the Vanuatu Project
by Jane Clifford
October 2 – 15 Jane, Chris and Hugh were part of a group of 10 including members from two other Rotary Clubs to the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. The Republic of Vanuatu is 3 ½ hours flying time north east of Sydney and the population is around 215,000.
We stayed at Hog Harbour, one hour’s drive north from Luganville, the main town on the island of Espiritu Santo. We spent most of the time at Lorevilko, a small community about 15 minutes drive inland on a rough dirt track. Here we helped at the small Anglican Primary School with about 60 students, and at the Rural Training College where about 70 Ni-Vanuatu students (17-20 years old) from Espiritu Santo and outlying islands learned construction, carpentry; and sewing, cooking, hospitality skills. A lot of College students were away on work experience.
We were welcomed to the village by Father Charles, community leaders, villagers and an amazing group of dancers from Torba. For most of our visit the humidity was very high and it rained a great deal.
Chris, Hugh and other Rotarians supervised the village men at the school as they cleared and levelled land, built the concrete slab and commenced building walls with concrete bricks. This will be a classroom, office and storeroom when completed.
This will be a classroom, office and storeroom when completed. An apprentice builder in our group designed and organised the building of school chairs by construction and carpentry students.
Jane and her friend Sally taught sewing skills to about 16 teenage boys and girls at the Rural College, and they made about 44 skirts and shorts for the Primary School. We brought 3 hand operated Singer sewing machines, made in Taiwan and unfortunately they constantly needed adjustment. As the container bringing more machines etc from Sydney was delayed, Sally and Jane spent more time at the Rural
College showing the home economics students how to sew their own shoulder bags, which was very successful.
We gave the Rural College a great deal of fabric from the Op Shop where Jane Lurie volunteers, which they were thrilled to receive and will make into more bags to sell and raise money for the College. A great number of tennis balls organised by Barry were distributed to a nearby Primary School, childrens’ clothing was distributed to the villagers, stationery items to Lorevilko Primary School and the Rural College and Red Cross t-shirts left over from our BBQ went to the Rural College students. School desks, tables, school bags and other items from the container will be sent to Lorevilko.