Maria Update 3

The locals call it Santo Village, but the Americans called it Luganville. Here in the biggest settlement on Espiritu Santo is where i’ll be spending the next 6 weeks, living on campus in one of the flats at Santo East Primary Secondary School. The town itself is a hodgepodge of buildings, concrete footpaths, and high gutters for the rainy season. There are hand-painted signs, even for international banks which adds character to the street side. The marketplace also provides a central meeting point of the town. Here, peanuts, pineapple, mango and taro and be obtained for a fraction of the cost of most fruit and vegetables in New Zealand.

When the Americans came they built airbases and runways, wharves and warehouses, roads and bridges. Some of these are still around, but probably the most striking reminder of this is the obnoxious double-laned main road which runs parallel to the water - the widest road anywhere for miles around. We drove through the jungle one afternoon on our way to the Matevulu Blue Hole, along a rutted, narrow dirt road that swung around and about for no apparent reason. We came around a corner and suddenly the road went straight ahead into the distance for several hundred metres. A runway. Seventy years old, potholed, but still serviceable. They are amazing the blue holes, surrounded by jungle and massive banyan trees. Dense growth on one side, rope swings leading into the electric blue water on the other. The water was blissfully cool, a welcome relief from the heat. otpaths, and high gutters for the rainy season. There are hand-painted signs, even for international banks which

adds character to the street side. The marketplace also provides a central meeting point of the town. Here, peanuts, pineapple, mango and taro and be obtained for a fraction of the cost of most fruit and vegetables in New Zealand.

Last Friday, Micah and I visited two rural schools with the Ministry blong Education. There were desks from the Christchurch earthquake-affected schools, laptops from the Japanese, a building from the World Bank. The education sector in Vanuatu is very aid dependant but with capacity building this can be overcome.

The plan is to go look at as many rural school systems are working, and what technologies they use.hools with solar as possible to assess whether the systems are working, and what technologies they use.

Until next time,

Maria


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