A Travellerspoint blog

The End

Our last days in Nikaura were busy, contemplative and heartbreaking. Although we were excited to be going home to our friends and family and starting a new part of our lives (moving to Heathcote and Nic starting a new career in Environmental Science), we were also saddened at having to leave our new friends, the beautiful islands and especially the sense of community we felt living in a small village. “Community” just is, in Vanuatu and it’s something that we’ve never really experienced before. We have family, we have friends and we have all sorts of constructed support groups but it’s somehow not the same as everybody just knowing what you’re going through and pitching in to help when you need it regardless of who you are or what may have gone before.

OK, enough! Our last days were busier than we expected because instead of one big “las kakae” (farewell dinner), we had 10! We ate with different families, tribes or villages and as usual there was plenty of kava, too much food, speeches and presents. It all culminated in our “las las kakae” on our final night in Nikaura. This time we gave the speeches (even Nic) and we gave the presents.

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Our gift was a clock for the nakamal so that we’ve left our village with “waetman taem” (whiteman time) – the ni-Vans thought this was hilarious and promised to think of us when they look at the clock.

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We hired the Rocky String Band to play and they wrote us a farewell song.

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On our final morning after we packed up the last bits and pieces and were waiting for Api to come so we could jump onto the back of his beat up red Hilux one last time, Leipakoa came to ask Nic to move a tree from near the sport field as it would get too big there. Of course, one of her sons could have done it but she wanted a tree to remember us by.

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During our time in Vanuatu we made some “Top 10” lists and where better to share them than in our last blog entry. So keep watching for that one and I’ll post it when I find the book that we wrote the lists in! Things are a bit of a shambles at the moment.

In the meantime we want to say thank you to everyone who helped, wrote, posted comments, sent packages, visited, thought of us, collected books, and sent stationery, curries and Who magazines (Yes we were able to keep up with the antics of Paris and Nicole even from our remote village – it made all the difference! Mostly it made us not want to come home!!!)

Thank you all for your support. We’ll catch up with you soon.

Posted by debnic 14:46 Comments (1)

The Mural

.... as promised!

-17 °C

A while ago now I promised to do this blog entry so that Mike, our Peace Corps neighbour from the next village who is now back in the States, could see how Narelle and the students of Nikaura school added to the mural that he helped paint with the Kingsway students.

The main addition was a tree whose leaves were made using the handprints of the students.

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….and ours as well…

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… to create the final product.

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The artists:

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Narelle also extended Mike’s fish corner of the mural around the corner:

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And added a sunny design to the library door:

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It’s hard to fit the whole thing into a photo but this is the end section of the building:

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Nic’s niece, Sarina, who came visiting and was also been roped in to help paint. We painted the other classroom so that the entire school looks bright and fresh.

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Everyone loves how beautiful the place looks and we keep getting told that Nikaura School is the best looking school in Vanuatu!

Posted by debnic 16:12 Comments (1)

Meet the Parents

... a visit from Deb's Mum and Dad

We’ve had another chance to be tourists in Vanuatu with a visit from Deb’s folks as the excuse.

Dad had a new experience when we walked up to Mele Cascades – shoes off to cross the creeks and then he walked BARE FOOT. This is a man who puts slippers on to go 4 metres to the toilet during the night – I didn’t know he even had toes and I’ve been his daughter all my life! ☺

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We hired a car and drove around the island of Efate (we actually made it all the way around this time as we went north and didn’t get distracted by feeding turtles and sharks like Deb did when Vic, Narelle, Diago and Bohdi were here)

We stopped for a snorkel and coconut break at Eton Beach and Blue Hole. Very beautiful, a typical “tropical island paradise” type place!

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Another trip to Tanna and a climb up the volcano. Mum had hold of Deb’s fingers or arm the whole time and when Yasur boomed she left marks that can still be seen! (She has an aversion to heights, so it was a big ask to get her to stand on the rim of an active volcano in the first place!)

We all enjoyed the Cultural Tour at Jungle Oasis on Tanna. We were welcomed into the traditional house in the base of a banyan tree on the proviso that none of us strange spirit people with white skin kill any of the tribe and they carried Deb in, to show their respect for the group.

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Now we're looking forward to heading out to Epi together..... and later in July a visit from Nic's niece, Sarina.

Posted by debnic 16:02 Comments (1)

Another volcano

... Deb & Vic meet Yasur

After chilling out a bit on Epi, Vic and Deb set off for a Tanna adventure to see the active volcano, Mt Yasur.

Here's proof we were there (especially for those who claim Vic was never in Antartica because she's not in any of the photos!)

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Here's one especially for Vic's TAC colleagues - Vic in the back of a truck, screaming along the ash plains, no seatbelts required!
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But, of course, the real show began after dark....
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AWESOME.

Posted by debnic 16:37 Comments (1)

Latest visitors to Epi

Narelle, Diago and Bohdi came to visit us on Epi after a couple of days in Vila.

Lots of new experience were had:

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Relle tried pawpaw for the 1st time

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Diago took a ride in an outrigger canoe

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The boys drank fresh cocnuts

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Diago learned how to "mow" with a bushknife (Don't look Nonna!)

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Truck rides were a blast

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Relle found a new appreciation for her washing machine after this

But I think the highlight was a night snorkel with Mike and Phillip to catch, tag and release a turtle:
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I miss you all already. Thank you for letting me show you our island!
Love,
Deb

Posted by debnic 16:16 Comments (0)

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