Monday, September 03, 2007

Recently Charles decided to pay another visit to Vanua Lava, which is an island in the Banks and Torres at the far north of Vanuatu. You may remember from previous posts that this is where a number of Norfolkers constructed a cyclone-proof church/school about 13-14 years ago, funded by the Norfolk community. It is the area where the main foundation work of the Melanesian Mission began in the islands 150 years ago. Here, the memory of the First Bishop of Melanesia, John Coleridge Patteson is still held in great reverence There is also a strong feeling of affection for Norfolk Island and its people, not only because of the historical links through the Mission, but because of the practical assistance that has been rendered in recent years.

The main purpose of this visit was to renew friendships, particularly with Jimmy, who spent 6 months on Norfolk a couple of years ago. Charles also wanted to check on the arival of the shipment of carpentry hand tools which he had organised to be sent to the Fysher Young Training College in Port Patteson.

This visit, Charles invited Bernie, and also our friend Tom Lloyd to go with him, and they readily agreed, although they were a little anxious about coping with the very different culture, climate and foods. As it turned out, they had a wonderfully memorable time, and the people there were incredibly hospitable and generous with the few material resources they have in this very remote area. Bernie says that they are true Christian people, living out the Christian principles first taught to them in the 19th century, in a simple and genuine way.

The best way of showing the visit is through pictures

Enjoying a meal in the Markets in Vila en route. Sola and Vanua Lava are a further two hours of flying, with stops in Santo and Gaua Arriving at Sola Airport. The trip into the village involves a walk, and removing shoes in order to cross through a small stream

With Stanley Womak, the Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Banks and Torres. Freshly picked coconuts provide juice for refreshment.

The boys stayed in the bungalows at Lilian's guesthouse. Lilian is Jimmy's mother. For $20 per day, they had all meals, and their laundry done!

The shower and toilet block. The plumbing was a bit unreliable, but there was always a big bowl of water for the times when the toilet did not flush and the shower was not working!

Tom and Charles' bungalow - they left Bernie to snore in peace in his own. Believe it or not, Jimmy worked these boards using just a chainsaw, sanding them by hand.

Bernie's room, in a different building style.

Jimmy's younger brother Patteson (named after the Bishop) sleeps here, beside the beach!

I will show some more pictures in the next posting!

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