Friday, May 29, 2015

Dancing -

Dancing -

So yesterday we went into the local village for a traditional dance. The first dance was the men's dance. The men (about 15 of them) were dressed in small nambas. A namba is a "sheath" that they wrap around their penis and hold it in place by a piece of thin palm leaf that is wrapped around their stomach. They were basically naked. We will send over videos for those of you interested. The dancing was great!

Then we moved over to the women's (children's) dancing. The women and children were topless and as the dancing progressed the little children started to lose even their leaves wrapped around themselves. It was great, and you could see from the smiles on the children's faces that they were truly having a wonderful time!

Our next stop is the village of the big nambas.

Should be interesting!


A Day in the life of a Vanuatun -

Before we go into the details of how people live here I just have to say "We caught a gigantic Dorado today!", and wonderful Shannon wound the Dorado in for what seemed like 10 minutes! It was HUGE!

Back to the reason for the email.

Vanuatun's typically wake up with the sun as they have no lights. They get a fire going, as they have no stoves as we think of them. They cook over an open fire inside a separate building that they call their kitchen. (Not sure it it is separate so that if it burns they don't lose everything). Their bathrooms are also separate from their homes in little 4' x 4' outhouses. After a breakfast of bananas and roots, and maybe some type of bread they head off to their gardens. Every family has a garden where they grow everything that they eat.

By early afternoon everyone is back from the gardens which are typically up in the mountains where the ground is very fertile, and there is more rain. A 1 to 2 hour walk in not unusual.

The houses are made with bamboo walls, and palm leaf roofs. The floors are typically dirt with woven palm mats for sleeping on. There are no walls in the houses, and everyone just sleeps together on the floor. And as there are no lights people typically go to bed fairly early.

There is plenty of land here for everyone, and most of the tiny villages are just composed of an extended family with everyone related. When they marry the woman moves into the mans village.
Wonderful people! Living a very simple life.

I have been told twice that if I would like to live there, I can have land and would be more than welcome! Maybe someday!


Great Times

So today we met up with a Swiss super yacht 'Escapade'. (French Swiss). Super nice people as you can imagine with an 8 year old boy! They also had a bunch of water purification systems that they brought from New Zealand. We had heard that they were looking for help distributing them, so off we went. One of the villages where we dropped the water tank was drinking brackish water because they had no clean source of fresh. We hired a local truck for a gallon of gas, a tee shirt, and a pair of reading glasses, to take us to the village that needed the water purification system. The 'Escapade' boat sent over 2 crew, their child, and the wife of the owner. We all loaded into the pickup truck, filling the entire bed, and headed off. As we passed children on the road, they would squeal with delight and hold out there hands for 'high fives' as our children hooped and hollered and touched their hands!

These are the memories that we will remember forever!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Water Tank Delivery

At the first tank delivery, the only one I saw, it was a wonderful whole village effort.  We could not anchor close, about 40-50 villagers swam out, some in canoes.  We lifted the tank and pushed it over the side with the halyard, then lowered it.  At one point it began to pendulum.  The 6-8 locals on our boat chased it and pushed it away from hitting the boat.  We got it lowered to just above the water, then gave a man with a mask a fitting to plug the hole.  He put in the fitting, we put it into the water, untied it, and off they went with a cheer.  It was great to see, everyone was soo happy, excited, and working together.  They were laughing, cheering and generally so excited to be a part of this long swim out and back in with this huge tank.  By the time we got to shore, it was already carried up and in place to catch water at the church (they just need a gutter now).  Apparently part of the reason it had not come was the fact that it costs $1000 US to have it delivered.  Maybe that's why they were so happy.  It was fun and wonderful to see them all working so joyfully together.  I took many photos/videos that we'll try to send.  A group of snorkellers lined up on our back swim steps and asked for a group photo also, then did cannonballs in.  

At the ceremony that followed, the chief said he thanked us for bringing the tank no less than 10 times.  The translator actually got tired of translating it, but the point was made.  We ran a full day clinic, they were happy to have the children playing in the village while we worked, the boys dropped off the second tank in Brisbane, we brought my translator, Nina, out to the boat for dinner and a tour, gave her some children's clothing for her daughter, then settled in under mosquito netting for the night.  

Tomorrow we snorkel in coral filled crystal clear water, play on the beach, then head up to Lamen Bay.  You can see errupting volcanic ash on Ambrym across from us!  We have heard that it's gotten so active you aren't allowed to go up there.  Sounds good to me.  Nina said you could see it when it was errupting from the beach here.  Great stuff!!!!  Looking forward to sleep and snorkeling!


Water Tanks

We had a great sail from Efate to Epi with the water tanks. In fact we went so fast that we ended up four hours early even with a double reefed main and a reefed genoa.

Fortunately the seas were not huge and the water tanks hardly moved at all. We did though manage to collect 46 flying fish on the deck by morning. The chief who was with us was very happy to take them. Additionally the chief (Simon) asked if we maybe could stop at his village as it was on our way and help two seriously sick people at his village. So at 7am we arrived at the beautiful harbor of the village of Sara. After six hours and seeing about half the village with various medical issues Shannon finished her clinic. The children played at the soft black sand beach, and the chief let all the children ride on his horse up and down the beach and through the town.

By the time we made it to the first drop point for the tank it was getting dark, so we anchored off the village in glassy clear water. Chief Simon also arranged for Shannon to run another clinic the following morning, explaining that there had just been a doctor and a nurse there for a week, so there should be only a very few patients.

The unloading of the tank was hilarious and with the help of the spinnaker halyard there was no damage to the boat, people, or the water tank. (pictures and videos to follow when we have internet) All able bodied people of the village swam out to the boat as the water tank was being lowered into the water. Fortunately the tank floated perfectly right side up, and the people had no issue swimming it to shore. Then there was a large welcome onshore where all the beautiful ladies put flower lei's around all our necks, including little Valiant's! He was so proud! Then there were about 4 short speeches of gratitude from the chief, and other important people of the village. They were so grateful for both the water tank and for us bringing a doctor to help them. 
On a side note there had been a doctor and a nurse there for the past week, so we thought there should not be any medical issues. But unfortunately the doctor and nurse were very shortsighted, and only interested in pushing their agenda of birth control, so they did not see any of the sick or injured. Hence Shannon had another full day of seeing patients.
It sure would be nice to have our other two doctor buddies!!!
Tomorrow we will rest and dive in the crystal clear water!