News from Dawn Daunauda in Vanuatu

I arrived in Espiritu Santo just over a month ago and it has been a steep learning curve – but exciting!  It is such an opportunity to be serving God by teaching a language I love to young adults who are so appreciative of the opportunity.

After landing at Luganville Airport from Port Vila early in the morning, I was taken to LCM, the local supermarket, to get some groceries.  The young man helping me said, “Is that all?” but at that stage I hadn’t worked out how to translate NZ$ into Vanuatu Vatu and so I was being cautious. Also I had no idea what facilities I had to cook on or to store food in.  All I knew was that there was a freezer.  Fortunately for me the Ni-Vanuatu teachers took turns to welcome me with a meal those first few days.  Local fruit and veges are sensational but my diet is almost devoid of bread, chocolate and definitely no wine, which meant Lenten fasting choices were very easy this year!

The heat and humidity are impressive just as expected, and I slept after lunch most days for that first week or so.  However the small Tropical Cyclone Hola on March 7th cooled the air somewhat, which was a relief for me but the students donned hoodies, beanies and scarves!

School begins at 7:00am with devotions. All my class sessions finish by midday.  I teach two classes, Diploma 1 and Diploma 2/3.  The students’ English ability is quite varied but I enjoy the challenge of engaging them all in such a critical subject.  There are always flowers on the teachers’ desks!  As I was looking at the rusty roofing iron littering the lawn following Cyclone Hola, the Principal walked past and said, “We’re looking forward to the Kiwis coming.”  He is referring to the building team co-ordinated by Dot Muir from Southland, who will be replacing the roof on the Dining Hall / Chapel in May.  The rain has been torrential outside and inside in some areas. The chairs were strategically placed to avoid the leaks and as a result the place looked a little chaotic – none of which stopped the devotions! 

I love the rhythm of theology college life – something I have not experienced before as I did all my learning by distance.  What a privilege it is to share in this new experience!

Some of you have been praying that I would find a friend, and those prayers were answered in the form of Dr Louise Hendriks from Australia.  She hadn’t been in Vanuatu before but seized the opportunity to teach a 3 week BMin English intensive when others became unavailable.  A qualified teacher, her doctorate is in textiles and so she encouraged me to get back into sewing, which I’d scarcely touched since the quakes in November 2016.  We’d also go exploring together and it was great to have a swimming buddy at last.  We even use the same daily devotional – good for discussion.  Louise left on March 9 but hopes to be back before year’s end. 

The school truck is getting fixed – has been since before Christmas – and so to get to Luganville we hitch a ride on any passing vehicle that has room, squeezing in the back between sacks of copra and spare tires.  Some of the more considerate drivers have fashioned a wooden plank for us to sit on.  When it rains we cover ourselves with a tarpaulin - Health and Safety officers would have heart palpitations!  I’ve just been watching a young man fell a tree with a chainsaw.  He had earplugs, safety goggles, gloves, shorts and jandals!  I was relieved when the job was done.

  • Give thanks for my good health, a considerate Dean of Studies who has given me a light load this first semester, and good friends and neighbours.
  • Please pray that students would understand and retain their lessons, that our Lord Jesus will be honoured when I preach on Easter Sunday, and that the outbreak of Dengue Fever in Luganville will dissipate.
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