Monday, 29 July 2013


I often spend some time Monday or Tuesday afternoon preparing for class the next day or marking work from the previous week. It is a great joy to teach the student wives at Talua... and also a great challenge.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Stop! Don't throw it out!

Someone in the developing world could use it!

Do you have a soccer ball you can't use any more?  The stitching has all come apart?  The leather ripped?  The bladder burst?  Don't worry.  You don't have to be a litterbug.  Don't throw it.  Send it to the developing world.  After all, it's better than what they have.

Do you have a lap-top that is too slow for you now?  The battery doesn't last an hour?  Some of the keys don't work?  No-one else wants it.  Don't worry.  As long as it's still got a power cord, it's not silicon heaven for your little baby.  Send it to the developing world.  After all, it's better than nothing.

Do you have some old sheets?  A little threadbare?  Not suitable for your family.  You couldn't be bothered making a rag-rug?  But you hate to throw them out, after all, they were a wedding present from Aunty Marge.  Don't worry.  Send them to the developing world.  After all, it's not as if they need the warmth.

Are your children's bedrooms cluttered with MacDonald's happy meal toys that you detest?  But your concern for the environment prevents you from throwing them out?  Besides, your children won't let you?  Don't worry!  Convince your children of the good deed you can do by sending them to the developing world.  After all, everybody needs a MacDonald's happy meal toy.

Don't fill up your own backyard with your rubbish: send it somewhere else!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Another fund-raising venture.

Raw peanuts were roasted the day before in a peanut drum over a fire and on this day were packed into small plastic bags for sale.  20vt a bag (about 20c).

What is manioc?

Somebody asked, 'What is manioc?'

Manioc is otherwise known as Cassava. It's a small spindly shrub with a tough woody root full of starch.

The root is used in cooking. It can be boiled and is rather plain, or it can be mixed with coconut milk and made into lap-lap which is really yummy.

It has to be prepared appropriately to get rid of toxins (or a bitter taste), so don't try it at home.

I have heard that it is the same as arrowroot and tapioca but I am not sure about this.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Saturday dinner at our house

Manioc lap-lap with crab was for sale at the market stall. The whole plate... only $3.00.

It's not always this flash. But we love it when it is!

Saturday morning at our house

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

the latest style

Orders, anyone?

a long way home

These children were on the way home from school when I took this photo this afternoon. They are there off in the distance somewhere.   Although it is one and a half kilometres from here to the school, these children are not even half way home yet. Some of these leave home while it is still dark and won't get home until dark. The local school used to provide boarding for primary schoolers but now, since the high-school has grown, there is no room for primary school boarders. Their only option, if they want to go to school, is to walk to and from each day.

Monday, 1 July 2013

in the frangipani tree

A favourite for climbing.  Look at that sunshine!

Sunday, 30 June 2013


Glen flew to Malekula today. He was asked to spend a week teaching in their Presbytery Bible College (discipleship or lay training college). He is teaching a course on "Eschatology" or the end times. Perhaps we can manage a few photos from Malekula this week!

letter writing

The children and their friends wrote a stack of letters together recently. Even letter writing can be a communal event!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

a little fund-raising

Bought some lovely fish stew with rice this afternoon from a small "fund-raising". The women were raising money to pay the person who runs the creche while they have class.

Friday, 28 June 2013


Did I mention the rain?

This was the view from our verandah across the campus this afternoon. The children could walk all the way to the classrooms through puddles. Very exciting.

Thursday, 27 June 2013


There's often a bunch of bananas hanging up outside. It makes snacking easy and keeps bellies full.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

dinner together

We had dinner together tonight with Glen's mentoring group. It's not a prize-winning photo, but I think it shows how we "do" dinner here.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

rain (again)

It's been a very wet year. Rain, rain, rain. And when it hasn't been raining, it's been cloudy. Dark, dark, dark. Oh for the sun to shine!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Sunday, 23 June 2013

church in a village

Glen and his students went to a village for church this morning. It is a village of about 14 families. It was the first Presbyterian meeting for worship held in the village this year. Although once a "presbyterian" village, there is now a Mormon church and an SDA church in the village. Some families attend Pentecostal and Anglican services in nearby villages.

Although extreme in this case, this sort of division even in small villages is not unusual.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

fresh coconut milk...

... for our curry tonight. The coconut is grated before the milk can be squeezed out.

Friday, 21 June 2013

down at the reef

School finishes early on Fridays, so there's lots of time for fun with friends.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


songs after mentoring this afternoon. Just mucking around and sussing out quality etc for recording student songs for the Talua Radio.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Kids Prayer Warriors

meet of a Wednesday afternoon to pray.  Some of the students lead the children in pray for Talua, Vanuatu and the world.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

writing bible studies... the women's program at Talua.

Monday, 17 June 2013


... for the PCV eye and health team.

We said good-bye this morning to a team of 11 who stayed these last two nights in various houses around Talua. The team, which included a doctor, two optometrists and a mid-wife finished their week long “tour” through South Santo with a clinic at Talua on Saturday and a rest day yesterday. Today they went on to Malo.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

a new Kindy for Talua

Talua's new Preschool building was dedicated to God in prayer this morning.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

market day

Selecting Taro is serious business.

Friday, 14 June 2013

helping hands

Friends visit from Dubbo to lend a hand.  Our old cot has been restored and will find a new home soon.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

mother's day

A small girl honours her mother on mother's day by hanging a "salu-salu".

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

statistics on violence against women in Vanuatu

Last year I wrote a little (here) about my observations of how women are treated in Vanuatu.  Over the years, I have heard of quite shocking statistics but have never been sure of their validity or their source. Now research has been carried out and published that confirms that abuse of women is definitely a BIG problem here in Vanuatu.  It is one all of us here need to work on.

Here are some statistics.

The percentage of "ever-partnered women" who reported violence from their partners...

 physical violence in the last 12 months 33%
 physical violence in their life 51%*
 sexual violence in the last 12 months 33%
 sexual violence in their life 44%
* Out of those that report violence; 90% report severe violence defined as punched, kicked, dragged or beaten repeatedly, choking and burning, or hit with a weapon such as a piece of wood, iron bar, knife or axe.

The percentage of...

 women who reported experiencing physical domestic violence while pregnant 15%
 girls reporting experience of sexual abuse before 15 years of age 30%

The statistics come from research by the Vanuatu Women’s Centre in partnership with the National Statistics Office and AusAid and NZAid. You can see more details here.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 6

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".

Friday, 12 April 2013

the supernumerary tooth

Matthew travelled down to Vila yesterday for some dental surgery.

He needs his extra tooth pulled out.

Here's a photo of before he left.  The expression on his face tells you exactly how I was feeling about the whole thing, but actually he was just having trouble keeping his eyes open in the sunshine.

This is the extra tooth that is causing all the trouble:

He was very surprised when he saw the photo. It's not as big as he thought!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

hint #1: cheat on the interview

Here is my first hint on "how to host a missionary at your church".  Your questions and suggestions are welcome!

Interviews are tricky beasts.  They can be a quick and powerful way to get to know someone and to get an idea of the work they do.  Or they can be boring, irrelevant and uninformative.  While masquerading as "informal" and "impromptu" they work best with good preparation.  In other words, cheat!

Here are some hints to make the interview work.

1. Get to know the missionary first.  If you can meet and talk with them prior to the interview that is really helpful. Have a long talk about them and the work they do.  This helps you to know what they do and why they think it is important.

2. Plan and discuss the interview questions together.  If the missionary has served a while already they will have some idea of the questions that get to the important, central issues.  You will know the sorts of things your congregation will find interesting.  Work out the questions together.  Although the interview format is supposed to be casual, this sort of preparation helps rather than hinders.  Unless of course, the missionary proceeds to read their answers.  That sort of gives the game away!  Preparation like this also allows you to work out together who (if there is more than one) will answer each question.  There are times when both can answer and times when one is too exhausted to think straight and just wants to stand there and smile.

3. If it is during church, plan for the interview to take 5-10 minutes.  It is difficult to say much in less than 5 minutes but more than 10 minutes will (usually) have people on edge about how long the service is going to be.  If there is to be a presentation at some other time and the interview is just a "taste" then shorter will work fine.  If this is the only contact the missionary will have with the congregation, then longer is preferable.

4. Don't try to kill two birds with one stone.  i.e. Don't use the missionary interview as a chance to have a gospel presentation for the non-believing visitors who are there for the baptism to be held later in the service.

5. Be flexible about any children in the missionary family.  Some children are capable of standing still and quiet for the whole of an interview.  Some like to race around and others like to pick their noses.  If the parents look like they are leaving the children in the pew, don't pressure them to bring them up the front.  No matter how much the congregation would like to see them, there is probably a reason for it.  It might be helpful to have someone on hand who could sit with the children (especially if young) while their parents are being interviewed.  On the other hand, don't assume their children won't come up; some may even be involved in the interview.  The key is to be flexible and to ask them beforehand what will be most helpful for them.

6. Don't answer your own questions.  Enough said.

7. Pray for them at the end of the interview.  Ask how you can be praying for them as part of the interview (it works well at the end) and then proceed to pray for them.  This is encouraging for them and a model to others.  Perhaps ask someone else to pray, especially if there is someone you know who takes an interest in them and prays for them regularly.  If you do this, that person might like to know in advance what the requests for prayer will be. 

There is probably more that would be helpful, but that's all I can think of for now.

Any questions?

Any suggestions?

Hint #2: give them the microphone

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Easy Self-Portraits

Here’s a great way for your children to produce a self-portrait. It’s easy and it’s effective.

I found the idea here on the site, Spittin Toad.

First you take a photo, then using an editing program change it into a “sketch”. Spittin Toad recommends “Picnik” but that site didn’t load for us so I used Picture to People*. Then you print it out. Spittin Toad recommends lightening it first and then printing onto water colour paper. We didn’t lighten (there wasn't much detail on the faces probably because the background was so textured and colourful; a plain background would probably be better) and just used ordinary A4 paper.

Then the children have to highlight the picture. They choose which lines to draw and how to shade. Then they colour with water colours (works best if printer and pen ink don’t run).

Here are their efforts:

It was a great introduction to portraiture. They didn’t have to worry about shape or proportion but could concentrate on line, light and shadow.

Thanks Spittin Toad!

* Note that you will need to save your picture as a jpeg file and crop it so that it is less than 1200 x 1200 and smaller than 200kb.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 7

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (sikis 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, 28 March 2013

hints for hosting a missionary at your church

We've recently returned to Vanuatu after six months in Australia.  While in Australia we visited lots of churches.  We were greatly encouraged by these visits especially by the many people who pray so faithfully and tirelessly for us.

Every visit was different.  Mostly we only went for a Sunday.  On some occasions we also visit mid-week and sometimes overnight on the weekend.  Sometimes Glen preached, sometimes we did an interview, sometimes we gave a presentation in addition.  Sometimes we attended multiple services sometimes just one.  Sometimes we were overwhelmed by people talking to us and sometimes we were left quietly on our own.

I've given some thought to what worked well and what didn't.  I'm going to share some of these ideas over the next little while.  I'd love for your comments as well.  I'm particularly keen to hear what you think makes a good missionary visit to your church.  What is really helpful and what isn't?

As I write the posts, I'd add links here.

Hint #1: cheat on the interview
Hint #2: give them the microphone

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Matthew's news

This was the sentence Matthew wrote for school this morning:

Well we went to the dental clinic, then to radiology at the hospital and then back to the dental clinic. Fortunately they are very close.

It turns out that Matthew has an extra tooth!

It is coming down where one of his adult front teeth at the top should be. It is conical and pointy, quite a bit narrower than the space left by his baby tooth, and is only just emerging. Both his adult teeth (front, top) are present.

But you can see from his picture than it has taken on enormous proportions in his mind.

A lesson there for me to be more careful how I talk about things.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

B.H.Harwood 1.7.1918-19.3.2013

Today my Grandad passed away.

He was a quiet man, happy to let everyone else do the talking.

He worked with his hands, strong hands with thick fingers.  He crafted beautiful things from wood.  Here, holding out his gift in his hands, see this?  This is how much I love you.

He was a faithful man; faithful to his wife whom he loved dearly.  Theirs was a marriage that survived much sadness; one in which 'for better and worse' was not romantic platitude.

He was faithful to God whom he served humbly.  He started going to Chatswood South Methodist Church when he was only six years old.  He attended meetings there for over seventy-five years and sung in their choir for almost as many.  He was methodist through and through and loved to sing.  One of my last, and most precious, memories will be of singing carols together this last Christmas.

In August 2009 he found and showed me this hymn, copied out in his own hand.  I know not who wrote the first verse or when.  Grandad wrote the second.

The heavens proclaim Him with ceaseless devotion
The eternal's name o'er all is heard.
Its praise is echoed by earth and by ocean.
Receive O man their godlike word.
He holds the stars in the firmament glowing.
He bids the sun in splendour rise.
Our God all good, all great, all wise (repeat).
The earth acclaims him Lord of creation
His wondrous works are there to see.
The mighty storms and glowing sunsets
Forth tell His power and majesty.
He clothes the plants with a colourful beauty
He tunes the birds that sing above
All creatures come now and join us to worship
Our glorious God of grace and love.

Monday, 21 January 2013

I need a pattern for "skorts"

'Skorts' is the name used to describe a pair of shorts with a flap across the front so that from the front it looks like a skirt.

I want to make some for my girls.  It's a compromise.  It looks like they are abiding by the local dress code of wearing a skirt (this gets stronger the older they get) but gives them the freedom and modesty that comes with a pair of shorts.

I have looked on spotlight and have looked through the usual catalogues online.  I can't find one.

I have done some experimenting but would like to get a better fit and shape than I have managed by just making it up.

Can you help?

Here are some helpful links that I was sent in response to this post: