The rainy season has officially started. It has been marked by at least one torrential downpour each day. This is no Christchurch spittle; this is the kind of rain which carves channels through the roads, momentarily flooding them, it is the kind of rain with enough significance that everybody stops to watch.
However, rain aside, this doesn’t stall day-to-day life here. The ‘white-roads’ (smaller, dirt roads) are full with traffic from the hills as families come to town selling produce to earn some money before Christmas. All the best spots have been taken at the market downtown - there is almost no room at the inn.
These past two weeks I have had the opportunity to visit a number of schools in and around Luganville in some more remote areas. These are generally only accessible by 4WD (particularly this time of year), and unlike New Zealand where 4WD is a sport, here it is a lifeline for those in rural communities.
At Vovlei School in Nabauk, I had the pleasure of attending the end of year graduation celebrations. There was a great sense of thanksgiving for the work of all the teachers and students throughout the year, but also to Save the Children and health workers who have opened an Aid Post on the school property. Gifts were given to them in gratitude: a bunch of taro and a live chicken.
I also went to Nasalauvunmol School, Narango in South Santo with World Vision. The library has recently been refurbished by a Peace Corp placement and the space was filled with children and adults alike, enjoying the books on offer.
Both these schools could benefit from solar systems. The Headmaster of Vovlei school, Mr Andrew Vuto, says he regularly comes into town to do any computer work or photocopying. At Narango, while they have a generator which they use to power a photocopier, it is expensive but is more easily accessibly than a long term solution.
I’m coming to the end of my placement here as in 10 days I will meet up with two other EWBNZ volunteers, Mark and Sofia, in Mark’s village.
llage of Willit in Ambym for Christmas. My last weeks here will be consolidating everything I’ve learnt during my time here and meeting with some key contacts in town. My time here has been worthwhile as I have not only been able to scope Santo East School (the main purpose of this trip) but also visit and scope a number of other schools within Santo, the best outcome we could have expected for this trip.
Finally, thank-you to everyone who made this trip possible, including the University of Canterbury and EA Networks, and a special thanks to my host family, the Solomans for being so incredibly welcoming to me. They have provided me a family to come back to, as well as much needed help and assistance which I am so grateful for.