Building contacts and networks

Our destination was the Rural Health headquarters in the main street to witness Bev handing over a new refrigerator on behalf of the local Rotary Club, to local health worker Willie Tangis (Chief) for use in his clinic at Fanafo; inland from here and by all accounts very much under resourced. Read more…

Monday 26 August 2013

Beach front Resort (anchored off the …)
15 31.36S 167 09.92

Like heading off to work, Cathy and I made our way ashore around 8:45 this morning, heading straight to the 1606 restaurant where Bev was preparing to travel the short distance to town.  It was a pre-arranged meeting from yesterday and after a cool drink and a chat with the solo yachtsman David, we all climbed aboard the ute and tagged along.

Our destination was the Rural Health headquarters in the main street to witness Bev handing over a new refrigerator on behalf of the local Rotary Club, to local health worker Willie Tangis (Chief) for use in his clinic at Fanafo; inland from here and by all accounts very much under resourced.


I used Bev’s camera to document the handshaking and speech making, after which we had a good chat with Willie about his dilemma in bringing health services to Fanafo, Stonehill and Selei – all inland outposts, with a combined population of 4,180 people, with few resources.

For the past couple of weeks Willie has been traveling with Brian and Jan from Pacific Yacht Ministries (PYM) on their yacht Another Angel and it was clear they had a close friendship when Brian and Jan wandered in a short time later to drop off some gear left on the boat.

Manager of the Rural Health for the region is Joseph Mape and we had a long chat with him about dental care, mudbrick stoves and the work of PCV Health and what MSM is doing to assist with transport.  He seemed very receptive and so I transferred copies of the “Healthy Teeth & Healthy Life” presentation onto his computer, along with some other heath promotional files.  We agreed to drop back tomorrow to show Joseph the Low Smoke Stove DVD and then it was onto the hospital at the top of the hill to meet a few people – in particular at the dental department and also Dr Johnson Kasso in the eyecare unit who we’d ‘rescued’ from the island of Tongoa, along with his surgical team of
five, back in early July on account of the rain.

In the end we met a lovely woman called Dr Bride up at the hospital. She was treating a patient when we arrived so we hung around.  A lot of Bride’s time is supposed to be allocated to dental education and awareness, but she explained that she is so busy seeing people that she hasn’t been out to give a talk all year.

Soon after our arrival, in walked Brian and Jan off Another Angel and it seemed a question of who was stalking whom.  We learnt that the other two dentists, who Bride described as her bosses, were away – Dr Julie was sick and Dr Mark was somewhere else.   So tomorrow we will return.


On our walk up to the hospital we had passed a house with World Vision written on the fence and then when we were going into a café to buy lunch a 4wd vehicle turned up with World Vision written on the door. I couldn’t help myself, so a struck up a conversation with the driver and pretty soon I leant that they have a range of projects on the go –
in the health and development fields.  I was keen to learn more about the World Vision projects and when I touched on the Low Smoke stoves it was suggested that we should catch up again – tomorrow, 10:00am at the hospital.

It was then in for some lunch and who should be sitting there but solo English yachtsman David and an English  couple off a lovely yacht that pulled in yesterday, their names are Richard and Ali (Alison).  Over lunch we attempted to solve the world’s problems, (as you do)  and when the topic of helping the people in the villages at which they stop I raised the topic of the … you guessed it … the Low Smoke stoves and given they seemed genuinely interested we all agree to meet on Richard and Ali’s boat at 3:30pm to see the DVD.

On the way back to the boat Cathy and I dropped into the supermarket for a big shop-up – lots of muesli for the next team, plus a pile of other things – including a plastic fruit juicer for getting the most out of the many pamplemooses still lying around the deck from the earlier mission.

At the supermarket we met a friendly New Zealand couple – obviously off a boat, you can just tell  their names are Eric and Ann – “You must be Andrew’s brother” said this man outside the supermarket – how can people tell?  Before I could come up with anything clever to say, Eric explained that he’d met Andrew down at Akam Island a few weeks back
and was doing a cruising guide which not only shows anchorages and places to go, but who to meet when you get there and what to expect. It’s a NZ Aid project and will be further developed with the addition of a website that yachties can visit and add further information – sort of a Wikiyacht guide to Vanuatu.

With our pile of groceries beside us on the pavement out the front of the supermarket we waved down a taxi and were soon back on the boat. Cathy set about getting a clearer picture of what and where all the food is, and in the process dived into the lower storage bin.  As boxes and tins began to surround her on the saloon table I suggested I’d … “get out of her way” … and zip over to the neighbours for our pre-arranged DVD showing.

The Low Smoke Stove DVD was well received by David, Richard and Ali and after looking over their boat  (a beautiful Hallberg-Rassy 53 for those who are interested, much like this one …  ) It was back to Chimere to continue my shower based re-build.

Cathy cooked up some rice and to accompany the exotically sounding but basically still a “meal-in-a-can” – which we agreed tasted pretty good.  Topped off with chilled fruit and custard.

We have a few more meetings and “follow-ups” tomorrow and there’s still some frozen meat and cheese to buy – but that can wait.  And who knows, we might get down and dirty with a real mudbrick demonstration at some stage in the next couple of days.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and building our contacts and networks

Robert Latimer

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