Thursday, April 27, 2006
Kim and Charles returned yesterday from their fortnight in Vanuatu. They were full of their wonderful and memorable experiences.
Although they had a few days in the better known centres in Port Vila and Santo, much of their time was spent in a more remote area up in Vanua Lava in the far north. This is a little island which has a strong connection with Norfolk Island.
About 12 years ago, a group of fellows from Norfolk Island went up there to build a cyclone-proof church/school at Port Patteson. This is the spot where a Norfolk Island boy, Fysher Young, was buried in the 1860's, when he died from tetanus contracted after receiving spear wounds at another island. Fysher, and another Norfolk boy Edwin Nobbs had been travelling with Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, on work for the Melanesian Mission. Edwin also died, but was buried at sea. Fysher Young's grave has been lovingly tended ever since then by the locals, who are very proud of their heritage and links with the Melanesian Mission.
Last year, Toara ("Jimmy") Wona came from there to spend a few months on the island and gain some experience of the "outside world"! He stayed with our son John, who had first met him when they went up to build the church. We have also enjoyed visits from bishop and clergy from the province of the Banks and Torres Islands, which has its Diocesan base in the nearby centre of Sola.
In fact, out of gratitude for the financial support that our church here gives to the Fysher Young Training Centre in Port Patteson, and because of the friendship with Jimmy, Kim and Charles were entertained right royally by the people there, and by the local church in particular.
Even while in Santo, they spent time in a village outside the city, with relatives of George, who is living here at the moment with his wife and family.
Kim and Charles have some wonderful tales to tell about the hospitality, the foods, the local customs, and the truly lovely people they met.
I must post some more pictures in a day or two.