Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The saying goes: "It's not what you know but who you know"

Well that saying is very true as we experienced in a very real way yesterday! (we have arrived safely with no problems by the way).

The story goes that we were trying to get our visa extended and we picked up papers from the immigration department the day before only to be told that we should come back the next day (yesterday). The forms required evidence of the reason why we were planning to extend our visa beyond the standard 30 days that you are allowed in the country. However, we could not think of any way to provide evidence. Whilst we are thinking "what are we going to do now?" we get a knock at the door. It is Donald the caretaker for our accommodation who welcomed us and suggested that we speak to a friend (James) of his in immigration to help us obtain approval for our extended visas. We then also called Daniel Nato. Visas can take up to 2 weeks to be processed and by this time, we would be well into our volunteer work in Tautu Village. We informed him that we have arrived and he gave us another contact: Pastor Alan from the main church office in Port Vila.

So anyway, back to yesterday! We started by calling Pastor Alan  who agreed to write a letter for us as evidence for our stay and we took a walk and picked up the letter. We walked into town from the office and dropped by the immigration department who said that we should come back at 2/2:30 to see James. So we did a heap of shopping and lots of walking around, looking at tours, and lunch on the waterfront. We also ran into friends from Hervey Bay who were doing a cruise (we knew they were coming anyway and we knew we might run into them). Walking back into the office, a bit earlier than 2, James had come back and we were able to talk to him about our visa extension. He took us through to the visa office where he talked to another officer. When he had finished looking through our application forms, and our passports, we asked how long we will have to wait. We opened our passports to find a newly stamped visa valid until the 3rd of November!!! 

To get around Port Vila, there are plenty of buses that can take you anywhere you want to go for a few hundred Vatu (a few AU$).

Yesterday was one blessing after another and it is amazing to see how God has paved the way for us! We have also booked our flights to Norsup airport on Malekula for Friday where we will be met by Daniel's daughter.

We celebrated last night with a Melanesian Feast held at one of the resorts. It was the nambawan (great!) cultural experience! We were treated to cultural dances, traditional food cooked with hot stones, kava tasting (tasted only not drank), fresh coconut juice, story telling and a huge buffet feast!

This morning we had an adventure, we abseiled 50m (split into two 25m sections) down a large waterfall. It was incredible, a lot of fun and it had the most beautiful scenery. Here are some photos.

At the bottom they told us to jump backwards and let go
This is the second half of the abseil

And finally, this is a picture from where we are right now! 

Hope to post again from Lakatoro soon! That's all from us now.


Daniel Hoole said...

Great to hear that you guys are doing well :) Keep us posted.

Gareth Nolan said...

We are about to fly to Norsup and go to Tautu Village. Hope school is going well for you this week :).

Gareth Nolan said...

We are about to fly to Norsup and go to Tautu Village. Hope school is going well for you this week :).