Port Vila - End of Project

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Mon 24 Aug 2015 22:59

Position           Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

Date                Friday 14 August 2015 to Monday 24 August 2015


As ever, we have stayed here longer than intended.  In part this has been caused by a requirement, or wish anyway, to document what we have done and produce a formal report for the Butterfly Trust and the Ministry of Health.  We have also had a problem with our bow thruster, I think in the control circuitry.  We had a replacement part for what we thought was the offending item brought out yesterday by a crew member flying from Auckland to join a yacht at the dock.  Unfortunately this did not cure the problem and it is still WIP (Work in Progress).  We may have to leave with this problem unsolved but I am reluctant to do this as Caduceus does not go backwards or manoeuvre at slow speed at all well without it.


One job undertaken was to order and pay for four 500 litre polytanks for the Maskelyne Kindy Project.  Booking the transport on the ferry Big Sista for the 24th was challenge but I eventually tracked the captain down and negotiated a sensible price.  The tanks were to be delivered to Big Sista at 0800 on Monday.  Lynn from the Butterfly Trust very kindly offered to attend to make sure that everything was OK, she being a Bislama speaker.  Of course the tanks did not appear.  Following a phone call they did appear but the taps had not been removed as requested, to avoid wandering or damage, and they were not clearly marked with individual destinations.  All problems were solved the tanks were loaded.  We await with eager anticipation to hear of their arrival


Three of the four tanks loaded on Big Sista, labelled and with taps removed for safe keeping


Another game was extracting additional US dollars from a bank to have with us in Indonesia where obtaining local currency by ATM can be a problem.  This took four visits to two different banks to get right.  Visit one – “we shut in 15 minutes and do not have time”.  Visit two – “the man with the keys has gone to lunch and will be back in an hour and a half”.  Visit three – “your card will not accept the amount” (Solved by an email to Handelsbanken in Colchester – Nicola Felstead to the rescue once again, thank you.  Visit four – success!


Finding parcels, containing some replacement bits for our dinghy, at the Post Office was also a game that was successfully played, although why one parcel was in business collections and the other in customs was a bit of mystery.  At least I was able to extract the parcel from customs without paying duty, after some skilled negotiation.


Elizabeth had a very trying time with the hospital management.  They really are seem to have difficulties managing the most basic functions.  She had referred a patient from Uliveo with a classic hyperthyroid condition.  An email containing the referral was sent and the patient carried a printed copy.  She was seen only by a junior doctor, there is no evidence of consultant level supervision, who ignored both the referral letter and the obvious symptoms and told the patient that she had cancer.  She had a cannula put in, and never used, and was fed a cocktail of tablets that resulted in swollen legs.  She was also sent off to the private laboratory for a blood test, at her own expense, as the hospital does not have such facilities.  This happened to confirm Elizabeth’s diagnosis.  After two weeks she was discharged with no medication and told to return in a week.  The cannula was still in her arm.  Fortunately Lynn was once again on the case and Elizabeth removed the cannula, visited the lab and as I write is chasing the hospital to prescribe the correct medication for the patient.  Conclusion – better not to be ill in Vanuatu.


Good news came from Awei where we installed two 500 litre tanks and piped the overflow into a repaired concrete cistern.  It has rained!  The two tanks are full and the cistern is half full.  Now that is a result.


Save it for a rainy day.  It works! The water installation at Awei.


Another task has been closing off our donations and application of funds account.  Due to the generosity of family, friends, Masonic organisations and the World Cruising Club we had just over £5,000 in the kitty.  We have applied these funds over a range of activities; the money has gone a long way with much of it being spent in Vanuatu and benefiting the local economy. The balance of funds are being left with the Butterfly Trust to be allocated to assist with the training of a nurse.  We hope that the trainee will be Hagrif Frank from Akhamb.  This we consider will be an ongoing, empowering investment in the community for the future and a valuable contribution to the life of the Akhamb community.


A breakdown of the income and expenditure is as follows:


Caduceus Project Vanuatu

Schedule of Income from Benefactors










Masonic organisations



World Cruising Club












Caduceus Project Vanuatu

Schedule of Expenditure




Clothes – in addition to donated



Books purchased second hand



Kindy Bags for six Kindies



Daisy at Pellonk, a disabled girl









Medical Equipment



Medical Supplies



Children’s sunglasses for albinos



Transport costs patients and local boats



Food aid – rice



Awei Project – tanks and rain collection



Avokh Project – guttering and rain collection



Kindy water project – tanks and carriage



Contribution to Independence celebration



Butterfly Trust for ongoing training






In addition we have received and acquired a considerable amount of clothing, equipment and medical supplies from friends in New Zealand, other yachts, Vanuatuan charities, NGO’s including World Health and Rainbow Warrior, the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu and the Central Hospital Port Vila.  This has all helped our funds go considerably further than might be expected.


Now, must dash as an electrician has arrived and there is lots to do if we are ever going to sail.