The Vanuatu journey begins…

Have probe (and bicycle) will travel — Sonos’ mantra

I started thinking about a blog for my Vanuatu trip much earlier this year, and started writing, but it’s taken this long to get it sorted. So I’m going to post the first several pieces at once.

Am I really going to do this?

I’ve said for years I’d love to do some volunteer work, and for the past year I’ve bragged about planning to visit Vanuatu with the Bridging Health team in October.

But now the time has come to apply for visas, get police checks, vaccinations and raise funds.

Suddenly it all seems just like too much hard work! I’m totally overwhelmed.

My company donated $5000 towards the trip last year, when two other staff members went. I’d love it to do the same for me, but will they? I’m afraid to ask.

Anyway, I’m just going to plough my way through the checklist of paperwork, and take it one task at a time.

And I’m going to concentrate on the amazing things I will see and do, as I get to spend some special time with a group of people who need help.

Drowned in paperwork…

But at least it’s official- I do not have a criminal record.

Progress is being made…slowly, mostly in making contacts.
I’ve contacted one of the previous sonos who went to Tanna early last year and  now works as a rep for an ultrasound machine company. She was hopeful I could use one of their loaner machines but it turned out to be already booked for October.
She gave me another email address for a different company, but a week later, no reply.
I’ve gotten in touch with the sono from Tanna, Shamina, who reports that she needs gel. So I’ve been finding some here and there…
I’ve started collecting prizes for a raffle – the aforementioned massage, a photo I’ve had printed up, and approached Giant bicycle shop for a prize. And am trying to organise a Tour de Socks ride to raise some funds – to be held the weekend the Tour de France starts and getting people to make a donation for the privilege of wearing their nuttiest socks.

All while trying to pack up my house, renovate my flat and work a full week.
I went to the eye doctor today and decided to get my pterygium removed before heading off into the great unknown. Three weeks recovery time! I don’t have time for three weeks recovery but maybe I’ll be able to do some organisational things.
The tock is clicking.

Money, money, money

Not for me, of course. I’ve bought my flights, paid my accommodation and am raising money to get medical supplies to Tanna Island.
A silent auction of my burning rose print raised $55, and now I have the raffle going.
First prize is a half-hour massage donated by a sweet friend (who is a masseuse), and there is also a  signed Capras jersey (really?!) and some bicycle-related things donated by Giant. I’ve also been selling some old furniture dirt cheap on Buy, Swap and Sell and donating the proceeds.
I’ve already reached the $300 mark, so should get to $500 without having to make too huge a personal donation.
I’ve  managed to lose my emails and flight details for getting to Vanuatu. D’oh.
Meanwhile, my husband has finished work (as in retired), taking a lot of pressure off me to get things done – as we are in the middle of renovating a flat and moving out of home. We are becoming working gypsies when I return from Tanna.
Eleven weeks to go.

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