Test tube racks, seriously?

Thursday 15 June 2017
Port Vila Seawall

Before leaving for Vanuatu we loaded aboard bags of donated caps, hats, shirts, snorkels, flippers, school books, school bags, you name it.  Even a bag full of baby clothes and blankets addressed to the Port-Vila hospital’s maternity ward.

But a bag full of test tube racks?  You serious?

I must say I had my misgivings but they were kept to myself as more room was found on Chimere for the ever expanding amount of donated gear – in the dinghies, under the bunks, on the coachhouse, in the vacant cabin up front – but test tube racks?

Well today I had a brief meeting with Jonathan, the head of the Presbyterian Church’s education department about an idea to establish a Vanuatu Literary Council to encourage the writing of distinctly local Vanuatu stories by people of all ages, through an annual writing competition.  It’s just an idea, but while we were chatting Jonathan informed me that in the last few days he’d met with a principal and science teacher at the local school called Seaside.  Apparently they’d received a supply of test tubes for the science lab but were storing them in a box.

Enter stage left… a stack of test tube racks recently unloaded from Chimere!

The photos below and the message from Jonathan kind of tell the story.  Amazing!


This is the school principal Daniel after receiving the holders the next day after Jonathan received them from Robert Latimer.


This the Science teacher from Seaside school placing some of his donated test tubes that were always kept in the box and now he can have them safe in the text tube holders.

See the smile on his face.

Down at the waterfront, the sanding and painting of the deck continues with Eddie and Louie proving to be good, reliable workers.  They’ll be back again tomorrow and possibly the next day too, as we make a push to finish the job before the first medical team arrives next week.

In other news, we got to use the first aid kit today.  No, it’s not what you think.  No one aboard did themselves an injury, but when Eddie came on board I said “what did you do to your leg?”, the open wounds looking so obvious.

“Oh, I was working on a building site the other day and piece of wire went in and I had to pull it out”

“E-hurt?” I inquired

“Yes e-hurt”, came the reply

So it was that Eddie started the day with some Betadine and three brand new sticking plasters on his shin, with a few more in his pocket for later.

Martin and I went around to the Customs office at the wharf to obtain our inter Island cruising permit; a necessary piece of official paper enabling us to travel from island to island

Peter scrubbed the side of the hull and supervised our workers while I did some computer work up at the PCV office.

And life continues at a tranquil Melanesian pace with the humid 26° temperatures raising a sweat on me without any physical exertion!

Smooth seas, fair breeze and who would’ve thought … test tube racks!

Rob Latimer

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