Wednesday 10 July 2013
Pele & Nguna Islands
As our clinic in the church hall here at Taloa went into its third day, it was time to send a medical team up the hill to the village of Malaliu.
Unfortunately rain squalls became more frequent during the night and persisted for much of the day making tracks and paths very damp, muddy and slippery. Our travelling medical team consisted of Tony, Helen, Morinda, James and me, with the walk taking about an hour each way.
On arrival, Morinda did a dental awarenenss talk to the school and Helen began testing eyes. Tony did a few blood pressure tests and overall it seemed a very healthy community.
Interest was high in a mudbrick stove demonstration and once the word had spread around we ended up with the local chief leading the way, even putting the shovel to shame by getting in and mixing the mud and coconut fibre by hand. I took a small DVD player with me this time with our “How to make a stove” video grabbing everyone’s attention, particularly the part which showed the completed stove in use. (Refer to website link) In watching the video several people recognized a Ni-van chap, Alec who comes from the island we are visiting tomorrow: Emao. Alec and several of his friends have been in Australia recently under a temporary farm-worker visa program.
We passed the word around today about our desire to buy some fruit and vegetables and a lovely lady by the name of Caroline sent a message to the next village down the road, returning with a wheelbarrow full of goodies.
Tonight’s dinner was another Jon special combining a frozen meal and a mix of island vegetables . This was backed up with choc muffins, banana and custard. Jon’s long-time navy buddy Ramon suggested that as a retired weapons engineer Jon makes a wonderful cook.
Other notable events worthy of report include an electric toilet that continues to work perfectly (although I may regret having said that), a fantastic watermaker and diesel generator that allows us to have regular hot showers and deckhatches that do a great job of keeping out the torrential rain; although it must be said that they don’t work so well if left in the open position – as Tony and Christine discovered yesterday.
Lyndon has been very busy fixing teeth and our arrival back that the boat tonight in the dark was again the result of “just one more” patient sneaking onto his list. It’s been very satisfying to see people wander in with obvious discomfort, only to leave an hour or two later much improved.
Tomorrow we up-anchor as early as we dare, (after first returning a bread knife ashore which we accidentally put into our bag in the dark tonight on our return) and make our way through the Natasiriki Passage to the island of Emao; a dramatically steep island maybe 10-20 miles away. Hopefully the anchorage is as good as this one; although I doubt it.
Smooth seas, fair breeze and up the hill and back again