The Scott Kids (the other missionary family at Talua when we arrived) and Joshua and I soon developed a close bond.
When we moved up to our new house we lived less that 10m away from each other so we were often running into each others homes. This was also a newer area of the college, furthest away from the married students so we were further from the other kids. During the day most of the kids our age were down at the local school, so during our ‘lunch break’ (while the adults had a siesta) all of us kids would go about on our own adventures.
We went through a phase of building tree houses. There were several trees around our homes which were perfect for building tree houses in. Mango trees are great; they have lots of good solid branches, which can support a bunch of kids.
Our best tree house was in the mandarin tree right out the front of the Scott’s house. We lugged up planks of wood, hammers and nails. Despite our great plans of having walls, a roof and individual rooms, it was never much more than a couple of planks at various angles across the strongest branches. And we had many arguments about who was actually allowed up it a various times.
But we loved it. (Here we are in the tree house)
Our favourite game to play was ‘hurricane’. We pretended we were a family and we lived in the tree house. Over the radio a cyclone warning would sound and we had to rush to prepare our house. Everything was gathered up onto the tree house, to prevent it flying around the yard. We also had to stock up food to survive the storm.
Then we all clung together while the rain poured down, the wind roared around us and our house shook. When everything was finished we went down to survey the damage. Of course someone in our family was often ‘fatally’ wounded and would need intensive treatment that involved dragging along the ground and much weeping.