The school story
17 October 2015 | Mele Maat
The school story
I thought some information about the project might be a suitable end to our trip. For 13 yrs the Bundaberg Cruising Yacht club organised the Port to Port Rally. From Port Vila to Port Bundaberg ( we were in it in 2009).. After cyclone Pam they decided to use their excess funds to do something so instead of giving it to a NGO ,they chose to do it themselves and not lose money in administration costs. Now! Where to build it. They chose a village called Mele Maat. They did not have a school, so this was to be more like a training centre for young people and the Gov. are looking to supply a teacher. There was a lot of jealousy, not from the local people but by an expat (NZ). She has been a problem from start even up to the day before hand over. She has had papers served on the club insisting it be moved to " her" village, accusing them of not having permission to build or agreements with the chief. So it was great to see the Government represented at the handover ceremony.
From generous donations the club was able to purchase all the materials to complete the building, all the power tools and hand tools and associated gear. It came across in a container with donated school requirements, books for a library and heaps of clothes. The container left Australia in July so it was frustrating to arrive to start and the container wasn't on site and had to be found.
Their team was made up of John (builder and president) Lesley ( the co- ordinator) her husband Fred, Sue a club member and Alex a hanger-on and a useless part of the group....26 going on 10, and lazy. We had heard about it and offered our help if or when we were in the area and hear we are....have been from the start to finish. It has been a very rewarding time and we have made friends with some great people. Our next objective is to come back ( fly I think) to see them all again. On a downer we have all contracted monster colds and Fred has an infected leg so our working part at the end was 3. The local hygiene practices makes it very easy for this to happen. I don't know if they will learn to do things differently.
Tomorrow we head off for Port Bundaberg, the end of the trip. We anticipate a 7 day sail so today ( Sunday) is being spent getting the boat ready. It is dirty from the black sand and working each day from 7 - 4 we haven't had time to clean. It will be the Karcher working overtime when we arrive.
Next blog will be from Aus.