Espiritu Santo – Part 9

Espiritu Santo – Part 9

The Santo Story

Our love for Vanuatu is incredible, the people and culture and the pure essence of happiness. This is our raw honest  and humble experience of over 3 years of owning land in the tropical Pacific Island of Espiritu Santo

Prologue– 123456789 – 101112 –13Epilogue

Making Tracks

The winds are still high this morning although little rain through the night.

The seas are white capped and rough, but I haven’t had a ” bath for a couple of days and the humidity is doing wonders to my jungle style cologne. I call it “Musk a la Men” Elena calls in “Pooh Stinky” which to me is a better name for a child’s nappy. One day when you see this cologne on the shelves in Paris think of me, I was where it all started.

Today supposedly is a public holiday, but we’re planning on going to town to check our Mail, check with the bank on our account application and gather up a few supplies. I want to see if I can find some Nargaviga. There’re like a small apple that grows here and is currently in season. Moses got some last week and explained that they flower June to August and Harvest in September and October.

Our problems at home we now hope are resolved as our boarder was moving out over the weekend and we’ve heard nothing from our son that would give us any indication that things have changed.

Moses is late this morning as we venture up though the rough track that I hacked down with my trusty bush knife over the last few days. Finally Moses arrives saying that the bus was late. It’s all good and we explain this weeks project of clearing the track to him and what we would like to achieve before we leave in 10 days time.

Wayne and Moses working on gutting the track through the jungle
Raking up the cut grass for burning
Wayne with the local “Blackman Rake”
“Jungle Patrol” – Wayne and Moses

We still have so much to do and with Moses confirming that today is a public holiday we decide that going to town maybe a waist of our time considering that most of the shops and banks will be closed. We’ll go to town tomorrow.

Looking from our makeshift kitchen I see the unfinished coral path that’s just begging to be completed, so with busker and shovel we head to the beach and continue with the laborious process. Me being me, it’s not long before blood is flowing, this time I walk into an overhanging tree and take a chunk of skin from the top of my head. I’m so frustrated and sitting back at camp staring at the unfinished path while Elena cleans and dresses my latest wound. ” I’m bloody finishing the f&@king path TODAY if it kills me” I hiss at Elena. It’s not her fault I just want it completed.

Another hour of digging and lugging bucketload after bucketload of coral and it’s done. I’m sweaty, dusty, the sand and small coral in my crocs is cutting my feet. But it’s DONE! Sometimes bullheaded and stubborn determination pays dividends.

Our food supplies are getting low, lunch is tinned sardines and crackers and I downed my last coffee, It’s now onto the hot chocolate until we go to town. Elena now seals out her hammock for a couple of hours contemplation while I take pen to paper and start mapping out our building project.

So much of what we thought we would do here has changed and each couple of days we develop another corner of the property with a new idea. After being here for the last two weeks we’ve come to realise the potential of what we could do here, and although it may take years in completion, we are in our element in designing a sustainable lifestyle for our future.

Elena returns from the beach and looks over my drawing with the eyes of a judge checking a prize pet on show. “I see what you’re drawing”…. “It’s just a concept, I’m not finished” I explain as I knock the top of a well earned beer.

It’s home time for Moses, as we wander up the drive and check on his progress we are super impressed at what he’s done. I mentioned to him that any rocks in the way to just put on the side of the track. So Moses has lined the sided of the track with rocks. Elena and I think it looks awesome as it really defines the path. Moses can’t come to work on Friday as he explains. “I take all pikinini to the doctor and me and my wife to get the pin”. But Moses came up with a solution, he asked if we would like home to bring a friend of his from the village to come and help with cutting and clearing the path. Moses really wants to complete this path for us before we leave. We have no problem paying for another worker and organised for him to start tomorrow.

We are getting down to the dregs for dinner, a curry soup mix, cabbage, capsicum and onion all in the pan. Surprisingly it didn’t taste too bad. Washed down with Milo and the lowering of the sun behind the trees. Days go quickly here, nights may seem long, but after a good days work sleep comes quickly. It wont belong before dawn is streaming into the tent.

There’s one good thing about going to town today….It’s STEAK NIGHT!

While some of you out there might think that’s nothing I can have a steak when ever I like, when you’re miles from town, have no fridge or freezer then getting fresh meat each day becomes a bit of a chore. For us we now only have fresh meat when we go to town and last time was over a week ago….. STEAK NIGHT YES!

We’re up early but miss Marie’s uncles bus so our next option is to take a truck. They’re the pick ups (utes to Aussies) that display a “PT” on their number plate. A Toyota HiLux comes up the highway, it’s got huge sacks of produce going to the market and 5 Ni Vanuatu on the back. I hold my hand out gesturing to stop. At first they drive by, then realising some “White Fella’s wanem ride” they stop 50m up the road. With a quick pace Elena and I run up and climb on top of everything and hold on.

Traveling this way in Australia would see you loose your licence for a very long time, but here in Vanuatu it’s a way of life for many. You learn to take it easy when you have your relatives in the back. Life takes a slower pace here anyway.

Our first stop is for breakfast as we decide that we’ll treat ourselves. Attar Cafe (opposite LCM Supermarket) is the place to go. We went here last visit to Espiritu Santo (Nov 2014) and they’ve modernized the interior since then. The parrot is still here and whistles when i come near. This time he’s in his cage and can’t get out.
The servings here are enormous and I can’t quite make it through the 2 pancakes, mango ice cream, tropical fruit salad and large mocha, but I gave it my best.

Attar Cafe – The best place for Breakfast in Luganville

Marie and Lois are a welcoming sight, we haven’t seen them for a week and they’re eager to hear about our adventures and progress in our land. We’re super impressed with what Moses has done and gladly show our progress.

We’re so thankful of Marie and Lois’s generosity, the use of the internet and the opportunity to recharge all our media equipment is a godsend. I quickly work at a feverish pace uploading all the daily diaries with promises to load pictures soon and leave the devices to charge as we head off to do all the tasks we came to town for.

We needed to have another chat to Wayne from C.O.P.S (Coconut Oil Production Santo) about organizing a container, he’s happy to see us again and after a quick catch up of local events and how we we’re tracking in our container quest we came to an agreement of letting him know when we need a container and he’ll sort it for us (cost $2200AUD) so, we’re finally getting a container. Now I just have to sort our pouring the foundation posts for it to rest on.

Grabbing a taxi back to the markets we now set about buying our fruits and vegetables for the next few days. I love the local markets, first it’s the price and second it’s where the locals buy and I so much want to be part of this world. Any expat can go to the supermarkets, but keeping it local helps the Ni Vanuatu and not some investor. Sorry if that offends any of my friends who have businesses here.


Our huge bag of produce costs us just over $6AUD. We carry it all back to stow away at Hibiscus Attraction Centre before heading of again to buy canned food, coffee and STEAK (DID I MENTION ITS STEAK NIGHT).

Now that we’ve dragged the last of our supplies (minus the French breads) back to Hibiscus, Elena still wants her precious breads and goes off in search of them. I stay at Hibiscus and have an hour of just surfing the net (for the first time since being here).

Marie organizes her uncle to collect us at 3pm so when he hasn’t arrived by 3.20pm she gives him another call, just as well, we recon he forgot us, but he was just around the corner. With hurries goodbyes we loaded up and headed back to camp.

Returning we find Moses hard at work and with no helper. Explains that his helper didn’t turn up for the bus so he came on his own. He’s done a magnificent job clearing today, we’re privileged to have just a great guy working with us.

With the campfire burning and the steak cooked we chowed down. Washed down with a beer there really couldn’t have been a better meal. Our son called and chatted about what’s going on at home and all seems quiet on the front.

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STEAK NIGHT! – The only time we get meat is when we go to town.

t’s not so quiet here, the evening winds have picked up again. It seems to do that at night, just as well we’re sheltered at camp, although I did cut down a couple of trees that sheltered the kitchen. Now if we want to cook anything quickly I have to hold the mat as a screen against the wind.

Tomorrow’s project….. Build a windscreen for the cooker.