It has been a busy summer selling our products of Vanuatu. Virgin Coconut Oil has been flying out the door, as customers realise the benefits of introducing it into their kitchen and bathroom cupboards and appreciate the quality of our product. Attending to business has left me with little time to reflect on where we had been over the past 12 months and acknowledge our progress.
Autumn has arrived in New Zealand and the multiple market scene is slowing down, it’s seems right to take some time to reflect and find myself hastened to do so when two customers stop by my stall on this particular market day.
The first lady who approached our stall, I’d known since I was a child. She begun telling me of her very fond memories of travelling to Efate, Santo, Tanna, Maewo and Pentecost – visiting there some 25 years ago. She had been involved with a group called KiwiLink; a charity which was and still is, supporting communities across Vanuatu. Her eyes lit up as she was relaying the stories of her intrepid journies.
Later that same day; a lady approached me after seeing the Vanuatu-map sarong flying in the breeze. She and her husband, both doctors, lived in Santo prior to Vanuatu’s independence 34 years ago. They had worked extensively across many of the northern islands in Vanuatu. One of their children had been born in Vanuatu; and it seemed that Vanuatu held many special memories for this lady. 2014 will see them make a return visit to Vanuatu and we spoke of the changes she is likely to notice. She asked me about our “paying it forward” concept and what we had done to support rural communities.
I had to think for the minute. Then my own memories materialised in my mind:
- sourcing, shipping, donating shirts for 50 football teams across 9 islands;
- every visit to Vanuatu we forfeit part of our luggage allowance in order to have space for donations to schools and villages we visit;
- support of the ni-Vanuatu visitors in our home region;
- re-homing school stationery items to many schools;
- re-homing unused school uniforms to the island of Epi;
- sponsoring a young man through Agricultural College
The list may not be huge, but it has made a difference.Thanks to those two ladies showing an interest in Lav Kokonas was the prompt I needed to reflect.
Reflection can reveal more than you might anticipate.