Well, another trip to the Village done and dusted. Just when it feels like you can’t have a better trip, you do. Had a couple of great surfs (could barely paddle back to the boat). We had plenty of fuel to do some exploring, so we did a loop around the end of the Isabel group of Islands, looking for potential surf spots, fishing and features that visitors to the area might want to see and do. Wow! Incredible. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s wild, remote, beautiful, and BIG. The tides are huge - lots of giant whirlpools, standing waves. Wild. Untamed. Empty.
We stopped at an island - Dekter collected 2 crayfish and some other fish, which we cooked on hot coral on a fire on the beach. Tiny bit of coconut milk thrown in for good measure. Heaven. The rest of the trip around the Western side, we found beautiful little bays which had perfectly formed small waves on them, and we are reliably informed that with the right swell they have excellent waves. Watch this space. There are so many interesting islets and features. If you decide to do that day trip, make sure you take Dekter - his knowledge of the area, plants animals and history, is incredible. And always delivered with that beautiful, laid-back Dekter delivery.
The Village itself has seen major changes - there is now a big solar fridge. And a brand new boat with a 60hp motor. Less fuel burnt, and we get there faster. There is now water down at the main hut. The turning of the tap was quite an event - all the ladies cheered and clapped, as it meant they no longer had to carry buckets on their shoulders 100m down the hill. It was a big deal. The water to the bottom of the hill also meant better pressure for the shower that we also built. We nestled some copper pipe and a tap head into the branches of a tree, attached a few orchids to cover the pipe work, and voila. Showerhead peering out of a spray (pardon the pun) of orchid flowers. Pretty and aromatic.
The biggest thing though, was the kids. And the impact that education has had on their lives. They were trying to read EVERYTHING. At one point, I had a cluster of them showing me their reports. I may or may not have shed a tear or two. It’s something special when kids who would probably would never have had access to any education without major upheaval and disconnection from their families, sit next to you in the hammock, singing songs about the alphabet and counting the fingers on your hands. Just beautiful. I’m getting tears in my eyes again just writing this. There’s a whole pile of new babies in the village. Cuteness factor maxed. Happy, healthy, fat, lovely babies!
There have been some big developments in tourism in that part of the world - it seems that the politicians are realising the potential for tourism, and by all accounts have earmarked that area as being free from any logging or mining. Fingers crossed. There is a big push to get tourists to that part of the world, and several other nearby villages are now building homestay accommodation.
The other news is that we are now building a more sophisticated hut in the village. This will have one room with adouble bed, a smaller room with two singles, and a large verandah. This will be for visiting families and people who want a little more comfort. It will also be a place for the teacher to stay during the school term. Interesting fact: the guys tell me that the huts last longer when they have people living in them. Something to do with the heat we give off, keeping the place warmer and drier ???
We did get some lovely waves. The food seems to have improved, and I found a new spot for wrestling with big mangrove jacks :) :) :)
Many thanks to Jim, Paris, Erica, and Pete. You brought so much love, laughter, skill and joy to the village. Special mention to Pete for taking the time to write the song that we performed for the village on our feast night. Lots of laughter. I’ll never forget that time. Cheers. Until next time…