Yes, there has been widespread devastation on 22 of the 83 islands in Vanuatu.
Yes, there has been injury.
Yes, sadly there has been loss of life; including my beautiful friend Meribel from Epi – I think of her every day.
Yes, there has been incredible loss that one simply cannot comprehend.
Cyclone Pam unleashed her wrath and left a trail behind her.
There are many lessons to be learnt from this enormous tragedy … the resilience, resourcefulness and beauty of the ni-Vanuatu people, the sense of community that is integral in their daily living, the incredible support networks within the ex-pat and aid agencies that were already working deeply within many communities in urban, rural and very remote areas across Vanuatu.
But one thing that has struck me, here in my little piece of the world, Nelson New Zealand.
The support and depth of feeling for the loss which Vanuatu has suffered.
Complete strangers have approached me at my market stalls and offered their support. Customers and non-customers alike have given me generous donations of cash to take with me to Vanuatu to use wherever I see a need that requires fulfilling.
The work of the Nelson VanAid group has been intense, frantic and will soon be fruitful. This group was formed by those who have travelled or worked in Vanuatu and have a deep love of a nation and wish to support in it’s recovery.
Pikinini in many local schools across the region where I live, wanted to help too. Nayland Primary school organised a coin trail. I was told of one family whose mother only had enough coins for one child to take to the coin trail that day, so the daughter took her own hard-earned pocket money and used that for her own and her brother’s contribution to the coin trail. That school raised $355.60. Thank you.
What is that story about the widow and her mite? That young girl has a beautiful heart. I hope that one day she will get to visit Vanuatu and see the impact that her contribution has made.
Vanuatu is already rebuilding and tourism continues.
If you are in the position of considering a winter break away, how about considering Vanuatu? It really needs every dollar (well vatu) that it can.
Maybe you too will grow to love the place, as I and so many other travellers, have done.