Friday, August 10, 2012

'Blackman Time'

By this title, we are not being racist - a few of the locals have told us this term. It has been a while since we last blogged. The week before last we didn’t make a blog, and the last week the internet was not working.

A few things have happened in that time starting with the Independence Day celebrations. It was really interesting to see the community get together and create a celebration. It started off with a prayer and some talks in the evening of Sunday the 29th of August. The locals said it started at 4pm. So we headed there at….4pm. It was raining and they were still setting up and doing some sound checks. Another 3 hours later, it started. While we were waiting they told us “Blackman time”. The night had a few skits and songs and we sung with the youth on stage. One of the youth had given Alicja an island dress which she wore when singing. The 30th was marked with the national anthem and flag raising as well as a lengthy prime minister’s speech (spoken on behalf of him by a local counselor). Then it was lunch time and we had plenty rice with beef and cabbage – either of us only eat that much at Christmas! The time after lunch was devoted to sports and the woman played volleyball, and the men and boys played football (soccer). That night was the same as the previous night with more skits and songs.

The next day was a school day, but only about half the school actually came to school as the Independence Day celebration was not just over…yet. For some reason they organized more celebrations on a school day and so after lunch, no one came back to school as there was no point. Teachers included. Finally, on Wednesday, we continued our school work. Alicja was assessing the children’s skills in fine motor skills, letter and number recognition, colours and shapes. In the students that are struggling, Alicja is finding that they have never learned letter names and how to form them properly, and so in grade 2, there are some students there that are eleven years old and are just copying information off the blackboard without actually knowing what they are writing! Gareth started teaching some of the classes as well as having sessions with the students that are struggling. The school doesn’t follow a formal curriculum and so all the teachers teach differently. For English, they have units of work based on topics in English such as “Missionaries”. The main problem according to the headmaster is that students are getting lost learning the fundamentals of English since the text books seem to jump from topic to topic quickly and do not focus enough on how to write and speak in English.

On some weekends we have spent some time with some friends. We went to lunch with a friend from church and then went to the beach after. Last Saturday we caught a 4wd and went to Lakatoro and bought some Gateaux (our French spelling is not too good) – a figure of 8 pastry as well as some bread for lunch and we climbed up to two communication towers. One was the TVL phone network repeater station, and the other was a government tower. Some very nice views up there, and our friends did the whole thing in thongs! This week, we have been working at the school and had a look at Kids Prayer Warriors – a prayer ministry of which lots of kids are involved in. We also have looked at one family’s garden where they grow taro, yam (both root vegetables) and cabbage. Nothing much else to report on really.

Below are some photos from the last few weeks.

Some of the local children - they LOVE photos!

Sharing laplap, the 'cake' of Vanuatu - made with grated yam and coconut milk and cooked on a fire with hot rocks



Brian Hoole said...

Gareth and Alicja
great to read your blog. It brings back so many memories. Some things never change. It is interesting that ni-Vanuatu can say blackman taem and its OK by expats need to say island time. Great to hear of the anniversary celebrations and yes everything does run on island time. Sounds as though you are settling in well to community life. Bless you you are in our prayers.

Gareth Nolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gareth Nolan said...

Thanks for that Brian, all going well here! Looking forward to our visitors as well.