Children's Day at Avokh and return for overnight at Awei

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Fri 24 Jul 2015 15:30

Position           16:30.98 S 167:46.20 E

Date                1630 Friday 24 July 2015

Distance run    From Avokh 4.2nm over the ground, 4.2nm through the water

                        Still 1.3nm as the crow flies


Children’s Day in Vanuatu is a national family celebration when parents give gifts to their children and there are communal celebrations, a picnic, races and competitions.  A few days ago when we gave the families on Awei some rice it was part designated for the Children’s Day feast.  In Avokh the celebrations took place at the school on neighbouring Lambok and a veritable armada of canoes were seen setting off in good time for the start of festivities


Part of the canoe armada moored off the playing field at Lambok School.  Avokh is the darker green island in the background the light green clump in the foreground being mangroves


It was a great sight seeing the families hunkered down sharing a meal.  We arrived slightly after the start which meant that we missed the opening speeches, in Bislama and “devotions”.  Experience dictates that this is a good thing as devotions can turn into lengthy prayers and a sermon.


Sherry and Dennis brought along a huge quantity of second hand excellent school uniform acquired from one of Auckland’s private schools, shirts, shorts an skirts and these were distributed to families.

“Oh Mum don’t kiss me in public”.  Public humiliation as mothers give gifts to their sons.



Family picnic Avokh style.  This is actually a family from nearby Awei who attend the school and are inter-related with Avokh

The visiting “ambats” (Bislama for white people) were not forgotten and the headmaster’s wife produced lunch for us; very much a special meal for a special occaision



Mother’s in Island dress showing how to fix the volleyball net.  Island dress, or Mother Hubbard’s, were introduced by missionaries as a comfortable and modest cover up


Key match – Mothers versus Daughters at volleyball


The festivities being over and the wind rising we returned the boat.  The anchorage off Avokh is reported as poor holding, the bottom being broken coral and sand.  As our stern was only a boat’s length from coral outcrops we decided to make the most of the fading light and motor back around to the more secure mud off Awei where we spend a rather less stressful night.