The anticipation of medical arrivals

Friday 23 June 2017
Port Resolution 
After an amazingly clear, star lit night the day began sunny and warm with a light breeze from the Southeast
Around 7 o’clock we were joined by one of the many men in their dugout canoes that paddle and fish in this small bay.  His name was Charlie and we explained that we will be running medical clinics over the next few days. He was very interested in attending and called to his friends, one of whom had a bad tooth that needed pulling.
No one went away empty-handed with three Footscray football club caps (donated by Bulldogs tragic Carmel Noble) being given out
I’m not sure whether it was after breakfast, or before breakfast that everyone (except me – someone had to stay on shark-watch … that was a joke by the way, if you happen to be friends with, or related to, anyone on board) went for a swim to the steam vents
While everyone was relaxing in the hot water by the age of the bay I received a phone call from Morinda onshore saying that Nurse Nancy had fainted but was now resting on a bed.
A quick dinghy ride and our very own nurse Annette was at Nancy’s side, ably supported by Deb, taking blood pressure readings, pulse and asking all the usual medication and “how-does-that-feel” questions
It was around this time that travel plan “refinements” where in full swing as texts and emails were exchanged back and forth between me in Port Resolution, Bob in Lenakel on the other side of the island, Mike Clarke and Graeme Duke in Melbourne and doctor David James and Richard in Port Vila.
“Did you know David James is flying into Tanna today, not tomorrow with the others?  Can we get someone to meet him at the airport, he’ll need accommodation too??” started Mike
“i’ll see what Bob can do? I suggested
“Yes, me pick im up no worries” came Bob’s reply
“All sorted Mike… Bob can get David” I assured
Then note from David…
“Sorry to add to confusion but think sorted I am going to Santo on sat 8 am plane from Vila with the rest of team . Staying in Vila as lots to do here’s and thought simpler to arrive with the others rather than make special arrangements for me”
Did he say Santo??  I hope not!!  Cos the other team members are coming south to Tanna not north to Santo.
Thanks be to modern communications … or maybe they created the problem in the first place
Back on board the boat, with Nancy resting and medical team member movements clarified, a picnic lunch was packed and the crew headed off to do some exploring through the village to the ocean beach on the far side.  
I was happy to remain on board with lots of catching up to do including baking bread, mission planning and boat maintenance
But soon after the departure of Chimere’s explorers I was joined by another fishermen in his dug-out canoe by the name of Tawa.  Tawa was keen to trade fruit and vegetables for a mask, snorkel and flippers – or as they say here … “feet blong duck duck” which I was happy to oblige.
In the end Tawa joined me for lunch and enjoyed two new taste sensations – beetroot and Vegemite!  Well, he said he enjoyed them and who am I to doubt his integrity.
Ship’s Log readers from previous years will know that I put a lot of energy into teaching the making of Low Smoke stoves, made out of sun-dried mud bricks.   It was something of a crusade which, in the end, didn’t seem to gain much traction.   Well I raised the idea with Tawa and after showing him some photos and additional information on the health benefits of low smoke stoves he seemed genuinely interested; for his own wife and children plus the community more generally
In the end we developed a plan that we would meet at church on Sunday and make a stove on Monday not out of clay but out of concrete!!  The problem with the sun dried clay bricks seemed to be that they took too long and the system seemed too complicated.  If it is something Ni-Vans understand it’s concrete, and so I’ve been busy redesigning my earlier models into what I’m calling the “Port Resolution 4-Burner Special”.  We’ll see how it works out on Monday.  I asked Bob to bring a bag of cement over from Lenakel, which by the way, are sold in 40 kg bags here!
Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter in the “Low smoke stove Chronicles”
If you want to know just how bad smoke inhalation is, just a small amount of searching on the web will reveal the horrible truth.  At around 2 million deaths per year it certainly kills more than malaria in the developing world.
The stars are out bright as ever tonight and tomorrow we will have the whole team together, if all goes to plan
And as I write this by myself on the foredeck of Chimere I am joined by Daniel, Annette, Gerry, Deb, Martin and now Peter … out to gawk at the amazing profusion of stars above our heads … I’m reminded of the scene from The Lion King … you had to be there
There is a rumour that everyone will be going to visit the mouth of the volcano tomorrow night before the clinics start for real … but we’ll see
Smooth seas, fair breeze and the anticipation of medical arrivals
Rob Latimer 

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