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