It looks like a family adopting a white girl from another country into their own family, giving her an island name, and calling her one of their own.
It looks like a community putting aside their day-to-day activities and coming together to build a classroom for the local school.
It looks like children bringing vegetables to school for you (the teacher) to have enough food for the week.
It looks like villages and islands coming together to support each other through weddings, funerals, and now, through the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam.
It really breaks my heart to see the people of Vanuatu going through such a terrible time. After calling Vanuatu home for 6 months, the news of this natural disaster tears at my heart strings, and my prayers go out to all my family and friends, and just the population of Vanuatu in general.
Not only are the people of Vanuatu the happiest, friendliest, most unconditionally loving people ever, but they are also some of the poorest people you’ll meet too. Most housing is constructed from corrugated iron, and some traditional materials such as mud and straw. So it’s no surprise that when Cyclone Pam came and said hi, she left damaged houses, villages and communities in her wake.
However this is more than a ‘pity’ story, I’m sure, in fact I’m positive, that the people of Vanuatu don't want the rest of the world to feel sorry for them. To Ni-Van people, they come at whatever life throws at them with a sense of unity, positivity and faith. I remember when I was living in Vanuatu we didn’t have rain for just over a month. The tanks were running scarily low, and in any other culture emergency water supplies would’ve been ordered and being demanded to be delivered the next day. However, my Mama said to me “Big fulla upstairs will provide everything we need. He will make it rain, I prayed.” And sure enough, the next week, it rained. Our tanks were over flowing. We had more than enough water.
There is something we can learn about the small population (250,000) of Vanuatu. Attitude is key. If we faced our ‘first world problems’ with an attitude of unity, positivity and faith, we could be more like the Ni-Van people, facing hardships with a selfless attitude that looks out for other people and isn’t all about what I need and what I want.
There’s no doubt that times are tough in Vanuatu at the moment. With 44 unconfirmed deaths, lack of communication with outer islands, and crops nation-wide destroyed, Vanuatu is in a state of emergency. They need our support. They need our prayers. So please, don’t let the media control our naivety towards such natural disasters as this. Yes, the initial cyclone destruction was all over the news, but I imagine in two weeks time everyone in the rest of the world is going to forget about lil’ Vanuatu and some other news story will be pushed in our faces.
These are real people, going through real and raw emotional times. They deserve our support and they deserve our thoughts.
What does love look like?
Well I can tell you one thing; the Ni-Van people get what love is. Without even realising it, they practically love in no other way I have experienced before. Be encouraged by these people, and pray for them. Mi luff yufala tumas. x
Click this link to see some before and after pictures of the devastation in Vanuatu.