Blogs from Ambrym, Vanuatu, Oceania


Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym September 1st 2009

A fabulous couple of weeks exploring the islands to the north of the Vanuatu group. From Port Vila we visited Havannah Harbour - a mere 20 miles where we had a pleasant time with the chief of the village and his family. Onto Lamen Bay on the island of Epi next where there was reported to be a dugong - a manatee with a different tail shape renowned for his friendly nature. There we met up with Joanne and John aboard Feisty (from Oz) and Bungee, Jill and Sue aboard Bloomers (from NZ). We spent a super few days ashore exploring with them and searching for the dugong who was sighted on many occasions, but alas he didn't make himself available for swimming buddy. The overall purpose of our trip was to go to the Rom ... read more
At last fresh veg and fruit
Crabs for sale in the market
favourite reading spot

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym October 20th 2008

So the other day, we had “a day at the beach”… Along the beachfronts of Ambrym the volcano's lava flow carved out little pools before it let out into the mighty sea. These pools, when the tide is not in, are thermal hot springs. A day at the beach, here, means sitting in hot water as cold salty water crashes against the rocks around you. Amazing and unique to even the islands of Vanuatu. The hotwater provides a luxury beyond self indulgence, as well. Since, we virtually have no water in my village, we need to carry our clothes down (as it’s a steep climb to the other side) to the “hot water” to wash. The other day, as all the mamas prepared their dirty clothes to carry down the “cliff”, I gathered up Meup (May-oop) ... read more
a day at the beach 2
A Day at the Beach
A Day at the beach 3

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym September 12th 2008

A villages mourns the death of its Chief. For more than half a century he ruled over them, guided them, helped them with their problems until, at an age far beyond the average reached by people in this area, he dropped dead. Looking at a photo of him at a recent Rom Dance he looks ancient, decrepid, but still he had the energy to take part in this traditional event which takes place once a year in North Ambrym. Even from the photograph, taken by a tourist that attended the event and left as a present for the villagers, I can see the energy and vigour pumping through his limbs as he danced his last dance. His son, Sam, a tall, well-built but quiet young man who works as a welder in Port Vila, confides to ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym September 11th 2008

Sweat poured off me and my head span from the previous night's excessive kava drinking as the ground shook to the stamp of four hundred feet. Two hundred naked bodies jostled on a large flat area of bare earth hacked into the mountainside and I, the only one wearing any clothes, danced with them. People shouted out words in a language incomprehensible to me, giving me a strong urge to shout out something, even if nonsense, just to join in and feel more a part of the unified animal that the two hundred dancing bodies had become. Dance, to me, has always seemed to have some sort of deep primordial power. Every culture in the world loves to dance and probably always has; surely this is an indication that it satisfies some sort of basic animal ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym May 6th 2008

Ok, it’s been a really long time, I know. Well, a lot has happened over the past several months… Long story short, I’m the only volunteer on my island and in effort to continue my project and not completely desert Ambrym, I’ve moved villages. There were too many problems in my first village and the project just wasn’t moving ahead because of it. The community is so amazing and I don't want to abandon them, so just before Christmas I moved a 1.5 hour walk away to a new village within the same community. So Christmas and New Year’s in Oz. Over the holidays, I decided to spend a month in Australia. The journey began in Sydney, which was a bit overwhelming as it is the first large city I’ve been in, in well over a ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym December 12th 2007

Ok the last bunch of blogs my sister updated were actually pretty good, so catch up with me there. As far as all updates well I'll be moving once again, but it's ok I will be able get the school going finally. One of my double classrooms (for a primary school not the RTC) is finished so we will have that opening in the new year. And I"ll be doing a small camp for the girls in my community. Focusing on the the 3 life skills of communication, decision making and relationship skills as well as making crafts (tye dye, friendship bracelet) and doing sports (kick ball, yoga, etc...) Sad news, 2 mos ago today a PCV here in Vanuatu was killed in an accident. It's been very hard on us all, but we are getting ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym October 17th 2007

No I don’t have access to a computer in the bush, I’m just inundating my poor sister with blogs to update you all with. I can’t say things aren’t happening with building the training center, but it’s slow. To update you all on its complexities would also require me to discuss the culture and other such things. In short, I could ask for money to build a classroom, manage the school, and teach the classes myself, but that is not sustainable. So we have not begun. Some days, I’m optimistic, some days I feel like I’m wasting my time. With that said…. In efforts to put my time to good use I’ve been ‘teaching’ at the local primary school. The classes are joint years 1+2, 3+4, and 5+6. I have the class with 5th and 6th ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym October 17th 2007

Discovering Lonwolwol From 1933 to 1948, a missionary by the name of Paton lived and studied language and custom on Ambrym. He eventually published his findings in a scholarly reference book through a university in Australia. I’ve recently gotten my hands on this book and have found it very useful in learning more about the place I live but also I find it very interesting that as old as the information is much of it is still in practice today. But I’m not going to talk about custom in this blog. In Paton’s 15 years on Ambrym he learned from it’s people their language and a place called Lonwolwol. Lonwolwol is significant for a number of reasons: 1. Because according to Paton the birth or starting point of all dialects on Ambrym emerged from this village. ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym October 17th 2007

Basic Burgers 2 cups cooked beans, mashed One half cup stock or water (if the beans are a bit dry) 1 cup cooked rice, millet, bulgur, and so on 1 cup toasted chopped nuts or seeds 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast One quarter cup tamari sauce One quarter teaspoon dried oregano One quarter teaspoon dried thyme Salt and pepper to taste One half cup finely shredded carrots or finely chopped cooked vegetables 2 cups rolled oats or fresh bread crumbs, use more as needed Canola oil (optional) 1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except oats or bread crumbs and optional oil. 2. Add oats or bread crumbs as needed to stiffen mixture. 3. From into 8 patties. Fry in oil over medium heat in a skillet, or bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Ambrym October 16th 2007

It has been a long time since I’ve decided to write. Unfortunately, books, pen and paper all seem to collect dust now that I have music when I want and an endless supply of DVDs (solar panel, car battery and Chinese bootleg DVDs-hey there are no copywriting laws in Vu). Not entirely of course, but the reality of the situation is music and movies keep me sane in quicker time. But today is Sunday (which means the village is quiet with everyone at church) and I’ve just applied enough repellant to keep the mozzies away for a few hours and the pen stuck to my hand (the effects of DEET and plastic) so here goes… A few weeks ago, I flew into Vila to replenish my stock of food and get some work done for the ... read more

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