Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Port Vila (Efate Island)

Wed 1st July Port Vila (Efate Island)

 After a sleepy start we spent the day moving onto the marina wall, organising customs and quarantine. Port Vila is the nation’s capital and the port where all of the cruise ships visit.

All around us were signs of the damage caused by Cyclone Pam. The harbour is still littered with damaged yachts and fishing boats

Thursday 2nd July

We were keen to start unloading the boat so hired a car and went and found the Paama Seaside school and church where we were to deliver the 5 computers from the Uniting Church in Castle Hill. After meeting the headmaster and looking around the school we decided they would benefit from some of the school supplies we had on board and they were keen to get the Grade 7 maths books donated by Launceston Grammar.

This school was started by some Aussies who recognised the kids from the local slum wernt going to school and over the past 10 years volunteers have been coming out and building a new classroom every year so it is now a very tidy school and the students here are very keen to get an education.

Friday 3rd July

Library books from Friends of the Library Launceston
Drove around the island. The villages on the East coast were worst hit by the cyclone and 4 months later little has been done to repair the school buildings. We dropped off library books, school books and children’s clothing to several schools and towels to the local regional hospital.

The government school of Manuur has lost the roofs of more than half of classrooms and these are now covered in tarps and some lessons are conducted in tents.

Staff at Manuur School, Jimmy on the left

Most of the teachers have been living on site in local huts but all of these have been destroyed and the school principal Melizabeth Steele and her family are living in one of the classrooms along with 2 other teachers and their families! They are doing it really tough and to make matters worse the Vanuatu Government is broke due to corruption so these buildings won’t be repaired/ replaced unless some foreign aid is supplied by Australia, New Zealand or similar.
Main Road around Efate still covered with sand
The Chinese Government is doing a lot with infrastructure aid such as roads, wharfs and public buildings but they bring in their own labour and materials and don’t employ the local people.

Saturday 4th July
One of the teachers (Jimmy) drove in to Port Vila and picked up the 70 school shirts and some other gear we had on board. Rainy day so most of the day on board.

Sunday 5th July
John and Aileen arrived on the evening flight

Monday 6th July
Another lap around the island with our visitors and Pete in the car, mainly sight seeing and to drop of the remaining linen to the clinic near the Manuur School.
abandoned resort near Port Vila

Tuesday 7th July

We escape Port Vila for the great little snorkelling area at Hideaway Island of underwater post office fame. In fact we were greatly entertained watching the locals loading a new post office onto their little barge and offloading it into the water. We spent the night at anchor here and said goodbye to Haven 111 who was staying in the Port Vila area a bit longer.
Wednesday 8th July
In the morning it was a short sail to Havannah Bay, where we managed to drag anchor when the anchor foul a large rusty iron lid. There must be heaps of debris from the war here as the next morning it was a huge struggle to pull the anchor up as it was caught under a 1” (very old) wire cable! We slowly winched this to the surface and eventually managed to untangle ourselves much to our relief.

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