Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thursday 07/01/2010 - Farewell Vanuatu

Today was a very sad day for us, as it was our last day in Vanuatu. We woke up early to say goodbye to Tony who's shift ended at 7am.

We breakfasted at the resort before packing up our stuff and checking out.

Once we'd checked out we walked back into town for one last shop, we bought a tam tam carving, a stone carving, a box of Kava for the folks back home and some books we found (one on the language of Bislama and another on the culture stories of Vanuatu). On our way back to the resort we took the long walk home, in an attempt to not forget any of the details of our new island home.

We walked one last time past the Nakamal Kava Bar, known to the locals as the Nakamal 'knock-em-out' as the kava there is very strong.

It was on the wall of the kava bar that I saw this hand written sign, which somehow seemed to sum up my feelings and the impressions Vanuatu has implanted forever on my soul.

When we returned to the resort there was a message with reception that Moses had come to visit. We walked back into town for lunch, we were walking down the main street when we heard a familiar catch cry - "MOSES". We both looked about frantically trying to see where he was. He had come into town to get some groceries for a friend. I was glad we caught up with Moses as spending time with him was a great distraction from the inevitable sadness of leaving Vanuatu. We decided on the pancake house for lunch where we shouted Moses lunch and some Tuska - the local beer. We returned to the resort to play a couple of rounds of pool with Moses before the bus transfer to the airport turned up.
The bus arrived and packed out luggage, I was preparing myself for the goodbyes to Moses when he said that he was going to catch another bus to the airport to sing us off - such a sweet gesture. When checking in at the airport we remembered that we still had the bottle of Champagne we'd bought when leaving Brisbane. The airline would not let us take it with us, even though it was still sealed, they informed us that we needed to find a home for it or we'd have to throw it in the bin. We give the champagne to Moses and told him that he had to share it with his French sister whom we'd me earlier that week. I figured as she was French she'd most likely have an appreciation of fine and expensive Champagne. I don't know if Moses realised but the bottle of Champers was worth at least a weeks wage to the local people. We sang with Moses and for the local people whilst we were waiting for departure, we sung the first Moses song of the year with some minor variations...

Moses sung -
"Don't forget Moses","You live in his heart now",
"for you are my brothers",
"please don't forget now"

To which I reply sung -
"We won't forget Moses,
cause he is our brother,
he lives in our hearts now ... and we are family"

Hearing me sing this to him in tune and timing with his culture song brought a small tear to his eye.

Moses would love to be able to come over to Australia this year to visit us, play some music and show the Australian people some of Vanuatu culture and artistry. We'd love to see him again, and we believe that with enough preparation we could organise a culture grant to help him out, he has so much to teach and share, things we can all get something positive from.

The flight home was very sad for me, I didn't take any photos out of the window of the plane as I didn't want any memories of leaving Vanuatu instead I read the culture stories book I'd bought in an attempt to slip into denial.

We miss you Vanuatu, I've felt more at home there then anywhere else I've been.
The people are amazingly positive and joyful, welcoming and accomodating.

We will return Vanuatu, one day, hopefully soon .....

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