Here is the first segment of a list (I really do love lists!) I wrote while in Vanuatu, which I have elaborated on since coming back.
Weird & Wonderful Things About Vanuatu
1. Mr Thompson’s fashion sense
Mr Thompson was the school principal where I taught. During those 6 months Mr T turned up to school in an assortment of bright Hawaiian shirts. The patterns included: bananas, palm trees, sharks and more. Mr T loved all bright coloured shirts, he also wore ghetto hoodies, weird looking pants, and snorts (sneakers and shorts).
2. Obsessions with mobile phones and photos
All my students LOVED it when I brought a camera to school, it got to the point where I decided not to bring it because otherwise the kids would get no work done at all! Anytime a camera was brought out, the kids would go into their default pose, gangsta. All of a sudden those sweet little kids were pulling the fingers at the camera, east side, west side, they did them all. It was as if the presence of a camera suddenly gave them a new persona!
Almost every adult on my island had a mobile phone. You could be in the middle of nowhere with no power and no internet, but I can guarantee you that there will be mobile phones.
3. ‘Coconut Wireless’
Of course because the village I was a part of was so small (perhaps about 200 people), news got round, and fast. Village gossip about Mr T not coming to school because he had a kava hangover got to everyone else in the village before 9am. We called it the Coconut Wireless system, everyone knew everything!
4. Pimp my ride
There were only 2 trucks on my island, but in Port Villa (Vanuatu’s capital) there were plenty of cars, trucks, and motorbikes. They all had subwoofers, neon lights, and anything that made their vehicles look remotely cooler. They all looked like mutton dressed as lamb, but these old, dusty, rusty pimped out vehicles were all the rage!
One night on Nguna (my island) one of my students, Andrew, came up to my house on his bike. Every possible surface of that bike was covered in neon lights. The spokes, the handle bars, the rim, the seat, everything! And they were all hooked up to a battery pack that sat in the front basket, he thought he was the man! Also, there were no streetlights or anything, so you could see Andrew biking to your house right from the other side of the village!
5. Hilarious laughs
One of the funniest things about the Ni-Van women were their laughs. None of this half-cast laughing, when they laughed, they really laughed. You’d find yourself laughing just as loud with them at something as simple as George Bush (my adopted family’s dog) walking into a door (he was old). Their laugh was contagious, and full of life. The Ni-Vans I came across were probably the happiest people I have ever met in my life, so how could you not find yourself be happy when were with them!
Be sure to check back soon for more weird and wonderful things about Vanuatu!