A short working week but busy

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Wed 29 Jul 2015 22:59

Position           Uliveo, Maskelyne Islands

Date                Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 July 2015


UK readers may recollect the three day working week from the 1970’s.  Well, in Vanuatu, or at least in SW Malakula and the Maskelyne Islands the working week seem to be of a variable length.  First there is every other week which is a four day working week as government employees get paid on Friday and that involves everyone concerned taking a day off to go to Lamap to the only bank to draw out the hard earned cash.  This on every other Friday school comes to a standstill and medical facilities are closed.  Then we have public holidays; last week was children’s day and this week Thursday 30th is Independence Day and that involves Friday for recovery from an excess of kava drinking.


So what did we fit in to our three days?  Monday was covered in the previous entry.  Tuesday saw a mix of medical issues for Elizabeth.  On our last visit Elizabeth had seen Renee as an antenatal patient, accompanied by her husband Willi.  You might remember that in September last year we attended their wedding in Pellonk.  We understand that this was an arranged marriage, possibly because Renee was 40 which is old to be unmarried by island standards.    Well this certainly seems to be a good match as they appear devoted to each other and very happy.  Joy of joys this time there was a third member of the team at the consultation, Renee having had an uncomplicated labour in our absence, despite concerns about Renee’s age for a first baby.


Willi, Renee and baby Abraham visit the surgery.  Proud and happy parents.


In the afternoon we took bags of clothes and household items to the three villages, ready for distribution after Independence Day as the school were having a second hand clothes stall, selling clothes supplied by the Butterfly Trust, to raise funds for the school and to fund fees for those that cannot afford them.  We did not wish to spoil the market.


Our new dinghy proves a good load carrier, getting the baggage ashore


We used a local boat to take the bags around to Peskarus and Pellonk


Landing the goodies at Pellonk


Wednesday afternoon saw the tides suitable for an afternoon visit to Avokh and we actually secured the dispensary boat, complete with missing starboard side to the cuddy for the occasion.  We walked over the island to Peskarus for embarkation as the tide too low, but rising, for Lutes


It  may have been dry going but coming back was into the swell and we were soaked


Needless to say the dispensary aid in Avokh, despite being warned, was working in her garden on the mainland.

Chief Andrew tried local communications to summon the aid worker.


In the absence of access to the dispensary Dr E set up shop outside the WIP community building whilst Nurse Bambae saw mothers and babies inside


Owall of stingray fame came for another dressing


And departed walking wounded – a success!


Geoge Joses received another house visit and appeared to be responding positively to the drugs that Elizabeth had brought from Port Vila and delivered last week.  He is however seriously ill due to the lack of medication over such a period.


And now for something risky!  An intra-articular injection into the shoulder of the Paramount Chief, Chief Andrew.  Elizabeth suspects that he was not expecting this, just a minor injection elsewhere to cure the year old problem.  However this is an old speciality of the Doctors and all went well.



Danger – Doctor at work