Well here I am back in Canberra. The last two weeks have been nothing short of amazing. To say that I have been off the beaten track would be an understatement!
I'm not going to spend this episode telling you all that happened but I'll put some blog posts out during the next week or so with a fair bit of detail and some photos.
In short, the week I spent on Pentecost was a real eye opener. You have to understand that the people there live a very basic and remote existence. There is no running water anywhere, no power unless you have a solar panel, no radio reception in most places and the roads are tracks that 4WDs find challenging. The people were warm, welcoming and always happy to see and talk to me. The effort I had made in learning some Bislama was very much appreciated and in a couple of situations got me out of a sticky spot. Zoë is like a pig in mud. Her new school is a lot bigger than the old one and challenging in different ways. She is pretty much completely fluent in Bislama at this stage. We managed to visit her old school at Level and the welcome there was second to none. To be able to meet and thank the people that looked after Zoë in the cyclone was a very emotional experience. We were also able to hand over a range of supplies to them as well as some cash to help keep kids in school. The other thing we now know is how to help them into the future. I've also been adopted into three families so there's pretty much nowhere I can go on Pentecost without having a relative! I'll admit that leaving Zoë there was very hard but the two hour hike to the airfield in rain, mud and over some big hills gave me time to sort myself out! The next time I go I'm planning for an extended stay and to work in one of the schools if they'll have me.
I've been fortunate in the last 12 months to have my life changed by firstly the trip to Tingha and now to Pentecost.
I must admit that the only music I listened to was on the plane to and from Sydney. I did muck around on the ukulele with Zoë and her family and of course, when we were at church for 3 hours I did a lot of singing! I was handed a guitar at one point and the only thing that they seemed to like at all that I could play was this...they like the reggae beat man!
Eric Clapton - Willie & The Hand Jive - https://youtu.be/oNOWUjpuT8E
If you would like to know anything more about Vanuatu please drop me an email. It's very much open for tourists and they really need the money so get saving! You don't need to go bush like me but I can thoroughly recommend it. I know nothing about the resorts except that all the tourists on the plane home seemed very happy.
I had a look in the record shop yesterday at the new releases rack to see what I've missed in the last couple of weeks. A new Proclaimers album, one from The Darkness and a live Bob Marley CD/DVD set both look worthy of further investigation. The Marley set was recorded in June 1980 by the Rockpalast folks in Germany.
Bob Marley (live) - Exodus / Redemption Song - https://youtu.be/eJg15MYFbVU
It's great to hear the Proclaimers rocking out on this track from the new album, "Let's Hear It For The Dogs". After one listen I can guarantee I'll be heading out before long to plonk down some cash for the LP.
The Proclaimers - You Built Me Up - https://youtu.be/l_2g652mAWA
As for The Darkness, they never take themselves too seriously. The single from the album is equal parts Spinal Tap, Game of Thrones and Led Zep. Rock on!
The Darkness - Barbarian - https://youtu.be/GR35pRz7JQ8
If you want to come along and see Junk Sculpture truly rock out then we're playing the Dirrum Dirrum Conference at Radford College on July 31st. It promises to be a VERY energetic show! More details to follow.
OK, speaking of that gig, I have new songs to go and learn before rehearsal on Tuesday evening so I'd better get on with it.
Thanks for all the kind messages about my trip.
Mi bin long go Pentecost. Mi hom wetem stret family blong mi. Mi glad tumas.
"....living in the love of the common people,
smiles from the heart of a family man...", Love of the Common People, Paul Young, 1983.