The North Efate Principal's Association Year-End Report

The North Efate Principal's Association (NEPA) is a group of about 16 principles of schools on and around North Efate.  We hosted this year's year-end meeting.  Here is my report. December 6 I wake up at about 5:00, as usual.  My hours have shifted since I came here.  I don't have any specific responsibilities for today that I know of.  I know Paul, my school principal, will be up early today to get things prepared, so after 6:00 I head over to his house to see how I can help. I helped write up the program for today's meeting, so I know we're supposed to start at 8:00.  This means we might start by 11:00.  That isn't an editorial or snarky, that's just how time works here. He asks me to take the generator and the projector to the nakamal (a large general purpose meeting hall).  His wheelbarrow is nowhere to be found, so off I go to find a wheelbarrow.  After borrowing one, I head back to his house.  His daughter, Leisau, who is temporarily hom

The Invisible Woman

Four of us are in the boat.  The driver is taking us from Moso island, across the channel to Efate, But first we make a stop elsewhere on Moso to pickup someone else. A woman who I do not know is in the boat, but she is not from Moso.  A small boy is with us. The two are related somehow, like people here are.  By that I mean that there are no "distant relatives" here like there are in the U.S.  Family is family here. The driver ties off the boat, and goes to get the other passenger.  The woman, the boy and I are waiting in the boat.  The boy has infinite energy, and can't stop climbing over everything. I am next to the woman, who is trying very hard not to be sitting next to me.  She won't look my way, instead keeping her head turned to the right, peering under the dock.  She is leaning toward it too, as though she is about to step out underneath it.  There isn't anything under the dock, only large dry rocks. I try making conversation while she tri

Peace Corps Medevac to Bangkok

Here are my photos and notes from my medevac trip to Bangkok.  I've given up posting photos to Blogger.  It just sucks. Keep reading this post for more details about my medevac experience.  But all photos are at the link above. __________________________________________________________ I didn't leave Bangkok because I had to go to the hospital every day for one reason or another  But I did get out and see a fair amount of Bangkok.  Easily the big highlight for me was the food.  The highlight was a bicycle tour of the city. Here's what medevac looks like. Once the PCMO (Peace Corps Medical Officer, or doctor) orders one, the PC office makes flight arrangements, a hotel reservation, and handles everything.  The volunteer just needs to collect any paperwork, listen to the rules, sign some stuff, collect a per diem, and show up for the plane. I had only come to Port Vila with the clothes I was wearing (shorts, underwear, polo shirt, flip-flops), my laptop, phone a

Miscellaneous Vanuatu Part 1

Photos that didn't fit anywhere else Morning assembly at Tassiriki Primary School.  Even in the morning, the sun is strong and everyone stays in the shade. A man fixing a fishing net Andrew's cat keeps a watchful eye on his store every night.  Lights -> Insects -> Chameleons -> Cat. An eight year old holding a wasps nest.  There are live wasps crawling around on it.  He said they don't sting.  Also notice his Ray-Ban knock-offs.  I have the same ones, which can be had for 400vt ($4) in Vila.  Most of us take the sticker off the lens, but you do you, brother. Panadol (ibufrofen), a flashlight ("torch") and toilet paper.  And that spider.  They're common, fast and harmless.  Anyway, this is what it looked like when I got up to go to the toilet and reached for my flashlight. When you buy local food (island kakae), like the papaya and taro shown here, it is served on a banana leaf.  I bought this at a nakamal (kava bar).  Nak


Papa Noel built a custom ("kastom" or traditional) canoe.  Traditional canoes in Vanuatu are dugout canoes.  Wood used varies, but Noel used whitewood.  Breadfruit tree wood is also used.  Vanuatu has so many islands with so many individual cultures, I'm sure dozens of other kinds of woods are used too.  Noel made this one entirely with hand tools. A simple handmade paddle is used.  The outrigger is also whitewood.  The blue stuff on the canoe is a glue of some kind, added to seal up any cracks or holes.  Noel might paint it, which would considerably extend its life, but paint is expensive. Nailed along the top edges of the canoe is a 3-4" tall by maybe 1/2" wide piece of thin wood.  This is a different wood, called burao.  Notice how thin it is and how many nails are in it (latter photos).  I am amazed it doesn't split.  But that's why they use it. I tried canoeing and found it harder to steer than US style canoes.  I think the outrigger was throw