One more sleep … !!

In town we went straight to the World Vision workshop and after lunch I gave a talk and showed a DVD on making Low Smoke Stoves out of mudbricks. All the information was left for them to consider further and hopefully introduce into the villages they are working when they return to their various islands this Saturday. Read more…

Thursday 29 August 2013


Beach front Resort (anchored off the …)

15 31.36S   167 09.92E

With Mission 1 and 2 now behind us it’s time to focus on Mission 3 … and it starts in less than 24 hours.

I suppose it officially started around this time last week when the mission 2 crew flew home and Cathy and I came aboard to prepare the way for the next team …

Sailors:  Matt Bryant, David Todeschini

Medical:  Barry Stewart, Graeme Duke, Doug Utley, Nancy Chang, Ruth Wilkinson


In addition, local Dental Care Worker, Bob Natuman and Eyecare Worker Gibson Ari will also be joining us, making a total of 11 aboard for the next two and a bit weeks

After another wonderful sleep, (just not enough of it) we started early on cleaning the rooms (sorry, cabins) for each of the volunteers and allocating bunks according to the mysterious dark-art of Bunkology, taking into account such volunteer characteristics as … age, gender, mobility and agility, team function, resilience and ethnicity.  Sadly, each person’s snoring score will have to remain a mystery until at least tomorrow night.


The shower base modifications were completed this morning and the base sanded, painted and left in the sun to dry.  Yes, we did see the sun today and nice as it is, after a lot of windy overcaste stuff, it does add to the “perpetual perspiration” feel of the place.

Before we’d even walked out of the Beachfront Resort gate this morning to hail a taxi, what should pull in … but a taxi.  The driver had a woman and a man inside and seeing me on my own he thought I’d fill the spare spot in the back.  Then around the corner came Cathy and the driver suggested maybe we wait and he would come back for us.  I explained that we needed to get to town soon and that all was fine … we’d go out on the road and hail a taxi.  After all, every second vehicle seems to be a taxi.  The driver went back to the car briefly and then returned to us with a big smile saying … “egood, they will wait, I come back for them”  … Cathy and I naturally felt a bit uncomfortable about getting a lift at someone else’s expenses, but they all seemed very comfortable with the idea so away we went.

In town we went straight to the World Vision workshop and after lunch I gave a talk and showed a DVD on making Low Smoke Stoves out of mudbricks.  All the information was left for them to consider further and hopefully introduce into the villages they are working when they return to their various islands this Saturday.

It was then a rather warm walk back to the main street to discover that a lot of people had gathered in the park and the main road had actually been blocked off.  We later discovered, after reading the “closed” sign on the Telecom Vanuatu shop door that it was in fact a public holiday for many.  This public holiday was called the “Municipal day”  or Luganville Day.  It didn’t surprise us, we’ve heard this place is the public holiday capital of the world.  From what I heard it tops 20 days.

Despite the holiday, Health Regional Manager Joseph Mape was in his office when we went past and so we dropped in and apologized for not being able to make it yesterday as promised, but if he had time we’d be happy to show him the mudbrick DVD.  “Yes, come in and show me”, was the reply.  The holiday meaning no one else was there to disturb the show.  When it was completed and we were on the veranda ready to leave, Joseph noticed a health promotions worker in the distance and call out for him to come over.  It was a man called Casimir Liwuslili and “yes” he was keen to see the film.  We retreated to a presentation room and he seemed very taken with the idea and explained that they have been trying to introduce improved toilets to all the villages under his control, with varying success and that the stoves would be another way of improving health because as he explained, many people actually sleep in the same hut in which they cook, making for chronic eye, nose and throat problems

It made me think of a hand washing idea Graeme Duke had shown me earlier in the year called a Tippy Tap.  I explained this to Casimir and I even drew a diagram on the board from memory as best I could and he was determined to get more information …



While we were saying good-bye to Joseph we reminded him that we were heading off tomorrow night and whether there was anything the Health Department needed transported north. That’s how come we will pick up 14 boxes of toothpaste tomorrow some time.

Our next stop was the big supermarket and as we were standing at the cashier who should walk up and say hello but Richard Tatwin – finally on his way home (to Port Vila via Santo) from the annual church assembly on the island of Ambrym.  Consequently we held what amounted to a formal planning meeting there on the footpath, going through each topic of importance.  It was a most fortuitous meeting given the number of issues to consider and the fact that Richard has been offline for around 2-3 weeks now.

At the same time, Sean, the 27 year old solo US sailor came wandering by – into the supermarket to check things out.  I’ve learned that he was originally from North Carolina, which accounts for the pronounced accent.  We had a good ol chat and he is a bit unsure which islands he’ll drop in at, by he’s definitely headed north.


Back on the boat we had 2-3 hours to continue the preparation work before making our way to Bev and Nahil’s resort Village de Santo,  for our ride to the Santo Rotary Club “Family Night”.  In short, it was a wonderful night and yes, I did get a chance to talk about mudbricks and Low Smoke Stoves, it’s just that my audience now contained business owners,  (including the previously mentioned supermarket in town) plus key employees, past and present, of NGOs  and Government departments.


At the end of my, now familiar talk which Cathy pointed out I’d given 4 times today, it was agreed that the club would adopt the stoves as a “Project”  which in Rotary-speak means we will push, promote and get behind this thing with all our energy.

So it was a happy, but very tired puppy that made his way back to the boat this evening.  On arrival, Cathy put the kettle on and I opened the computer to start writing about the exciting things that have happened today

Tomorrow we head off early to give a talk on … I feel embarrassed to say … Low Smoke Stoves, to the Santo staff of World Vision (different group to today) and we will also catch up with Bob  Natuman (dental worker) who will be flying in from Pt Vila.  We also hope to catch up with Gibson – eyecare worker – refer to Mission 2010.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and one more sleep to go.

Robert Latimer


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