Friday, November 21, 2014

A Lovely Village on Lamen Island

The village is very well laid out. Individual
homes looked like small compounds with
several structures in their yard area.
We booked a tour to the village on Lamen Island as we had been told it was a very nice village. Several hundred people live there. We found the community to be well laid out and very clean and tidy. Obviously, the villagers take great pride in their village.

Our guide took us to the traditional building
where ceremonies and village meetings are
 held. It is built out of timber, bamboo and
leaves all lashed together. The floor is sand.
Traditional building materials are used with a few
more modern corrugated metal structures mixed in.
It almost looked as if there had been a city planner involved, but the village has been here for a long time so that is not the case. The structures were traditional, built of wood and leaves. There were a few corrugated metal buildings. Each yard appeared to have several structures in it. There was a wonderful old stone-lined path through the entire village. Our guide, Kenneth, said it had been there for hundreds of years.
An primary class in session.

The village has a nursery school, Kindy and Primary schools for the children. The older ones go by boat to the mainland of Epi to the high school we had seen the day before. The kids on Lamen Island do not board on Epi as it is a short ride across. It appears that they travel with the men going to the gardens.

We did not want to interrupt the Primary class meeting outside by the shore so we just observed them from a distance. That, of course, was enough to distract them from their lesson!

The Kindy class of students. They sang Twinkle, Twinkle
Little Star in Bislama.

We met one of the two Peace Corp volunteers who are there teaching English to the young ones.  They have a two year commitment to the program and are halfway though it. They did not know where Vanuatu was until they got the assignment. Other than the threat of malaria, they think they have a great assignment. Actually, compared to a lot of places in the world, I think they are right. Vanuatu is a lovely place with good weather - until cyclone season!

Along with Joyce and John on S/V Starblazer, we met the
Peace Corp Volunteer who is teaching English to children
The entire village was very nice. There was no junk piled around and it looked like they use everything to the fullest. Then it is returned to the land and sea in some way.

We were very impressed with the lumber the men had cut from trees with a chair saw! The wood was like an 8-10 foot 2 x 4 board and straight. Amazing skill to do that!

This reef is relatively healthy. The Chief has banned reef
fishing for the time being so the fish can restock themselves.

There is a Presbyterian Church on the island. There
had been Presbyterian missionaries on the island
for years. Now there is a pastor who serves
the  two churches in the village.

Our snorkeling turned out to be disappointing. Part of the problem was the rough water which made it cloudy and difficult to hold a position to explore. The other issue was that the reef was not that well stocked with sea life. In fact, the village chief had declared that there be no more reef fishing so the fish population could increase. So those who only have a dugout canoe for a boat will go without seafood for a while.

I did see a Parrot fish, a lot of sea cucumbers (ick!) and sea snake tracks in the sand. I was glad not ot see the snake itself! Two of the highlights were some electric blue and neon yellow fish. Since I don't have a fish identification book, I don't know what they were, but they were very pretty. There were also some very large fish in a school just hovering around.

The coral seemed very healthy here and we saw types we had not seen before. With the roughness of the waves, I did not want to swim across the coral. Having been cut by coral back in French Polynesia, I remember how the flies attack the sore and how long - as in weeks- it took to heal. We have net too many cruisers with infections from various sources. Sea water and open wounds are not a good combination. You would think the saline solution of the ocean would be good for washing out a cut, but it is filled with little critters you don't want!

Here is the biggest fish of all!

I didn't like Sea Cucumber when I was in China. I like it
even less now. They are ugly and just seem to sit on the
bottom. You can see the trail its minimal movement leaves.
I had not seen this type of coral before now.

Not sure what this is. Another type of Sea Cucumber?
I don't really want to know!


  1. Sherry and Dennis, SO glad to read how well your trip is going and of your happiness and enjoyment. Your blog is so well written. It is a pleasure to read. I look forward to many more and wish you all the best. Mary Catherine.

  2. MC, maybe we can see you when in GPF after Christmas.


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