Week 1 on Uliveo Island

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Fri 12 Jun 2015 22:58

Position           16:31.89 S 167:49.80 E

Date                to Friday 12 June 2015


Monday was another lock down as there was an island funeral and the custom (Kustom) is that there are no activities, the school was closed as was the surgery as a mark of mourning and respect.  Therefore Monday was used going ashore, meeting friends made during our visit last year and generally walking the island.



Martin and Martin. Last year Martin on the left asked Martin on the right if he could send a Bible.  At that time we did not think that we would be able to deliver it in person.


Bribery and disruption – Doctor dispensing lollipops

Uliveo missed some of the force of Cyclone Pam but there is evidence of damage to houses and the gardens that the villagers rely on for food were largely destroyed and are having to be replanted from scratch.  This of course takes time and some families are suffering from a shortage of food with parents missing meals so that the children may be fed.  Perversely because they missed the most devastating immediate effects of the cyclone they are actually in some ways worse off because they have not attracted the food and materials aid that have been directed to those islands directly affected.


Tuesday we actually made a start, or more accurately Elizabeth made a start and I, Martin acted as boatman and porter.  A reprise of my role as the Doctor’s Husband.


The UK yacht Alba, Neville and Glenys Howarth, arrived from Awei during the morning and together we went to a demonstration of the local Smol Nambas dancing.  We had seen a similar demonstration here last year.  In the intervening months the troop have definitely worked on the performance with some new dances and the liberal use of body paint.



Here are some dance moves to try at home - but do not scare the horses





Out of retirement again.  Paul is one of the oldest residents of Lutes and is 93 +/- and a member of the backing group – a little like the Rolling Stones revival tour


During our walk around the village of Lutes we dropped into the shed where many of the ladies were working on a variety of projects.


A group of ladies making the traditional Island Dresses.  In the background another were weaving mats, used and traded extensively



We had purchased a quantity of second hand children’s books in New Zealand partly using funds generated by our sale of the 250 paperbacks that we have been carting around since the UK and now rendered obsolete by the use of Kindles.  We presented a selection to the Sangalai School on Uliveo for their library.


Presenting a selection of reference and story books to the librarian and senior girls at Sangalai School.  Headmaster Benson Tangou in the background


The rest of the week was taken up with seeing patients, mentoring and assisting at clinics and carrying out home visits supported and supporting the nurse Bambae and her two local aid workers, Aebeline and Martine.  The ‘Doctor’s Tale’ follows as the next entry.