The Ground and soil here is not like back home, it even has a different smell to it. The soil back home is deep and dark and pungent and you just know it is fertile enough to grow anything. Sometimes I wonder how things grow so well here, it’s sort of sand and dirt together. The jungle areas are thick and oppressing, growing so close together and yet, everything grows so big, big leaves and short trunks. And it seems that everything here holds water after it rains.
The rain is something else, all by itself. We had rain storms back home and the rain would really come down, the thunder and lightening bursting forth over head. Something my Dad calls a “Gulley-Washer”. Here the rain comes down so hard and with so much water, you can’t see your hand stretched out in front of your eyes. It seems like it comes down in huge sheets and everything is totally drenched, to the point you wonder how much water everything needs, before it bursts. The water covers the land and runs off in small rivers rather than gutters.
All the plants soak up as much as they can and then the heat is back, it feels like it’s 120 degrees out and outrageous humidity. It feels oppressive, making it feel difficult to do anything, but sit or lay down and wait for a breeze. And at the same time it’s so beautiful and it smells so sweet, literally sweet.
You would never be able to understand how many flowers come out, they are literally everywhere, every color and at varying heights. You would never be able to see anything like this, if you had never been here and had seen it for yourself. Of course there are a great abundance of insects as well, most are small and scurry everywhere at lightening speed. Others are huge, massive and scary. It seems that every insect here is dangerous in one way or the other and best left alone. I am always mindful of what is crawling on me and I’m always paying attention to where I am at.
The mosquitoes are always in abundance, but their chances of survival are severely curtailed at night by the sheer numbers of Geckos scurrying across everything including the ceiling. If you are very still and quiet, you can hear their little “quirks” or maybe their “chirps” as they run about looking for their next meal. Flip on the room light and they will all give a single Chirp together and dash for the shadows. Flip the light back off and in about 10 minutes they will be back with a vengeance.
Again the soil is strange enough, mud is mud and gets on everything, but here, it comes off with just a little water and all is well again. Get it on your skin and the oils on your skin will come off with it as well. It doesn’t seem to stain your clothes like back home and I’m not too sure why that is. My Dad says it’s because of the tiny bits of coral or pumice in the soil and we do have volcanoes close by.
During the “Winter” months it’s actually cool and if you have been here awhile, it feels cold at 60 degrees. Rarely does it ever stop being hot and humid and during the “Winter” it rains almost everyday without fail. This is actually a good thing, because the rest of the time it’s dusty and hot, then comes a cool rain and all looks new again, washed and clean.
We have gotten used to being able to see who has been here awhile and who are the new ones. You can tell by their Tan or the lack there of, besides their ability to handle the heat. In the beginning you tend to sweat profusely and as time goes on you begin to acclimate to everything. Of course there are always the tales of the house over run by rodents (Geckos)! You have never lived until a Gecko falls from the ceiling and lands on you at night and everyone has had that chance at least once, so everyone giggles and smirks at the story. Of course the individual telling the story is stunned by our reactions, then we make peace and tell them what is really going on and there is no harm.
Our little piece of Paradise was not always hospitable to everyone. There is a village of “Negritos” just outside the base, yet they have full run of where ever on the base, they were the original people here. They were real “Head-hunters” around and before the turn of the Century and they were willing to allow the base to be there on their land. They are Pygmies! Most of the men are around 3 and 1/2 feet tall and the women are even shorter, their houses look like play houses for our children. Yet, they are ferociously respectful and require the same from everyone, no matter who you may think you are.
Many times, us kids would be out on what we termed the “Bam-Bam River”, of course it had a real name, but that is the one we used. We were not supposed to be out there, because of all the sinkholes and quicksand, but I digress. We usually went out there to find World War 2 artifacts, unfortunately there had been some very sobering accidents take place in the past, so we had to be very careful. None the less, somewhere along the way, we would run across a Negrito Man. Most of the time they simply wanted to know what we were up to and were usually very kindly. We would show them something and they would try and explain what that was and when it was used and by whom. In my Heart, I believe they and us kids got along better than they did with our Parents.
The Negritos are a very quiet sort of people, unlike the Americans, they would never think to run around hollering or yelling. They would never cause their children to suffer pain as we did for making a mistake, yes they were punished, but in a different manner. When they spoke it was always in a bit of a hushed tone, somewhere just above a whisper. Those that spoke English would tell us stories of the past and they loved to tell funny stories of Americans, they found us to be very funny indeed.
It was always an education to be around them, they would tell of plants, which ones that were good for such and such and also the bad ones to steer clear of. We never had a problem with the bad ones, they were like some of the big and ugly insects we came across, you simply knew not to touch them for any reason. There was a plant that had pretty good sized leaves and they looked fuzzy and soft, but you touch them and then your hand would begin to feel like it was burning, could potentially get you in the hospitable for a day or two.
The kids would usually take the new ones, Under their wings, so to speak. There was a great many wonderful and beautiful things to see and be around, but you had to be careful, you had to know what you were doing and who you were with. So in the interest of having Friends you could count on, we sort of stuck together and watched over each other all the time. I certainly can not think of a time when I was more happy and content than when I was there, being a kid there was a unique experience to say the least.
So sitting here in my sixties and thinking back, I can not think of anywhere else I have ever been that was so vivid, so bright and colorful. It was always a place where the Beauty was so immense and alongside that extremely dangerous as well. I thank the Lord for all of that!
I am so thankful that He provided such a place for me to be and at such an impressionable age as well. Tell me that my Lord and Savior does not know how to create stuff, tell me how He does not watch out for us and care for us. It’s sort of funny to me now, how I could be in such a place and miss how much of it was My Lord and Savior’s way of showing His Love and Adoration for us. It’s funny to me, because I never considered that, when I was there, but I know it now, some 40 years later.
It kills my Heart to look at pictures of where I lived over there, now days. My Home is gone and taken over by the jungle, many a home that I visited are gone too. Many streets no longer exist or there is barely a bit of asphalt left behind to show it was ever there to begin with. The Weather there is still the same and the Rains and small floods still come and go as if on a regular schedule. I no longer look for those pictures any more, I love to see those places as I remember them to be and they only exist in my memories and dreams.
Having told you about this, I am reminded that the Word of God tells us that our Home in Heaven is greater and more wonderful than anything we have ever seen here. I remember how I felt when I lived there, but to know that Heaven will be even greater than I could ever imagine, simply blows my mind. We all search for that one place of un-excelled Peace and Harmony, of breath-taking Beauty and pure Love, that place is going to be found in Heaven and only there. I simply have a hard time waiting!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
All emboldened Scripture is by the author for emphasis.
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