After we spent time with the mourners and let them know we cared and we were there for them, they expressed their gratitude with kind gestures. Having lost a few loved ones myself, I sat down and gathered my thoughts.
I knew that grief was one big rollercoaster. You’re crying one moment and the next, you’re sitting quiet and in shock. These people, however, were not only suffering grief, but they were also suffering from trauma too, given the cataclysmic way their families and friends had left this world. I just shook my head, unable to even imagine what they were enduring.
I got up and, with my friends, walked back to the lean-tos. I grabbed my backpack, unzipped it, and took out a couple more boxes of Cracker Jacks, and more packs of peanut butter and crackers, cheese snacks and slimjims.
“Breakfast.” I said, handing each of my friends a snack, “Let’s ration this food. I’ll divi it up. Each person gets one sandwich cracker and about five Cracker Jacks, one cheese snack, and one slim jim. Let’s give the rest of the people up here some too. We don’t know when we’ll be rescued. It could be a few days, maybe even a week.”
“Or longer.” Sarah said.
As the morning turned to afternoon, four natives who were in our group went into the rain forest and weren’t seen for several hours. While they were gone. We all helped to gather kindling and built a fire. Several islanders chopped down huge bamboos and began carving the ends of them with their huge hunting knives, making a sharp point on each end.
Late that evening, the four absent islanders emerged from the brush carrying a huge dead boar tied to long, thick bamboo deadfalls. The boar was so huge that it took all four men to carry it. Two men held the beams in the front of the dead hog, and two took up the rear.
“Look! They got food!” One of the tourists shouted excitedly. The men carrying the hog smiled and we all cheered. We were so grateful to the skilled hunters.
As it got dark. The natives built a makeshift spit, put the hog on it, and began to turn it over the fire. After we all thanked the surviving islanders for their hospitality.
We knew it would take several hours for the hog to get fully cooked. Several islanders took turns turning the hog on the spit as it roasted above the huge flames. After it got completely dark, I looked up and saw Tess standing at the edge of the cliff with her back to us and staring out across the water. I took one sandwich cracker and began munching when suddenly, Tess began shouting.
“Hey! I think I see a ship! A ship!” She shouted as she ran a few steps away from the ledge and continued pointing behind her, toward the cliff and ocean below.
We all jumped to our feet and ran to the edge of the cliff. We looked across the vast water and, sure enough, we saw a dim light on the horizon. We all jumped up and down, screaming.
“Hey! Over here! Over here!”
A male islander took off his button up shirt and began waving it in the air. A second male native took a huge leaf, lit it on fire, then ran to the ledge and waved the flaming leaf back and forth above his head.
Ever so slowly, the light on the horizon grew brighter.
(Continued in Part 6)