The last goodbye
We made our final departure from Ambrym on Wednesday. As you can all imagine, it was an incredibly emotional day and we found it very hard to say goodbye to all the beautiful people we have shared the last year with.
We had a hoard of people come around very early morning (6.30am) to help carry our bags down the hill (we weren’t quite ready yet as our boat wasn’t going to arrive until 10.30am!). An old man from a nearby village had passed away so everyone was on their way for the funeral. It meant we only had a few close people spending our last few hours on the beach before the boat arrived to whisk us away
As a last final gesture, we were asked if we would like to lay the first foundation stone for the Tourist Information Centre that we had helped receive an AUSAID grant for. We were honoured by the thought and mixed up a bit of concrete, black sand and coral to make a small block of concrete. We filled a small hole and laid a black stone on top. The Chairwoman of the Council (Rose) who has become a dear friend to us said a few nice words and thanked us for successfully obtaining funds for the new centre.
(Laying the first foundation stone with Rose and her son Stephen who is a carpenter and will build the centre over the next few months).
Before we left we were also given a matching uniform by a beautiful couple from a nearby village – a nice red island dress and shirt to match!
We spent our last hour on the beach “storianing” with the locals, reminiscing on good times and cracking open a local nut which tastes a bit like an almond.
(Our dear Ambrym family and friends)
As the boat approached us, about 20 of our dear friends and “family” lined up on the sand beach to all shake our hands goodbye. We were both well and truly crying by the time we got on the boat.
Pippa’s two counterparts (Laan and Isaiah, the bungalow owners) and Esther (who we are sponsoring to go to school) escorted us to the airport. About half way, we were able to stop at a natural hot spring where we could soak our feet and relax in the hot black sand.
(Pippa chatting with Esther, a year 7 student who we are sponsoring to get through school.)
(Pippa with her counterparts Isaiah and Laan soaking their feet in the hot thermal spring.)
Our plane landed on time and we had to say our last teary goodbyes before boarding the 19 seater aircraft. We shed more tears on the plane as we drifted away from this very special and magical island.
We were a bit overwhelmed when we came into Vila – cars, noise, people, tourists, lights, smoke, etc! We will slowly ease our way back into this big wide world again but will it is going to take time to adjust.
We have a volunteer friend’s wedding to attend on Saturday and are due back in Oz next Wednesday. Although it was sad to leave Ambrym, we are really looking forward to coming home and spending some quality time with our family and friends.
We are sure it will be an emotional touch down at the Adelaide airport on Wednesday night!