Thirty five years of independence
Position Uliveo, Maskelyne Islands
Date Thursday 30 July 2015
Due to a misunderstanding we missed the morning activities where we were thanked for our contribution to the island. We did however also missed the “devotions” and speeches from local dignitaries celebrating Independence. Arriving post lunch we were in time for the two football and two ladies volleyball finals, losers followed by winners. Both sports are fiercely competitive and great fun to watch, even for a non-footballer. Suggestions that they might pick up the ball and run were met with incredulity and amusement. William Webb Ellis is not well known in these parts (for non-rugby payers he was a boy at Rugby School, England, and is commemorated as being the first to pick up the soccer ball and run with it).
The football final
The players appear very skilful, especially when you consider that the pitch is far from level, there was a 20 knot end to end wind and hazards such as crab holes to catch the unwary. The upwind corner appeared to have craters to avoid. Do they have bunkers in soccer? There were five teams in each sport and matches had been being played throughout the week. As an encouragement the prize money was not insignificant bearing in mind the local economy with 30,000 vatu (US$300, £200) being shared amongst the wining team.
Pitch with a view. Some of the families enjoying the day out. In the background the yacht Trillium, Sherry and Dennis, who joined us for the day, with Caduceus just visible behind her.
No event in Vanuatu would be complete without loud music and regular high volume announcements. It must be the French influence. Hoodies are definitely cool in Uliveo
The crowds gathering for the prize giving
Elizabeth and I were invited to present the prizes with each member of each team coming up for glad handing. National costume was the order of the day; this caused minor sensations amongst the Vanuatu ladies. There were dress concessions however as my gillie brogues must have been returned to the UK
Well played. Have you come far?
And by popular request
The author is allowed an ego trip occasionally. A final atmospheric photograph.
I am sure that my piping instructor, the late Willie Allan, would have spotted a technical fault