Friday, July 27, 2012

The work begins...

We are now two weeks into our time in Tautu Village. We have settled in quite fine and so have our stomachs! Apparently it takes some time to get used to the island food – and we adjusted pretty well.
 A few significant events have occurred since the last time we blogged.. We also went to church for the first time in the village. Church services here can be quite different, and all of it in Bislama except the bible readings. Vanuatu’s people apparently prefer the English version over the Bislama version. We gave our ‘Jesus lives’ banner to the church (photos to follow in a future blog) and they received it and are praying for Hervey Bay Uniting Church and were very thankful. It wasn’t until the day after that we got to meet with Pastor Collen. He had just come back from a conference in south Malekula and was straight into the work – seeing people and preaching on Norsup Island.
We went and looked at the school for the first time in the first week and relaxed for some of the week because of being sick and an interschool sports carnival (in neighbouring town Lakatoro). After another church service, the next week started off slowly with a public holiday (children’s day). Our impression was that they taught very little English when in fact they teach quite a bit, but the headmaster does not think that it is effective and needs more of a grammar focus. Speaking to the headmaster, he said that he was going to give us a classroom that we could use, and so we cleaned it all out this week. However, things do take a lot longer to get sorted here and so Alicja has started assessing the children this week and Gareth has been creating literacy activities that he can use. The school here is very different. Classes often start late and breaks go later than scheduled – it’s all very casual. This means scheduling classes can be difficult but we are learning to adapt to the island style!
We have become involved in the youth group (by youth I mean young adults) and have joined them singing in a Sunday service so far. They have asked us to provide a Sunday afternoon activity for this week. So we will be teaching them some songs that we sing at Uniting Church in the mornings. We enjoyed snorkelling at the nearest beach opposite Norsup airport. The reefs were shallow and we could see many different types of fish and coral. Last Friday, we were treated to the traditional laplap meal – also known as ‘The Cake of Vanuatu’. It is cooked on hot stones and you can use banana or yam (root vegetable). We tried some octopus with ours, not as nice as the beef (according to Gareth). Laplap is eaten with your hands sitting on the floor around the food. Very delicious!
Next week begins with another public holiday (Independence Day) and the village is having a big feast. The rest of the week we intend to do some hard work but we will see what the ‘island time factor’ throws our way J. That is all for now. Hope everyone is doing well!
P.s. We would love to show you some pictures, but Gareth's laptop has decided to give him problems.

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