Friday, March 27, 2015

S/V Trillium Is At Your Service

Note: I am interrupting our land tour to be more current with the Cyclone Pam situation.
Students from Wentworth College and officers from
Whangaparaoa Rotary Club are working to collect items
we will take back up to Vanuatu Cyclone Pam victims.
Since the devastation in Vanuatu caused by the harsh hit by Cyclone Pam, we have been concerned about the village we befriended in the Maskelynne Island Group. You have seen photographs taken at Avokh Island that I posted earlier. We spent seven weeks in Vanuatu last year and had planned to return this year to help “our island.” Now our help is more urgent than ever.

Some of you helped me raise funds to purchase Mother Hubbard Dresses for the women on the island, most of whom are dressed in well-worn to thread-bare traditional dresses. The Mother Hubbard dress is designed so the women can sit loon the ground and keep their thighs covered as dictated by their culture.

Ladies in their tattered Mother Hubbard dresses
I doubt that these buildings are still standing!
We had planned to commission 100 dresses in the capital city of Port Vila to take to Avokh. We were in contact with the Women’s Commission of Vanuatu prior to the cyclone. Now we are unable to make contact, but will be there in a few months and go in person if we have not established email communications prior to our arrival. The plan was to have the Women’s Cooperative Center in Port Vila make the dresses and we will deliver them. This way we are supporting the local economy as well.

Now the need is even greater! Hopefully we will continue to get donations towards the dresses as other islands we will be visiting will also be in need. The island of Tanna was in the eye of the hurricane and all people have is the clothing on their backs. Our efforts include collecting used clothing for men and children as well for both islands.

Currently we are working with the students of Wentworth College (which is a private high school with the traditional Cambridge curriculum) and the Whangaparaoa Rotary Club to collect clothing, school supplies, hand tools, household items, wire, line, rope, etc. The community support has been overwhelming! We have spoken to the student assembly and the Rotary Club to share the Vanuatu story. I have a feeling S/V Trillium will be filled to the gills!

We are asking other yachts to help us transport the collected goods to Vanuatu. It doesn’t matter which islands receive them as the need is great everywhere – as it was before the cyclone! Hopefully, the emergency aid workers will have stabilized some of the villages by the time we get there. These people live with so little so anything we bring will be appreciated.

We have been warned that it will be hard for us to provision in Vanuatu as their fruit trees have been destroyed and their gardens flooded. Fortunately, the loss of life from the storm was minimal considering the velocity of the winds, but in the last cyclone, more people died of starvation than from the actual storm. We will be taking canned foods, especially canned meats to them as well.
Brian Mullan, President of Whanaparaoa Rotary
acknowledged our humanitarian efforts. 
If you have a desire to help support this aid mission, please contact me for details. A sailing couple from California whom we have never met, sent us $400 to buy specific goods for a village they love in Tanna. Every yachting organization we know and all to which we belong are raising money for Vanuatu victims. A friend’s Rotary Club in Old Mission, San Diego, passed the hat at a meeting and came up with over $300. So there are many ways to help fund this mission. We thank all of you.

You may never meet the people of these islands, but we assure you for as poor as they are in material things, they are rich and generous in sharing what they have and in friendliness.

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