Church, Children and Chocolate

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Loltong, Pentecost Island

Ahoy me hearties!! So, Cap’n Jon has finally worn me down and nagged enough for the humble dental nurse on this intrepid adventure to put pen to paper (or finger to key). Being the team member with negligible sailing experience and sadly the only one to suffer the curse of sea sickness, I hope I will not disappoint you in that I can share nothing of ANY significance when it comes to the workings of the ship. I have no idea what the winch is up to, nor whether the hatches are up or down…but I have enjoyed the few hours of motoring we have done so far…and my Stemitil and Phenergan and dodgy Chinese sea sickness patches that I bought off EBay are serving me well. May it long continue!
The two dentists and myself have thus far been staying in the villages with our three Ni-van team members. We have been very well looked after and every effort made to make us welcome and comfortable. We have eaten lots and lots of rice and taro and cassava with several variations of chicken wings! I have no idea where all the wingless chicken ends up, but there must be a lot of them! Every now and then a lovely banana, piece of pawpaw or pomelo comes our way which is very much appreciated.

We have really been ‘living it up’ in our waterside Loltong guesthouse. We have two bedrooms and a dining and food prep area and are even hosting a rather flash dinner for the team here tonight. The shower in our front yard consists of a little tin shack with half the sea facing wall missing. It has a great view…both ways perhaps… There is a bucket of water to douse ourselves with, after which we soap up and douse again. Very refreshing at the end of the day. The toilet is a bit more of a hike up a stony path past the cooking hut. It looks legit. White pedestal, cistern, toilet seat and even paper…but sadly, no water. That has to be emptied into the loo by bucket from the 44 gallon drum outside. Oh well, it still serves the purpose.
This morning Cap’n Jon picked us up outside our door in the dinghy and took us ‘around the corner’ to attend church in Lantano where we also stayed for the day to do our Oral Health Surveys. The service was lovely, conducted in a mix of English, French, Bislama and the local dialect. The singing was of course done acapella in stunning four part harmonies. Such a beautiful privilege to experience.
The surveying was a bit slow going with a couple of our Ni-van recorders being a bit under the weather today, but by the end of the day we still managed to accomplish quite a bit. The children in this village have been very forward and confident from the start. We have played a few games and done the hokey pokey, and I have had to keep a close eye on both the dentists’ and my stool to be sure that our little three year old friend didn’t keep stealing them. Whenever one was missing, sure as eggs, this little guy would be happily perched on it somewhere nearby.
So, while we have been slaving away with our dental and child entertaining skills who knows what our dedicated crew have been up to. I have heard rumours of naps and tedious housekeeping chores as well as the worst lunch so far. I actually did Ray a favour yesterday by depositing an appropriate amount of mud from my sandals in the bottom of his dinghy thus giving him a good reason to give it a good wash. He accused me of bringing cow pooh onto his boat so I may now have to answer to the unfortunate name of Annie Pooh Shoes…but there is NO WAY it was cow pooh. Just saying…

I had best sign off now to our faithful followers, as there are increasingly impatient requests for me to finish up so the crew can head back to Chimere. But that is OK. All will be forgiven soon I have no doubt…as I have chocolate!
Thank you for your interest in our adventures. Over and out.

Ann (Aka Annie Pooh Shoes)

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