The Marshall Islands: “life is difficult”
Doing the Most Good- Hawaiian and the Pacific Islands
Salvation Army meets needs in multiple ways.
Food donation to a family
The following is excerpted from letters sent by Captains Martin and Nancy Cooper, Marshall Islands coordinator and leadership training center director, respectively.
I traveled to Jaluit Atoll to speak to high school youth about suicide. Students from 10 outer islands board at the school—they comprise 350 of the 450 students attending. I was told that often there is no food, so some of the girls have sex with local construction workers to get money to buy food.
The local Salvation Army unit there has just begun a Friday night food and movie program. The first night, 65 kids came and six accepted Christ.
We’ve been able to help with a number of things here. We’ve given 300 plates (they had 13 to serve the 450 students); sheets and school supplies have been donated by our foster daughter in Mississippi and by the San Diego, Calif., Citadel Corps. The Citadel also sent much-needed T-shirts and underwear. Rosalie Doom and her group have faithfully sent items that make a child’s life a little better.
A Lutheran church from North Dakota sent two boxes of soap, shampoo and other items.
The teens stood up and cheered and clapped when they received the items!
Life on the far outer islands hasn’t changed much in over 500 years: people still sail on outrigger canoes, fish by hand, and eat local island foods. One trip took me to the end of a chain of islands where I handed out a case of chicken. A woman quickly told me that now they’ll be able to eat chicken twice in one year. We also handed out bags of medicine and t-shirts, and distributed over 200 sandals, bags of soap and shampoo.
When our boat approaches shore, we are always met by ladies who sing to us and as we step from our boat they place flower leis over our heads; their kindness far exceeds any gift we could ever give them.
Life is difficult
Life can be very hard here with the travel and the heat and humid conditions—as well as the lack of food on the outer islands and poor healthcare. We are very thankful for every letter, every box, every e-mail that helps us help others.
We feel when someone is hungry, we need to feed them; when a child needs a pencil, we should provide one; and when there is a lack of hope (like at Jaluit High School), we should try to meet those needs.