Monday, 27 February 2012

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 5

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (faev pej evriwan):

  • Klik long raet saed blong maos long pej ya antap. Nao klik long toktok ya "download linked file" mo bae stadi ya i download i go long komputa blong yu.
  • Narafala rod: yu prestem "command" mo klik long pej ya antap mo bae stadi ya i open long wan niufala pej long internet browser blong yu, mo afta yu save "save" o "print".

Thursday, 23 February 2012

another good reason to live in Vanuatu

Tonight's dinner.

Poulet. ~$5/kg

I'm becoming a dab hand at scaling and filleting. And I can gut, at a pinch.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 4

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (fo pej evriwan):

  • Klik long raet saed blong maos long pej ya antap. Nao klik long toktok ya "download linked file" mo bae stadi ya i download i go long komputa blong yu.
  • Narafala rod: yu prestem "command" mo klik long pej ya antap mo bae stadi ya i open long wan niufala pej long internet browser blong yu, mo afta yu save "save" o "print".

no wheels

Here are Matthew's first three pictures in his "writing" book so far this year (click on the pictures to enlarge).

After his last drawing, I said, "Matthew. I think I notice a theme. You've drawn trucks every time!"

He said, "Yes. That's because people don't have wheels."

Saturday, 18 February 2012

condensed milk biscuits

Here's a quick easy recipe for Condensed Milk Biscuits from

Easy to prepare, quick to cook.  Perfect.

Only four main ingredients: butter, sugar, condensed milk, SR flour.  Then add chocolate bits, nuts, sultanas etc to taste.

The recipe is for 500g choc bits.  I added about 100g and it was fine, I suspect you could get away with adding nothing for plain biscuits.  I cooked them in slabs in trays rather than rolling biscuits (this takes too much time).  The oven probably needs to be cooler when cooking this way, but I'm not sure as I have no idea how hot my oven is, except that its usually too hot as I'm always burning things.

I also wonder if you could get away with not adding the extra sugar, condensed milk is fairly sweet as it is.

Friday, 17 February 2012

the water cycle

Sometime last year, one question led to another and I was trying to explain the water cycle to Matthew. 

The trickiest concept is water vapour.  I spoke about steam coming out of the kettle, and the little gap between the spout and the steam where the steam is 'invisible'.  That, I said, is water vapour.  The water is in the air and you can't see it.  I went on to explain how there is water vapour all around, but we can't see it.  This water vapour rises high up into the air and when it cools down, it turns into clouds and then it rains.

Now just recently it had been very dry (probably a week or so without rain).  I said to Matthew that I wished it would rain.  He said,

"Should I go and turn the kettle on, Mummy?"

Thursday, 16 February 2012

bethany's haircut

Trimming long hair is relatively easy.

Giving a short style-cut is not.

After months of beg beg begging for a short hair cut and an hour or so this morning of fidget fidget fidgeting because of  sweaty-neck itch induced by THICK THICK hair, Bethany had her way.

Ignorance, thick hair (did I say that already?) and scissors that should have been sharper did not bode well for a good hair cut. Well I hacked off a largish mass of hair, and hacked off some more.  Enough to ease the sweat burden a little I thought.  To my surprise, it didn't look so bad and the Style-Miss is pleased as punch.

Now for some sitting still during school.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

fake malaria drugs

make my blood boil

the down-side of school at home

I would probably describe myself as a reluctant home-schooler.

Out of necessity we school our children at home.  We did correspondence school for many years, but recently have decided to do home-school instead.  This decision was partly due to the length of time it would take to between the teacher setting one lot of work, to setting another lot of work in response to that first lot.  This could take anywhere from four to six months.  In between, the child would be doing work either set at the same time as the first lot, or set subsequently, but before having seen any work the child had done.  In the end we felt like the advantages of being able to 'feedback' immediately was greater than the advantages of being enrolled in a 'proper' school.  Futhermore, having seen how much "faith" (of any sort) is side-lined in the state curriculum, we thought we'd take advantage of this opportunity (however short or long) to educate with faith at the centre.

And I think it's been a good decision.  We are enjoying school much more.  The children are growing and learning.  I have more freedom to teach to my strengths.

But because I am not wedded, in principle, to home-school, I feel that I am free to talk a little more openly about the down-sides of home-school.  Most home schoolers face fierce criticism from friends and family because of their decision to home-school.  They end up having to defend themselves so often that it makes it difficult for them to talk about the difficulties they face without people saying "I told you so" or "well send them to school, then".

Here are three things about home-school I would like you to know.

Home-schooling is tiring.  T.I.R.I.N.G.  I cannot explain why.  I have no idea how a teacher manages thirty children.  I feel like I have no right to complain about being tired as I only have two (three now) students.  But I am.  And so are others I know that home-school.

It is difficult to home-school with younger children at home, too.  My friends whose elder children went to school spoke of how precious this time is with their younger children in their pre-school years and how much they loved getting to know them.  My younger children in their pre-school years were being ignored, or looked after by other people, as much as possible.   I was either occupied with school or too tired to play.  I didn't spend much time with them at all.

Home-schooling literature and magazines and support are so pro-home-schooling it is extremely difficult to change track and enrol in school without feeling like you've let the side down, abandoned ship and been a failure.  Because, as I said, I'm a reluctant home-schooler, going to a 'proper' school would be a relatively easy for me.  But I've read enough of the literature to be overwhelmed by its emotional grip on its adherents.   It's an impossible situation.

If you know anyone who home-schools, whether or not you agree with them, be gracious to them.  Don't let the conversation fall silent after they admit they home-school.  After-all, they're not from another planet.  Truly.

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 3

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (fo pej evriwan):

  • Klik long raet saed blong maos long pej ya antap. Nao klik long toktok ya "download linked file" mo bae stadi ya i download i go long komputa blong yu.
  • Narafala rod: yu prestem "command" mo klik long pej ya antap mo bae stadi ya i open long wan niufala pej long internet browser blong yu, mo afta yu save "save" o "print".

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Am I still a sinner?

Are you? Well?  What is your initial reaction?

If you're like me, you'll say, "Of course I am!"  And indeed, scripture affirms it;
If we say, "We have no sin," we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, "We have not sinned," we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
But then, a little later, we read;
The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned form the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil's works. Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him' he is not able to sin because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)

I don't think we could find more conflicting ideas if we tried.  On one hand we are deceiving ourselves if we think there is no sin in us, on the other hand we belong to the Devil if there is.  So which is it?

How do we make sense of this?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

alphabet freize

The alphabet frieze I have used in the past gave up the ghost and died recently. I had a quick look on the internet for another, but can't find a downloadable frieze with the NSW foundation font. So I've quickly made up a template and the children are drawing the pictures. You can download the template from here if you like. Cut out the rows and join them together to make a frieze.

(The font was a free download we made a while back. It is in bold. The non-bold version wasn't free.)

excerpt from UNICEF report on low status of women and girls

From the UNICEF report, Child Sexual Abuse and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Pacfic: A Regional Report (p55-56);

Low status of women and girls

In Pacific countries where women have a low status, girl children are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation. 
Girls are generally at the very bottom of the social hierarchy in Pacific societies, particularly in Melanesia where there is greater gender inequality than elsewhere in the region. In accordance with this low status, girls are socialized to a sense of inferiority and they do not fully develop the notion of having a choice or an opinion. Furthermore, in countries where girls are of particularly low status in society, they are taught to never question male authority.

This socialization process raises the vulnerability of these girls to sexual abuse and exploitation because adolescent girls who lack experience in making choices or contradicting males have difficulty in rejecting sexual advances, particularly when the man is older. In addition, these girls do not have the ability to “negotiate their way out of ” high-risk situations. Furthermore, since these girls are not empowered to recognize their rights, they are less likely to be able to recognize that they are being abused or exploited and so are unable to develop strategies to protect themselves from further abuse or exploitation.

The socialization process of boys also affects the vulnerability of girls to abuse and exploitation. Boys in Melanesian societies, and to some extent elsewhere in the Pacific, are socialized to believe that girls and women are inferior and that their opinions are not important. Therefore even if a girl is able to say “no” to sexual advances, men are often not deterred. In some cases, if a girl agrees to spend time with them or is unprotected by a male family member, men will assume she is sexually available and will feel justified in raping the girl. 
The five country studies found evidence of these socialization factors influencing the vulnerability of girls to sexual abuse and exploitation. In Kiribati, for example, it was noted that girls are raised to be “subservient to male discipline and control” and that these girls do not have a highly developed sense of their rights and how to protect themselves.
Some of the country studies also showed evidence of the tendency among men to see women and girls as inferior and as being commodities. For example, the Solomon Islands study highlighted that men tend to perceive girls as being “spoiled” if they have been sexually abused. These girls are generally perceived as no longer marriageable in these societies and are instead viewed as “freely available”.  Such perceptions often lead to further abuse and exploitation of these girls. 

Vanuatu was one of the five countries studied in this report.  I am still working my way through it.  Generally there are not statistics available in Vanuatu to be able to draw an accurate picture of what is happening.  I understand that the situation is worse in Fiji and PNG than in Vanuatu, though perhaps with the increase of international tourism to Vanuatu, the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children has the potential to follow the same trajectory as it has in those other Pacific countries.  Though I am hopeful that there are mitigating factors here that would prevent such a thing happening. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

first day

Today was Matthew's first day of school.  Fairly relaxed today.  Our plan is for him to do 2 hours at home until morning tea and then join his friends for 2 hours in the community kindergarten/preschool.  We'll see how it goes.

He's developed a rather cheeky little crooked grin, don't you think?

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 2

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (fo pej evriwan):

  • Klik long raet saed blong maos long pej ya antap. Nao klik long toktok ya "download linked file" mo bae stadi ya i download i go long komputa blong yu.
  • Narafala rod: yu prestem "command" mo klik long pej ya antap mo bae stadi ya i open long wan niufala pej long internet browser blong yu, mo afta yu save "save" o "print".

Saturday, 4 February 2012

being fourth

Being fourth in the family makes a big difference.

Lachlan is happiest when there is a huge crowd of noisy children around. He likes to sit and watch one group for a while, then race around pushing cars with another, and then curl up on someone's lap for a break. He doesn't know what to do when left on his own.

We think he is going to be left-handed, like one of his sisters.

He is sleeping better at night than he was; we are still looking forward to him sleeping all the way through.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

state visit

Today at Talua we were privileged to host a state visit from the honourable Minister for Health and other directors of various sections in his portfolio.  They are on a tour of South Santo.  It was a quick visit; salu-salus were hung, welcomes made, a short talk, questions, answers, exchange of gifts, and then refreshments were served.

I was sorry they did not stay longer.  I think there were a more questions that we would like to have discussed.

They spoke briefly about health initiatives in Santo bush, AIDS (now 5 confirmed cases in Vanuatu, but there are high risk factors present for its spread) and teenage pregnancy.  There was talk of training mission workers in Santo bush to be able to provide some form of health services as well.