Last update from Newora, Vanuata
28 August 2015
Our final email to say Thank you!
We were invited to Newora Village yesterday for the handing over of the ‘kappa’ iron to each of the 54 families who’s homes were damaged or completely destroyed. Some families have been living in tents, some in semi restored houses using tarpaulins and rocks, and others with relatives. The mummas welcomed and thanked us with songs on the beach, and prayers were said too.
The lady at centre back was in one of our first pics. Nelly is a widow and her house blew away except for the wooden frame. She has been living in a 5 man tent that we owned and gave to her ever since my first visit a week after the cyclone.
We felt very, very privileged and quite overwhelmed with our gifts of carvings, woven mats and bags and specially made island clothes! We shook hands with everyone of the families and there were many teary eyes and hugs and all said a big thank you to all of you who donated the funds for them to re roof and start to rebuild.
Sadly, these villages have not seen any help with building or water from the government. The Government has given fee relief for high schools by waiving fees for families that earn a living from agriculture as these villages do, and therefore have no income at the moment. Unfortunately though, the government has not, as it promised it would, subsidised the schools so some boarding schools are being forced to close with no funds to buy food. Luckily on Nguna the high school doesn’t have boarders so remains open after substantial help to re roof from private groups.
The kappa sorted by Gillou into family bundles. No mean feat! He will also count out and distribute the 150kg of roofing nails that you purchased to do the job.
But more positively, our Nguna Island trip yesterday was really positive and so full of love and gratitude! After the hand over of the kappa, thanks, and a lovely lunch of fresh fish, Brian and I hiked up the track to the communities gardens. They have been given seeds and have organised themselves to plant in stages and sell the produce in two Port Vila supermarkets, with groups working together and even hiking the return 1.5 hour trip at 1am to harvest the coriander and lettuce to go to town fresh, at 5am. The amazing community garden will give the village income to help replace the mangos, avocados and nuts that won’t grow back for at least a year. Many of these seeds were purchased for the village through Revivevanuatu.org.
The mango trees would be starting to bud now and coming up to Christmas would be the major source of income for the village - and much of the island. It’s amazing to see this old tree still alive and with fresh green growth. Sadly it will be 2 years before there is a harvest. Fruit trees that have survived and will bear again in 2 years; even an odd coconut to be seen now too.
We have been so delighted to work with this community, their lovely Chief and ‘main man’ Gillou who was an enormous help in so many ways and organised the transport of the kappa for the cost of a meal for the barge crew! He is incredibly community minded and motivated and is really the driving force to get the community back on its feet.
We could say that’s the end of the story! But actually it’s a never ending story and if you want to check out some more projects that we are involved with go to Revivevanuatu.org. or follow their Facebook page.
A final TANKU TUMUS OLFELLA from Newora community and ourselves,
All the best,
Anne and Brian
30 May 2015
Well we are definitely on the home leg!
Below is copied from an email we sent to the Iron roofing supplier on Monday, so we now just wait for the order to be cut to size, ready for payment. The leaders from the village have organised a barge to deliver the order from Vila. Something like a six hour trip. The barge captain is originally from Nguna so they have been able to arrange this through family which is wonderful.
We have finally reached the solution to fairly sharing the iron we can afford , within the village…
We would like to buy
89 sheets of 3.000 length
30 sheets of 3.500 length
106 sheets of 4.000 length
31 sheets of 4.500 length
78 sheets of 5.000 length
5 sheets of 6.000 length
That should be a total of 1355.5 meters
If we can buy this at 850 vatu per meter , totalling 1,152,175 vt, we can go ahead with the order
I think we will also need approx 150 kg of roofing nails , to go with the iron. Do you think this is about the right amount Thomas ?
I think they are 295vt a kilo ? from our last purchase with you, that's 44250 vt on top.
If this is all correct , Thomas, can you please send me your bank account details , so I can transfer the money from my Westpac account
Meanwhile, to keep ourselves occupied, today we have helped deliver more donated food to a boarding college about 40 minutes away in Nth Efate.
Onesua College is a Senior School, years 9 to 13, for boarding students. It has over 400 students registered but at the moment there are 320 attending. There is also an adjoining technical training College that the Headmaster administers. The Headmaster raised awareness to their lack of supplies through the local weekly paper so we were able to get together with other neighbours to drop off donated food still in storage, and other food including fresh vegetables purchased. This included a contribution by our friends of over 100kg of flour for the training college students to bake bread for themselves and the school.
The school had some rice and sugar stockpiled and have planted vegetables that will be ready to start harvesting in about 3 weeks so they were very glad of anything to add to their rice! There had recently been many tonnes of potatoes donated to Vanuatu and distributed to all boarding schools ( see pic) so that has been their staple - rice and spuds.
The Government has recently, temporarily suspended School fee payments for parents which is great news. However the school fees are the primary resource to pay for food, fuel to run generators, cooking gas etc….. The Headmaster told us that as yet, there has been no substitute monies made available to the Secondary Schools, many of which have Boarding Colleges attached. So these donations were very much appreciated!
As usual we came away with a good feeling to have helped but overwhelmingly, that it’s such a small drop in the ocean of need.
Will send another email soon when all monies are spent!
Anne and Brian
18 May 2015
The photos of us delivering bags and boxes must be getting a bit boring! so I have included below some pics I took on my first visit to Nugna a week after Pam, as a visual reminder of the gorgeous people you continue to support.
Thanks again to Give to Vanuatu and a very generous NZ neighbour Alan, who sourced and brought over a 20 foot container of building materials as well as school furniture and many bags of clothing and household items, we were able to send a load of clothing, kitchenware and nails over to the upper villages of Nguna - Looking on the map I have included see Malaliu and the five villages above (west). The track is no longer accessible by vehicles so we arranged for the Newora villagers to carry up the goods, about a 3 km steep walk up to Malaliu Village.
The Newora community (Nekapa/Woralapa) is still to get back to us to finalise the purchase of their iron roofing, but we must sometimes just let the process be as it is. We will keep on updating you and we never have these villages far from our minds and hearts as the enormous re building process continues. And they had so little to start with….. again, let the pictures tell the story.
Tanku tumus olfella,
Anne and Brian
As a foot note, some other wonderful neighbours from Adelaide have registered a charity here called Revive Vanuatu. Brian and I will be working closely with them and other residents over this northern side of the island to continue ongoing support of our Ni Vanuatu neighbours through their lengthy rebuilding stages. The website should go live this week www.revivevanuatu.com.au
Nguna update # 4
08 May 2015
Thankyou for your patience! Our week in Fiji was very relaxing!
Before and since we have continued chasing the roofing iron quote with many emails text’s and calls! There are three suppliers. One is completely out of stock - they weren’t picking up our calls so we finally dropped in yesterday to be told- another we knew was more expensive and the third we received a quote from on Wednesday afternoon. In town yesterday we picked up the 2 generators we had ordered, plus other sundry things.
This means that the money we have left in kitty is 1,165,438 Vatu (AUD 14,000 NZD 14,892 ). That will cover 1,355 metres of iron “cappa” as the locals call it. Not enough to rebuild all the houses but a very good start. Last week on a visit, the village reps told us that they have contacted the captain of a barge in Vila who originally comes from Nguna, and that he has agreed to deliver the iron at no cost which is wonderful dollar wise but, also a great feeling that we are working with the community on this endeavour in a collective way. So today will will nut out the final details with them and then have the lengths cut and paid for. Then the transport can then be booked. This has been a long time coming and a heavy rain this week hasn’t helped, so again, thanks for your patience and trust as we work with ‘island time’!
On Wednesday I went over with some other people to hand over a Unicef tent as a temporary class room, and also donated school supplies, for Primary school that the children from Newora attend. We also purchased and sent over a 20’' chainsaw to another village on Nguna, accompanying donations from another source.
Taking over with us today
2 generators with fuel; one large chainsaw with fuel, bar oil, and some safety goggles and earplugs; 4 bush knifes; three rakes; 30kg more nails; small amount of medical supplies - band aides etc; sewing materials for the women; 5 baskets of kumala and we are picking up Chinese cabbage straight from the gardens on the way to the wharf. Couldn’t find a partridge or a pear tree anywhere (:
We will send another update with more pictures after our trip over today. Thankfully the weather has cleared!
Nugna update # 3
20 April 2015
Not a lot to report. It’s a bit frustrating for us as the generators we have ordered haven’t arrived in store yet. We hear that they are on the wharf but it’s slow to clear containers at the moment. Understandable.
Also waiting on the quote for the roofing iron order for the village houses to be repaired and re built. We have however secured a promise from the owner of the business for delivery to the island on his barge. Again, we may have to wait a little for this but hopefully the $$ saved will be worth it!
We have been lucky with the weather. A couple of days of heavy showers mid last week which is great news for all the new seeds that have been planted and empty water tanks! But not too much to make it unbearable for the people with out proper housing. Catch 22….
Meanwhile we have keeping busy…. Some of you may have heard of Give To Vanuatu. A young Aussie woman who grew up in Vanuatu made available empty 20 foot containers in Brisbane and Sydney for people to drop donations of clothes and non perishable food. So far she has emptied 5 and has more on the wharf, waiting to be cleared. A number of residents from our area have picked up ute loads of the these goods, then taken to a friends large shed and resorted, to distribute as equitably as possible, to 3 local villages and also 3 islands including Nguna. We decided to share this with you as some of you may have, or may know people who have contributed to this amazing endeavour. Some smaller aid donors were also able to move boxes with them, including Givhans. See pics below and pass on to anyone. I’m in the green stripes (:
Brian and I are ‘getting off the rock’ for a week from tomorrow. A short break we had already booked before Pam’s slam. We will get back to Nguna, hopefully with generators on board, ASAP on our return.
Anne and Brian
We want to say a big thank you to you and your Rotary members for your generous donation .
We were just up there again this morning with just drinking water ( 1000 litres) and are heading into town tomorrow to purchase a petrol generator to take with the chainsaw and of course more food , medical things etc to take on Saturday . So we will send photos of the drop and details of how the funds are spent
Thank you Anne and Brian
Our second drop of ‘goodies' to our friends on Nguna Island.
Rice, tinned fish, tinned beef, sugar, salt, biscuits, noodles, 50kg of flour for the 2 bakers, powdered milk, tea, cooking oil, soap, loo paper, vege seeds, some donated tarps, a few basic medical supplies. The men also requested a further 2 bush saws, 4 hammers and 20kg nails. They have organised men into 3 groups to re build toilets and kitchens. These are always separate, small buildings to the sleeping house. The big 24’’ blade chain saw was donated by 2 Kiwi friends and will enable the men to mill the wood from downed mango and other hardwood trees to use in the re building process. We have also been taking bulk water to the wharf for the villages to re fill their own smaller bottles.
Newora community (Nekapa and Woralapa combined) is very grateful for our help as there has been very little help from Government or aide groups. An aid agency came in with 13 tarpaulins when 31 houses are destroyed and 22 badly damaged! The Gov disaster office dropped off rice and 1 tin of fish and 1 tin of beef to each person to last 2 weeks! but have not returned as promised.
On a brighter note, the very well organised young man, Cillou, has itemised the number of corrugated iron sheets each family needs, over 600 pieces altogether. Within the 2 villages of Nekapa and Woralapa there are 265 people with 74 houses. Today the community gave us the good news that Aussie church volunteers have contacted them to re build the main church and do some re roofing of the community centre which is great!
Our next purchase will be 2 medium sized generators (none in stock , anywhere, due in 1-2 weeks ) and we are now trying to plan the best way to transport corrugated iron of up to 6 metres in length to the island for as much house re building as we can help them with. A rough calculation to fix all the houses would be over $20,000…..however , we are only “helping", not being sole provider. And we may be gaining some more local expat support….
However we are so delighted to have already raised over $10,600 for their cause. Now minus about $1,600 for the food etc from the last 2 drops. We spent 88,522 Vatu ( about $1100AUD ) on Thursday on food etc for todays drop..
Tankyu tumus from the Newora community. And a huge thanks from us!
Hi friends of Nekapa!
Thank you again for your generous support.
Brian and I jumped in the car on Tuesday morning and headed to ‘the big smoke’ to purchase the first supplies to give to the people of Nekapa Village.
We bought 72kg of nails - including 17 kg of roofing nails, 2 hammers, a bush saw and a small axe. Plus 12 sachets of vegetable seeds and 2 x 500 vatu phone cards so we can stay in touch by txt. It was a bit of a recognisance trip for us as we discovered what’s available. There are limited or no supply of some nail sizes, no bush knives which the village requested for clearing, etc. The total purchases for the day amounted to 32,693 vatu = AUD$406.
Our email also prompted the donation of 50kg of flour and some salt for the baker which we took with us and also, since Tuesday 2 generous people have pitched in to buy a powerful, good quality chain saw, strong enough to cut good hardwood timber for building repairs as well as clearing trees.
We were also able to collect 8 boxes of locally donated bottled water ( 150 litres ) to take over at the same time.
We jumped on a boat that was already taking containers of water that had been filled at a mobile water tank at the wharf so there was no room (or weight!) wasted.
When we arrived at Nekapa there was no one on the beach as they weren’t expecting us. In a few minutes the word had spread and we were welcomed. The overriding sentiment was surprise and delight that we had come back again so quickly! We didn’t have a long time to spend there this trip but asked a couple of the men, Gilliou and Andre, to calculate the amount of roofing Iron needed for initial repairs and to text us the amount. We will have to give thought to the logistics of transporting the roofing iron. I asked how they were doing for food and they simply said ‘ok’.
Because of your generosity we will stock pile some more supplies and head over again Tuesday after Easter. At that stage we will sit down and have a long chat about priorities. It seems that the two villages of Nakapa and Waralapa have literally 'come together' over the years so we are actually supporting 2 villages as one! Vanuatu double whammy! Altogether then a population of 250 people. Nguna would easily be home to 1,000 people spread between 12 villages accessed only by a rough road (until Pam there was vehicle access but no more…) and steep mountainous terrain including an extinct volcano, Mt Marrow. Google earth is great way to get areal feel for the Island.
Including the value of the chain saw you have donated over AUD$7,600 since Mondays email. It’s overwhelming to have had such faith put in us. Please know that over the next couple of months you will have made such a difference to these villagers lives. Thank you so very much. We will continue to update you of our purchases and progress.
Anne and Brian