Maria Update 5

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.

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Maria Update 4

This week I’ve done some travelling around Santo, and a curious phenomena I’ve seen is the practice of placing a bottle filled with water on top of the electricity meter. On Sunday I drove to the Lope Lope river to swim with my flatmate Liz and her sister, as this is where some of their extended family live. According to some, this makes the meter tick over slower. Things definitely work differently in Vanuatu!

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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.

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Maria Update 2

Shops selling solar panels, batteries, and other components are literally everywhere in Port Vila and Luganville.  Some are sold in ‘green power’ shops and others are leaned up against the display windows or positioned by shop entryways along with clothing, toys, and other household goods.  Solar is far from unknown in Vanuatu.  In fact in a country where approximately 70% of people have no access to electricity, solar is quickly becoming the energy source of choice.

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Maria Update 1

"Welcome to Vanuatu!" said my taxi driver. "You might notice we drive on both sides of the road and there is no speed limit!". As we sped along to my accommodation dodging other motorists, I was able to briefly take in the beauty of Port Vila's lagoon through fleeting glances between trees. The next morning, I was able to go exploring properly with an early morning run. I was under the impression that it would be cooler. Nope, still a balmy 24C.

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