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.
And…
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!!!

Love,
Yaeli

30 Comments:

At 2:11 am, Blogger utenzi said...

Good luck out in the Islands, Yaeli. I miss you already. :-)

I had experiences like the shower and toilet while in Crete 25 years ago. It was very interesting, and in a weird way, fun. But once was enough! I expect you'll look back on this trip in the same way, Yaeli. Cheers and come back in one piece!

 
At 8:16 am, Anonymous netchick said...

Neat!!! Sounds like you are having a blast already! Best of luck during your stay, and maybe we might hear from you before you get back? I can't wait to hear all about your adventures...

Cheers! (and say hello to those 2 Canadians for me!)

 
At 11:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more chats with Yaeli, on msn... Its been a week and already i miss her....

Cheers

Nicos

 
At 5:10 am, Blogger Carmi said...

We miss you already, Yaeli, and are comforted by the knowledge that you're already enjoying yourself and making a difference.

My, what stories you'll be able to tell when you return. Can't wait to read 'em.

Stay well.

 
At 6:49 am, Blogger Aginoth said...

Good Luck Yaeli, just think off all the Blog Material we'll get upon your return. :o)

 
At 12:22 pm, Blogger dena said...

Posting from the trip, huh? Very cool. I miss hearing about your normal adventures, but will be looking forward to hearing more about this trip.

 
At 5:11 pm, Blogger Lish said...

We'll miss you, but have fun!
Lish

 
At 9:57 am, Anonymous netchick said...

I hope that volcanic activity didn't mess up your trip at all! I saw it on the news and immediately thought of you on your adventures...

Stay safe!

 
At 6:13 am, Blogger Michael Manning said...

How Cool, Yaeli! I'll be looking forward to an update!

Cheers!

 
At 2:09 am, Blogger utenzi said...

2 weeks down and 6 more to go until you return, Yaeli. I hope you're having a great time in Vanuatu--it's Hell out here without you!

 
At 3:21 am, Blogger Chris Best said...

no thats a case of de ja vue! ;-)

 
At 1:41 pm, Blogger ... jacek ... said...

are you opening a shady corporation in vanuatu? if youre not can you open one up for me, i swear I'll paypal you thestartup costs :) glad youre having fun though, and get a nice tan for me, im goin north for the holidays, here north means colder :p

 
At 3:58 pm, Anonymous Miss Aimee misses Yaeli said...

Hi All, got an email from Yaeli's mum this morning, tried to lodge it on her blog but silly Yaeli left me the wrong details! So here's some updates for ya'll!
1.. She and her team are located in a small village called Nokonwalla (not sure of the spelling) in the Enkel Region inland on Pentecost island. It took 22 hours to get there from Vila via boat and then in the "back of a ute"
2.. They are building an aide post as well as providing health and hygiene education on malaria, HIV and personal hygiene (yes the good old hand washing!)
3.. Much of her day she has spent lugging besser bricks for the aide post. They have now got the roof on and all of the walls and doors and windows are in place. The inside now has to be finished off. She sounded very proud of their work.
4.. The are living in a small house 6 x 8 metres in size and there are 13 living in the house. Her spot is sleeping in the middle of the lounge room in her mozzie dome.
5.. Each team member is assigned a homestay family. Yael is placed with the local nurse who runs the aide post. The nurse has a husband, parents and a couple of children
6.. She is humbled by the fact that everyone is so kind and generous despite the fact they have little. They are given lots of fruit such as bananas, papaya and pineapple each day. Her family killed a rooster for her this week. She said it was very gamey and tough but at least it was meat
7.. When she visits her family they give her their best straw mat to sit on while they sit on the dirt floor - she is treated like a princess
8.. Showering has been a challenge but she has mastered the 1 1/2 bucket shower. (I suggested she might like to stick to that when she got home but she was adamant that she wanted a good long shower)
9.. The villagers have not had white men (in any numbers) there before so she is quite a novelty. One little girl keeps coming up to her and rubbing her arm trying to rub off the white.
10.. Yael has been given the name of Matung Sungoo (not sure of the spelling) meaning Hibiscus flower. This name means she is allocated to a particular clan and can only marry certain eligible villagers!!
11.. For Christmas eve her group are singing carols for the locals in the village church. A couple of them have been asked to do readings
12.. Christmas day will be spent at church in the morning and then a big "cook up" in the community hall after that
13.. The villagers are very grateful for their help and say "they have been sent by God"
14.. She says the whole region she is living in looks like a scene from Madagascar the movie. Tis green green green with lots of palm trees

 
At 11:09 pm, Blogger Uisce said...

Merry Christmas!

 
At 4:06 am, Blogger utenzi said...

Thanks so much, Miss Aimee, for sharing that information. Yaeli is at the half way point in this adventure so it's only 4 weeks until she's back. Happy New Year, Yaeli!

 
At 9:33 pm, Blogger Emma_Gold said...

my llama! I misses you!!

so many issues I need your advice on - and you're not here... it just blows....

 
At 7:41 am, Blogger Uisce said...

I miss Yaeli.

 
At 12:59 pm, Blogger Michael Manning said...

HEY YAELI: Sounds a lot like "The Motorcycle Diaries" but cooler! A BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!!!

 
At 10:05 pm, Blogger Emma_Gold said...

llama's back soon.....
thank god!

 
At 2:57 pm, Blogger ... jacek ... said...

imaptiently taps foot waiting for yaeli to get back

 
At 1:55 am, Blogger utenzi said...

Just another week or so now. I hope this is a life enriching experience for you, Yaeli. It's just been painful for me. LOL

 
At 5:14 am, Blogger panthergirl said...

Vanuatu! I saw that on Survivor!! Hope you are having a fabulous trip and post lots of pictures when you get back.

 
At 2:20 am, Blogger utenzi said...

It's February now...it shouldn't be long before you're back, lovely Yaeli. It's been such a long wait! I hope you had a great life transforming experience in Vanuatu.

 
At 2:52 pm, Blogger Emma_Gold said...

The bad news?
Llama has extended her stay in Vanuatu to hang out with a native! LOL!

The good news?
She'll still be back, in just over a week, instead of in a few days!
And I got to talk to her for half an hours (my poor phone bill!!), but she sounds well and happy and thats all that matters!!

 
At 3:02 am, Blogger dena said...

When are you going to be back????

 
At 5:03 am, Blogger utenzi said...

We're almost at 10 weeks here, Yaeli (the Llama?) This waiting while you're hanging with a native is proving to be difficult. Still, obviously if you've extended your absense you must have had a great time. And I'm thankful for that. *sigh* Welcome back--when you get back.

 
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