Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 27 July – 27 August 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 27 July – 27 August 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 09, 2014

(Previous installment)

Sat. July 27, ‘18

Received letters from Ern & Elder Bulkley from Hickueru. Visited Mahana.

Sun. July 28, ‘18

I preached at afternoon services on prayer. Later we called on Terai & Coles.

Mon. July 29, ‘18

Packed my trunks to leave on the Vahine Tahiti for Hickueru, since it is uncertain whether or not the steamer will go. In the evening the Elders & I visited Mr & Mrs Wilson of the cocoanut oil firm, and their new home. Gave 28 numbers of the Young Womans Journal to Elizabeth, their daughter, to read.

Tues. July 30, ‘18

The Vahine Tahiti left, but Mr. Miller kindly offered to take mein his auto next morning to Fautira, where the vessel had gone to take on a load of fruit. In the afternoon I called on Martha, Madame Goupil, Terai, Tetuama, and Mahana. Bought 4 rolls of piere to take to the elders in the islands for a little surprise.

Wed. July 31, 1918

Left by auto for Tautira at 9: am. Mr. Miller and party were coming out later in the day, and a Mr. Hintze a man about 50 years of age was the only other passenger. He made every trip very interesting explaining every thing as we rode around the island. Stopped off to see an immense cave and underground spring at Punauia. Arrived at Tautira at 11: am, where he ordered a nice chicken dinner for us. Mr. Miller & party arrived about 4: pm, and he and his sister and young Varne, and I, rode all around the district of Tautira, until the vessel was ready to leave. We all had chicken supper aboard, and then Miss Miller & Mr. Hi[n]tze returned to Papeete by auto & we set sail under a fair wind for Hickueru.

Thurs,. Fri. Sat. Aug. 1, 2, 3, 1918

At sea. Had splendid weather all the way. Made short stops at Anaa & Takakota. Wasn’t sea sick but didn’t care for food nor water. Slept all the way, night and day, on the deck on a pile of kerosine boxes. Was about worn in two when we reached destination.

Sun. Aug. 4, 1918

Arrived at Hickueru at 3: am & landed as soon as it was day light. Sea was calm so we made an easy landing. Found Ern sick in bed with a heavy cold. Attended fast meeting and young peoples meeting in the evening. Temoe and Homini conducted the review of the B of Mormon classes, which were certainly splendid. When we werent at meeting the house was crowded all day with saints and friends. Made some onion syrop for Ern and gave him a hot toddy and put his feet in hot mustard water before retiring to our beds on the ground with only a native mat under us. Elder Stephens and Steedman are living in the same little hut with us.

Mon. Aug 5, 1918

Sort of straightened our little place around to make it inhabitable. Called on a number of saints. Mrs. Falco sent us over a lovely dinner of fresh roast beef (that they had had sent packed in ice from Tahiti) roasted feis, banana poi, and a basket of oranges. Ern is much better, cold is broken. Most of the elders are working on the meeting house to have it ready for dedication by Oct. 6th.

Tues. Aug 6. ‘18

Made some repairs & rearranged our little Tuamotu home. It is a low one room frame shack with thatched roof. One end is partitioned off for a kitchenette and on the other end is a thatched ‘lean to’ which serves for our bed room. On the main room we have a floor covering of native mats, while the kitchen & bed room floors are white gravel. Our bed is a low platform of “Oregon pine,” but we are accustomed to sleeping on boards now & don’t mind it. I am very fortunate to have an oil stove to cook on this year, whereas formerly I have been oblidged to cook over a camp fire. Visited the Takaroa village & in the evening conducted singing practice in the meeting house, as Elder bulkley has lost his voice. Mrs. Falco sent us over some ice cream & cake for dinner. (Imagine such luxuries in the Tuamotus)

Wed. Aug 7, ‘18

Visited the Hickueru & Taenga villages. Mapuna gave me a beautiful large shell. Mrs. Falco sent us a large demijohn of Tahiti [water] which we are very fortunate to get & appreciate her kindness very much. it has not rained on the island for 3 months, and the only water available on the island is the salty brackish water that seeps up from holes dug in the ground by the natives for that purpose. Attended meeting at 7: pm.

Thurs. Aug. 8, 1918

Made two plum puddings and sent down to the Elders who are working on the church. Held Relief Society meeting. Called to see an old lady about 100 yrs old. It is not exactly known how old she is for the natives very rarely keep track of their ages; no one seems to know their age. She lives in a tiny little low hut down by the water’s edge. her body which was bent almost double reached about to my hands which she kissed time and time again. Her poor wrinkled weather beaten old face would almost frighten one. her toothless mouth receded fully two inches from her nose & chin, which almost met. Her eyes were swollen shut & inflamed from the water that runs continually from them. Her only clothes were a red cloth wound around her waist and another bound around her head turban style. her finger and toe nails were fully two inches long, and narrow & curved like a cat’s. Altogether with the immense holes in her ears made from her large ear rings she was about the most pitiful yet terrifying looking creature I have ever seen.

Held Relief Society in the evening.

Fri. Aug 9, ‘18

Visited 12 Takaroa families. Commenced translating a “Tomoraa Fare” song to the tune of “Hark to the Classmates Song.”

Sat. Aug 10, ‘18

Held Elders Priesthood meeting and the Elders administered to Elder Robertson for a felon on his hand.

Sun. Aug 11, ‘18

Attended meetings all day. Kataka gave us a dozen duck eggs.

Mon. Aug. 12 ‘18

Elder Bulkley and I commenced holding children’s class. He taking the larger ones & I the smaller ones. Ern and I were invited to take dinner at Mr & Mrs. Falco the pearl buyer & his wife.

Tues. Aug 13 ‘18

All of the elders are working on the new chapel trying to have it ready for dedication by Oct. conference, & Elder Bulkley and I have been appointed to do the cooking for them.

Hickueru, Wed. Aug 14, ‘18

Held children’s class, cooked for the elders & attended evening meeting.

Thurs. Aug 15, ‘18

Usual daily work & conducted Relief Society meeting.

Fri. Aug 16, ‘18

After usual work called on Mrs. Falco, the Takaroa Saints, and on Rirava who had recently buried her husband. Several of the Elders were poisoned from eating canned salmon.

Sat. Aug 17, ‘18

Class, cooking & Elders priesthood meeting.

Sun. Aug. 18, ‘18

Tehina & Atutu gave us a beautiful pearl, and we gave them a leather bound Book of Mormon. Meetings all day.

Mon. Aug. 19, ‘18

The “Suzanne” & “Neoilina” arrived from Papeete. Madame Falco sent us a nice beef stock & a piece of ice they had received from Papeete.

Tues. Aug. 20, ‘18

Hinano arrived with the Papeete mail, but none from America. This being the 20th of the month my usual day for fasting & prayer, I spent the [da] quietly and alone. Stamped a few pillow slips for my sewing class.

Wed. Aug 21, ‘18

Regular daily work. Madame Falco called and brought a bucket of oranges and some banana fritters.

Thurs. Aug. 22, ‘18

Wrote to Margarette & Sadie to send in the “Suzanne.” Conducted R.S. Meetings.

Hickueru, Aug 23, ‘18

Prepared a programm for my childrens class to be given in Sunday evening meeting. Temouri one of our native boys who was leaving for Papeete for medical attention called and gave me a beautiful chiko. “Ia faaite tou nei arofa in oe.”

Sat. Aug. 24, ‘18

Held Elders Priesthood meeting. Visited the saints of the Takaroa & Taenga villages.

Sun. Aug 25, ‘18

Attended regular Sunday meetings. to-day I noticed three shattered cocoanut trees in front of Kehauris house and spoke of it to one of the Elders who informed me that about one month previous Kehauri had been asked to donate a cocoanut tree to help in the construction of a branch shell house, but had refused saying that he couldn’t spare one. The very next day following a severe electric storm passed over the island, and three of his trees were utterly destroyed by the lightening.

Mon. Aug. 26, 18

Three ships arrived from Papeete, but no mail on them. Visited Lena. this week I am having Maroki for dinner, who is working on the meeting house.

Tues. Aug 27

Daily program, class etc, meeting & song practice at 7: pm. Terribly high wind and heavy sea. The land fairly trembles from the force of the great waves breaking on the reef. Some fear of the village being inundated, the sea having raised up to the level of the stone wharf. Our house was nearly carried away by the wind in the night. Heavy rainfall which is the first that has fallen here in 3 months.

(To be continued)


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