We have had quite a few requests from people who have been looking at our blog, “What is it that you actually do each day?”. So we thought we would provide you with a day in the life…here goes…
Matt wakes up feeling guilty for not being up for an hour already (like the locals). He stumbles down the steep hill to buy some bread from Sandy the baker who is also our ‘adopted’ father for 100 vatu (about $1).
(Our adopted family who we have a weekly meal with)
Pippa crawls out of bed and goes to the toilet using a bucket flush system. We both have showers in the trickle of cold water. By the time we get back to our room we look down at our recently cleaned feet which are again covered in dust.
Pippa puts on her conservative clothing (long skirts and covers up her shoulders). Matt sniffs his clothes and decides to turn them inside out to get another days wear out of them.
We adjourn to the dining area for breakfast (the kitchen, bathroom and sleeping quarters are always separate from each other in Vanuatu).
We tuck into bread with peanut butter and a cup of tea followed by seasonal fruits which are at the moment are yummy mangoes, paw paw and the sweetest pineapple we have ever tasted. Occasionally we spoil ourselves with weet-bix and luke warm powdered milk.
We write a list and plan our activities for the day.
Our dining room now becomes our office. On the plus side the office is airy with water views but on the down side, the insects have easy access and during heavy rainfalls the table needs to be strategically placed between the drips falling through the roof. We write e-mails, design brochures, write funding applications, send off faxes (just checking you are still awake!) and design tour guide training programs, etc.
(Our dining area/office)
Walk up to the Fire Mountain Clinic where there is a solar rig to charge the laptop. To get the key to the room where the solar rig is located, we hassle Rosie, the nurse, who often has a line of patients including expecting mothers in labour! Rosie has delivered more than 1000 babies in her long nursing career so us asking for the key doesn’t seem to phase this superwoman in the least.
(Rosie, the super nurse)
Lunch time. Our office reverts back into an eating establishment serving fine dished such as scrambled eggs on toast, kumala chips, cucumber and tomato salad or bruschetta (minus the cheese and basil!).
We are exhausted by the heat and collapse on the bed for a snooze.
Pick up our lap top from the charger and thank Rosie who has successfully delivered baby no.1001.
We start our 20 minute walk to Linbul to use the telephone. The walk always takes longer than expected because when we bump into someone returning from their garden, we must ask the obvious question – Yu bin go lo garden? In return, they ask – Bae yu go lo telefon?
Arrive at phone box. Kids run into their houses to bring us some chairs to sit on. A crowd of children and adults huddle over out shoulders with curiosity for this strange thing called a computer. We send and receive our e-mails and our faces light up in a smile when we happen to get news from home.
Walk back to Ranon (allowing more time for ‘story-yarning). We are afraid to make too much eye contact with people at the risk of being over burdened with fruit and vegetable giveaways.
An important part of our day is our afternoon journey into our village. We story-yarn with people, organize meetings, arrange times to test tours and purchase a few precious items from the store - rice, bully beef, toilet paper and 2 minute noodles.
Trek up the steep hill to our bungalow. Have a cold shower to wash off the sweat and grime from the day.
Decided what to cook for dinner – rice, vegetables, lentils, noodles, baked beans or go all out and make spag bog (using bully beef) followed by custard and bananas for dessert!
Cook dinner on our 3 burner gas cooker using a kerosene lamp and head torches for light.
Eat! Matt eats twice as much as Pippa – piling up his plates 3 times full.
Decide from our vast array of entertainment options – cards or cards.
Play cards – cribbage, golf, speed, gim rummy or hearts. Who said you needed TV…by the way who won Australian Idol?
Bed time. Read if we can keep our eyes awake.
Sleep solidly in despite of the heat, hard pillows, bamboo slats pressing into our backs through the thin mattress and the mosquitoes trying to get through the mozzie net. Good night.
(Our bungalow bedroom)