Tuesday 30 July 2013
by Andrew Latimer
The weather today is the same as yesterday, sunny and hot. And the forecast is the same for the week which bodes well for a good first day on board for the medical team who arrive on Friday.
Today is very special in the Vanuatu calendar; National Independence Day. I bought all three local newspapers and sifted through English, Bislama and French articles looking for a program of activities. Nothing could be found. However, we did know that something would take place on the sports oval near the clinic where Richard is often staring in cricket or soccer. What we didn’t know was when so we guessed 11am.
We started the day with a Independence Day Classic Big Breakfast, cooked up by sous chef, Denis. At 10am there was a sail past organized by the local sailing club for the occasion. We dutifully sounded our fog horn and waved them past. We had dressed the ship in little Vanuatu flags. Denis decided that this should be followed by cappuccino and proceed to make the first ones of this trip. Without the proper equipment Denis had to improvise and using first principles did a great job. Since I have sworn off coffee for a while I resisted the temptation. But Denis and Dave savoured the moment.
We made our way up the hill to the oval in time for 11am. However, when we arrived it was clear that celebrations and speeches had been going on for some time. We listened to speeches and watched the marching parade. The first aid officers had to take one soldier off the parade ground due to the heat. Afterwards they circulated among the parade offering water. There was a little group of girl guides in the parade and they were the most enthusiastic marchers; very cute.
As we walked away at the end of the proceedings we bumped into Peter (of dental equipment technician fame) so as we were near the clinic we showed him where it was. We are due back there at 9am tomorrow.
We lost Dave again. This time he found his way into a protest by the New Caledonian Free Kanaky Party or was it the Vanuatu Union and Labour movement or both. They had banners and slogans and during the conversation with Dave they would suddenly burst into chants and waved the banners as the dignitaries’ cars past by.
With the promise of a cold drink we coaxed Dave to follow us back down the hill to the town. As it is a public holiday not many stores were open. In the end we found somewhere to have a cold drink after walking the full length of town and back again.
The rest of the day moved slowly partly due to the heat and partly because it was a public holiday and very little was open.
Later in the day Julie and Anne from Children First Foundation popped by to leave some literature about the foundation. The girls posed for a round of photos on the yacht.
Tomorrow it will be busy at the clinic on technical matters and later with Richard doing some planning for Tour 2 back on the yacht.
Smooth seas, fair breeze and happy Independence Day