Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taking the plunge...

So we come up to our last day in Port Vila. We had booked a round island safari but was cancelled due to 2 other people pulling out. We got a call from the Tour Shop and he said that we should collect our money from him. We got up and decided to walk to the shop and dropped in on Pastor Alan to say thank you very much for his help (tang kiu tumas long help blong yu). He encouraged us and asked us to pass on his regards to Elder Daniel Nato and Pastor Collen.

At the tour shop, we eyed out another tour: a Snorkelling and Glass Bottom Boat that was to start in five minutes time. The lady at reception phoned the skipper and said that we were right to go. We took a walk to where the tour started and we were the only two people going on the tour. It was good to see the coral and some of the fish – we used our cheaply bought snorkel gear from a local Chinese shop...they worked. We also practiced our Bislama with the tour guide and had a good conversation. He was from Pentecost Island and we asked if he land dived (bungee jumping with vines attached to their legs). He said: Mi no wantem die, crazy tumas (I don’t want to die, it’s too crazy). After we had finished our tour we had lunch and then went parasailing. That was a lot of fun! Some great views up there!

Friday we woke up early and caught a bus to the airport to fly to Norsup on Malekula, it was a small plane and as a result, got thrown around a lot in the air. It has been quite windy in Vanuatu the past few days. We landed among a coconut plantation and got a view of the village from the air. We were met by a couple of church members and a smiling Daniel who wore his cap from Hervey Bay.

Gareth and Daniel at Norsup Airport

We were then driven to the village where we put our bags in the rooms where we are staying (very basic, a mattress on a floor with no furniture) and then headed down to the dining house that our host family uses. We were welcomed with a small ceremony by the elders and were each given a handmade necklace made out of leaves that they put around our necks. 

We were then treated to lunch with the elders, rice with a stew of meat and root vegetables and after lunch and chats we went back to our rooms to relax. After a while, Daniel gave us a tour of the village, quite different to what we were expecting – Google maps can be deceiving! After a small rest after our village tour (we were quite exhausted) we were shown to our newly constructed toilet and washroom. The village does not have running water and so a ‘shower’ is a large bowl of water with a small bowl to pour water over your body. Our toilet is a concrete bowl which you flush by pouring water into it. So we tried our new bathing system and found it to be quite effective and felt refreshed after it. We had dinner with the family who are hosting us (Hansen and Judy). Hansen is the headmaster of the primary school - they are very nice people and we can understand a bit more Bislama now!
Here are some photos of where we are staying.
Alicja's room



After the initial culture shock, we are feeling a bit more settled and are looking forward to starting our volunteer work. We had to walk down to Lakatoro to use the internet – halfway there we caught a 4WD who gave us a lift.
So we are now in an internet cafe in Lakatoro posting this up and have to head back to the village soon to see Pastor Collen who has been away so far at a meeting in south Malekula.


Daniel Hoole said...

Love the living conditions ;) Hope you're having fun guys!

Brian Hoole said...

By now you will be having an amazing time. gareth your mum said you have suffered a bit of food poisoning. Take care my friends God Bless

Storm said...

Looks like you're having fun gareth and alicja, good to see!

Jeshua McCasker said...

I hope going well, I hope god is blessing you so far through what you are accomplishing :D have an amazing time and god bless :)

Gareth Nolan said...

Yep, it has been pretty good. Not so much food poisoning. Just our stomachs getting used to the heavy food that they eat.