the Kenya Director of Africa Leadership & Reconciliation Ministries. He was here last year when we first met him, as a participant.

One of the other pictures is Dr Aldo Fontao, his wife and a participant. He is Vice President, Training & Development. Aldo is from Argentina, a cardiologist, a Pastor, Moderator of Presbyterian Church in Argentina, and has been here for the past six years. He is the fellow in the "yellow jeep" DVD that we have shown some of you.

This week we will do projects that can't be completed while there are participants here. Next Sunday we start welcoming the first 60 of a 120 female particpant double class. That will keep the place hopping for five weeks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Half Day Wednesday

Our second Wednesday and I did a Rotary make-up at the same Club I visited last year. Marlene joined a bunch of ladies going shopping - no surprise there, eh!

The speaker at Rotary spoke about the homeless situation both here on Maui and Hawaii in general. We have noticed some tents/makeshift lodging in our travels, but nothing to the extent the speaker outlined. The local Rotary Club is getting involved in the whole affordable housing issue for the island. It is a formidable undertaking because of the cost of housing here. Median price for a single family home is mid US$700m. So there is a wide descrepancy been the haves and have nots.

We had a Pool Dinner and Praise Night on Monday. Once again the Africans got the place rocking! The picture with the large number of people is the African participants. The Bible says you are to use your whole body to praise the Lord, and the Africans have certainly mastered this. Because there is a double class graduating, there are currently seventeen participants from the African continent. The size of the stage didn't allow them to get moving too far, but they sure sang and moved as much as possible. The other picture shows two particpants from Cambodia, one from Viet Nam and one from Thailand. Convocation is tomorrow night.

The couple on the beach are Ed & Agnes Balzer from High River, Alberta. Ed is a retired Teacher/School Administrator. Since retiring, Ed has served for three years at a Christian School in Budapest, Hungary; and five years as an interim Pastor at a church in Alberta. They are serving here at Haggai for a third time and they were here with us last year. Something else unique about this couple is that their son is pastor of their local church in High River. So the son has a standin when he needs pulpit supply.

(Well Blogger ate Ed & Agnes' picture so I will post separately?)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Drive Around West Maui the Right Way

Yesterday being Saturday, and since we are on weekend duty next Saturday, we decided to rent a car and tour West Maui with another volunteer couple. Marlene and I did this drive last year, but apparently did it wrong since we travelled counter clockwise around the island, and the guidebooks say it should be done clockwise?

Actually, after experiencing both, I would say the guidebooks are probably right. The scenery was beautiful and there are several quiet beaches along the way. The picture with the two boats are snorkelling tour operators. The picture with rocks in the background is known as a Blowhole. Waves from the ocean get trapped underneath and forces the waterthrough a hole in the rock, sometimes as high as 20 feet.

This coming week will be graduation for two classes (approx 110 particpants) and there will be a one week break before a class of ladies arrive. One week later a second class of ladies come in. Since rooms need to be deep cleaned, it will be a busy time. We also have a smaller class at present, for future faculty. This course is only for 10 days vs the 28 days for other classes.

Last week we enjoyed four nights of Regional presentations. These are very interesting as the presenters comment on political, economic, religious, culture aspects of their respetive countries. We even a bit of a heated exchange between participants from India and Pakistan over previous politcal differences.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We're Back - Haggai #2

Well we are back in Maui - and this wonderful couple were at the airport to greet us with leis and hugs and greetings.
They are Valerie and Larry Hundeby from Elbow, Saskatchewan. They completed one year here last June. Larry is the Manager of Facilities and he is responsible for all Facilities staff and all volunteers. He reports directly to Head Office in Atlanta. Valerie is Volunteer Coordinator and Guest Services Manager. They were volunteers a few times, before becoming full time staff.

Our trip here went relatively smoothly, at least compared to last year. We did have a one hour delay in Toronto, but that was because of poor weather in Chicago, where we changed planes. We were only 25 minutes late here in Maui, and on a plane that held over 450, I think we were the first to grab our luggage and get out of the airport.

There are eight volunteers here who we met last year. There are three other couples from Ontario. The current classes of participants total close to 120, so the place is busy. They all graduate and leave the end of next week, so the ladies will be busy deep cleaning the rooms in preparation for the next sessions.

Today is an adjustment day and I think it is time to adjust by the pool. We are planning on two posts per week while we are here. I have beeb having trouble with picture downloading, so will need to get that under control.