Tuesday 9 July 2013

Pele & Nguna Islands

By Cub Reporter, Ramon Rees

The day, like all days, began with the best of intentions. The medical and dental team and their supporters would head out to set up for the day’s clinic before 0800 with a view to finishing early and taking a well earned break in the afternoon to explore the island a little more.
The previous evening I opened a book, setting the odds of what time the clinics would actually start. By 0630 Chimere was a hive of activity as everyone was busy having breakfast and completing their morning ablutions. Just when I thought I might have got it wrong, a rain squall came through which delayed the departure enough for me to save face.

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When the rain stopped, Rob scurried through Chimere, calling out “all aboard” as a way of “herding the cats.” Jon and I eventually waved the intrepid workers off at about 0845 and then started on the list of boat tasks for the day.

There were the routine tasks of charging the batteries and topping up the fresh water tanks but I was also determined to fix an annoying floor board problem in their cabin. Jon intended to repair the depth sounder and try to fix the portable generator, which had let the team down the day before. These tasks were interspersed with a little reading, a few cups of tea and simply enjoying the solitude that came when the others were ashore

Rob and James brought Lyndon and Kristie back to Chimere to sterilize Lyndon’s dental utensils and to have some lunch while Tony and Christine held the fort back on the island with Helen and Morinda. After a delicious repast of 2 minute noodles, thick and hearty soup and some pamplemoose, the workers set off again to complete the afternoon clinic while I had my first attempt at baking bread.

After deciding the portable generator needed help from a Honda dealer, Jon started preparing dinner, having turned Chimere upside down in search of rice. Like many things, it had been stored so securely that it was not to be found until the others returned and eventually stumbled across it in the most logical place of all – above Rob’s bunk. Where else could one expect it to be.  Later we also found the bottle of lemon juice in there so some serious questions are being asked.

It was a lovely dinner and after watching a couple of Ripping Yarn episodes on the computer it was an early night for most.

Ramon Rees

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Ships Log

After some overnight showers, the rain became serious at times throughout the day with the paths and everywhere else becoming quite sodden.

The clinic continued here at Tikilasoa, otherwise known as Taloa, with the plan tomorrow being for eyecare worker Helen, dental care worker Morinda, plus doctor Tony, James and I heading up the hill about 1 hour to the nearby village of Malaliu.  Any complex dental cases will be sent back down to Lyndon, who still has a few patients to see, and a stock of the standard spectacles will be taken to meet most situation.

The mud on the track will make going a bit slippy but we are looking forward to working in a new village and have been assured that they are expecting us.  We’ll even take the mudbrick mold and instruction manual with us in case there’s interest in the Low Smoke Stoves.

Tomorrow is our last full day here and the following morning (Thursday) we’ll be away to the nearby island of Emau (also known as Emao) where we intend to run clinics in the villages of Wiana and Marou.  The island of Emau looks fascinating from here.  Very steep in parts with little flat land.

It’s starting to get late and so it’s off to bed

Smooth seas, fair breeze and maybe it’ll stop raining tomorrow.

Rob Latimer

www.msm.org.au