Monday, August 21, 2006

Home Time

I return to Toronto on Monday, August 28th at 7:00 p.m.

Anyone want to pick me up from the airport?

(If I take the shuttle bus back, which is probably what's going to happen, I should be back and reinstated in China by 9:00 pm. See you then.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Seedy Down Under

Jo and I are sitting at Airlie Beach, killing time before we board our boat to go sailing in the Whitsundays. We must have been a little distracted when we were booking our packages though, because upon throughly investigating the information and brochures last night we discovered that the boat we are boarding is billed as "simply romantic" and for "love and romance." I think we're bound to be slightly dissapointed by the romance that the New Horizon promises. After all, we've shared a mosquito net for 6 weeks and a bunk bed for the last 2 weeks. What could possibly be more romantic than that? Some hand-holding is definitely in order, though.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Island time + Rations = Disaster

When we arrived at the pier to catch our boat to Lambubu, we were surrounded by masses of people. As we formed an assembly line to load all our rations and supplies onto the boat (kerosene stoves, food for 4 weeks, shovels, buckets and a disturbingly small amount of toliet paper) Jo started to worry.

"The boat is going to sink," she said. "Where are we all going to sit?"

Jo's fears weren't completely empty. The dock was swarming with people going to the islands, including a group of American Peace Corps. It was definitely a sketchy situation.

In fact, we all did have room to sit, but within 20 minutes of leaving Port Vila's sheltered bay, I started to feel sick. I tried to start up a rousing game of 20 questions to pass the time, but by the time Becca surpassed the 20th question (with her it was more like a game of 35 questions) I had already gone downstairs to vomit over the edge of the boat.

Which is where I spent the next 26 hours.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

More pictures from Vanuatu

I've just realized that my time in Australia is a lot more limited than I initially thought. In accordance with this, a lot of the Vanuatu stories will have to wait until I return to Canada, or until I have a spare moment. In the meantime, here are some more pictures from the construction site.

On the days we mixed concrete, I was always assigned the task of pouring it with a shoddy broken wheelbarrow. This is developing country style construction.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


If you've sent me an e-mail and I haven't replied yet, it's high on my list of priorities right now!

Unfortunatly, laying on the beach in the sun is higher on the list.

The Daily Grind: An International Volunteer's Work Schedule

I must confess that I'm not finding as much time to write about Vanuatu as I thought I would, mainly because my life has been consumed with laying on the beach every day, interspersed with frolicking in the ocean.

My mom requested that I should start off my explaining what exactly I did every day in Vanuatu, so here's a start:

On my first day at work, sitting in the trench, tying wire to rebar. Note the fact that my left arm is absolutely covered in dirt.

Out of the 3 Vanuatu projects that happened in the last month, ours was possibly the most physically and mentally demanding. We were limited by daylight hours, since we didn't have electricity. (It raised a lot of interesting questions for me about how human's biological ciracadian clocks are affected by the use of electric light, but that's a rant for another time.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nimbim Story Teaser

After a month of being forced make such tough decisions as, "Should I wear my dirty skirt today, or my dirtier skirt today?" and, "Should I eat rice for dinner tonight? Or maybe I should have rice for dinner tonight?" and finally, "Should I go to the construction site today? Or should I go to the construction site today?" Jo and I have discovered that our capability to plan or make any sort of commitment is almost nonexistant. So not knowing what else to do, we flew from Sydney to Ballina yesterday.

Right now, I'm sitting in Byron Bay, bikini on, feet freshly pedicured, and a bag full of vital supplies for a day at the beach (sunscreen, sarong, book, journal and music). My life has gone from the rough, to rough only in the most sardonic sense of the word. Last night was spent in Nimbin after a spur of the moment road trip with one Welsh guy, one English guy and one Quebecois guy. We ended up spending the evening with three hippies in their 40s with dreads that reached their tailbones, and with a 18-year-old Aussie freestyle rapper who had just been released from jail that day.*

But that's a story for another time, since the beach is calling to me.
*Don't let this worry you Mom and Dad. I'm still getting my spinach. And that's what really matters.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Black Magic Miracles

Before I start this post, let me clarify two things. First, I'm incrediably emotional right now, prone to tears and fits of bursts of poetic sentimentality at any given moment. Second, my grasp of the English language has greatly detoriated by the constant use of Bislama for communication. So, please bare with me.

After five weeks without electricity, running water*, or any sort of privacy whatsoever, we returned to Port Vila for our debriefing. What had seemed like a tiny town when we initially arrived in Vanuatu seemed like an ever-humming metropolis. As our van drove us from the airport back to the Scouthall, Becca and I cowered in the backseat, covering our eyes. The stimuli was too much to absorb, and we weren't sure where to look. The sight of other white people was shocking, and the glow of electric lights was harsh on our eyes. We had, after all, been living in the middle of the jungle for the previous five weeks, with nothing but the weak glow of kerosene laterns at night.

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