Monday, December 05, 2005

Hello from Vanuatu!

Hi everyone!!! I ran away without a farewell post!!! How rude of me!!! I didn't mean to but my interent was down and I couldn't get online to post before I left.
Here is an e-mail that I just sent home to update you all and tide you over until I can next post in 8 or 9 weeks. Please leave lots of happy comments for me to read when I get back! Cheers!!!

Hi everyone!
I have made it safely into Vanuatu and have managed to find my way to the internet café in Port Vila to send you all and e-mail and let you know what’s happening.

It’s been a really interesting first few days and I’m so comfortable here that it’s hard to believe that we’ve only been here 3 days!!! It is super hot and humid but I couldn't tell you exactly what temperatures we've had because I haven't seen a thermometer since before we arrived. We are currently staying in the local scout hall (also known as the “scat hol” – which means poo hole in Bislama) but tomorrow we leave for our projects out on the islands. More about that later.

In the last 3 days I have:
Had cold showers in a tiny, dirty little concrete shower that is at the end of our dining room in the scout hall, with only a mouldy, crusty shower curtain separating my nekkid body from the other 30 people going about their business a foot away. (Mum, just wait til you see the photos of the shower… They’d look great in one of your infection control lectures!)
Slept on my sleeping mat on the concrete floor of the scout hall, in a 3 metre X 3 metre room with 3 other people.
Used a squat toilet. (At least this one had a flush on it.)
Drunk Kava at a nakhamal in someone’s backyard and was brave (or stupid) enough to go back for seconds. :o)
Had a swim in the bay at Port Vila.
Made lots of new friends.

There are 15 Aussies, 2 Canadians and 15 Ni-Vans (Vanuatu natives) participating in the program and everyone is great fun. The Ni-Vans are having a great laugh at my Bislama (the national language here) and a few of them have nicknamed me “fatfat” (fatty) for a laugh. I’ve told them that they’ll have to change that to “punpun” (skinny) when I get back from the core project! :o)

Tomorrow I leave for Pentecost Island. I’m heading to a small village called Enkul to help build a medical aid post and to do some health and hygiene education for the next 8 weeks. There are 10 of us going, including 2 other nurses. I think it’s going to be awesome fun.

I will e-mail again when I return in 8 weeks. In the mean time feel free to e-mail and I will get it when I get back to Efate where Port Vila is.

I hope everyone at home is well and I look forward to showing you all photos when I get back!!!