2014 Vanuatu Humanitarian Aid Effort - TryBooking: Port Havannah Primary School

In 2006 I was very fortunate to be part of the first ORCV Ocean Race from Melbourne to Vanuatu.  The preparation, the race and the shore time spent in Vanuatu with the locals and the crew will remain in my fondest memories forever.  Many boat owners, crews and their families contributed to a variety of items which were all sent in a container ahead of the boats for that first race.  I did not contribute anything at the time and regretted it immediately we cleared customs after the long race.  

The people of Vanuatu are totally unforgettable.  We left the country envious of their unfailing optimism and seemingly unending happiness with their ‘lot in life’.  They simply never stop smiling.

Returning to Vanuatu in 2014, this time not to race but to be bring TryBooking back to Australia we, as a crew, were determined to pack into the ORCV container heading over, some gifts for a group of school children and their teachers which we planned to hand deliver prior to sailing away back to Australia.  We each decided on different items which we would gather.  I put together things that had meant something to me which I would be happy to give knowing they would be left there in my favourite country.  These included some large pieces of quality material that my mother had gathered on her many travels during her lifetime which I had kept after her death, some soft toys that my now grown up sons used to love, items of my own clothing, about two dozen tennis balls from the Australian Open which had been used by the players and finally a lifesize Koala hand puppet which had been given to me by my husband 25 years ago.  In addition, we were tasked with distributing several other boxes that had been sent over in the container which included reading books, writing pads, diaries, pens, pencils, folders, clothing, make-up, soft toys, toothbrush and toothpaste kits, shampoos and soaps.

We flew in to Port Vila and it didn’t take us long to start enquiring about the primary schools where we could leave our gifts.  We decided that we would sail to the north to a primary school which was not far from the water in Port Havannah.  We arrived in Port Havannah on a Saturday morning and went ashore to find the local village chief, Chief Andrew, who encouraged us to come back on a Monday when the primary school would be open.  After cruising a number of islands around Port Havannah, we returned, anchored and after several trips in our dinghy, the shore party transported numerous boxes ashore.

We found that all the children were at school playing in the yard but there were no teachers.  Chief Andrew, who greeted us as arranged, told us that the principal had slept in and the other teachers were running late!  I already had my koala (Nelson we named him after a friendly local from Lelepa Island who rowed out to sell us bananas a few days earlier) cradled into my arm with my hand working his face and paws.  The looks on the children’s faces as they tried to work out how we had brought a real koala with us was priceless. Even after patting him they didn’t seem sure if he was real or not.

The teachers soon turned up and after lining all the children up they sang to us a very uplifting song which we captured on video.  The boxes we had brought were opened and they were then free to gather what they wanted.  The young boys went off bouncing and throwing the tennis balls and came running back to tell us that they were “really high bouncing ones”.  Some of the others picked the soft toys and even the teachers (both women) started going through the material and clothing. At the end of our short visit I handed “Nelson” over to one of the teachers so that he may perhaps be used as a teaching aid in some way. Anyway I was sure he would love his new life in Vanuatu whatever he ended up doing.

As a thank-you, the children sang us the following song:

"We're happy today" Port Havannah Primary School. https://youtu.be/V6FiljP-j0U

Some images of Port Havannah Primary School:

2014 TryBooking01 HumanitarianAid Container

Humanitarian Aid, boxed up and ready for the Container


2014 TryBooking02 PortHavannahNeslon Lelepa Island

Nelson from Lelepa Island, who rowed out to offer us some fresh fruit.


2014 TryBooking03 PortHavannah IMG 7019

Lelepa Island


2014 TryBooking03 PortHavannah P7191424

Port Havannah - Lelepa and Moso Islands


2014 TryBooking07 PortHavannah Rowing Aid to PrimarySchool1 IMG 1997

Shore party investigate, including offering to local Chief for permission to anchor in his village's harbour


2014 TryBooking06 PortHavannah11 P7191453

Anchored off Port Havannah


2014 TryBooking05 PortHavannah P7191431

Port Havannah


2014 TryBooking08 PortHavannah4 Local wearing M2H cap The school is over there P7191439

The Chief lives over there.  Ray, one of the locals, was wearing an ORCV Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster cap that another visiting yacht had given to him.


2014 TryBooking09 PortHavannah Rowing Aid to PrimarySchool2 IMG 3171

One of a few trips to take Humanitarian Aid ashore.


2014 TryBooking10 PortHavannah Cheif Andrew P7211583

Chief Andrew


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Aid1 IMG 2021

Port Havannah Primary School


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Aid2 P7211588

Port Havannah Primary School.  An ex-pat from the USA, who's teaching at the school for 2 years, looking through the reading books.


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Aid4 Tennis balls a big hit IMG 7036

Port Havannah Primary School - the Australian Open tennis balls were a big hit


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Aid6 P7211593

Port Havannah Primary School


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Kids1 P7211598

Port Havannah Primary School, gotta love those smiles.


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool Kids2 IMG 7032

Port Havannah Primary School


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimarySchool P7191429

Port Havannah Primary School


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimiarySchool Koala puppet3 IMG 2018

Koala puppet "Nelson".  


2014 TryBooking PortHavannahPrimiarySchool Koala puppet2 Teacher IMG 7039

Koala puppet "Nelson" with one of the teachers.


Annie Schaefer, TryBooking Delivery Crew 

Super Motor Yacht DragonFly was one of the first boats to provide emergency disaster relief to some remote villages in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam hit. You can help too by donating to the ORCV Oxfam Australia Vanuatu Cyclone Pam Emergency Appeal www.Yachties4Vanuatu.com. Like many ORCV yachts who've cruised the beautiful Vanuatu archipelago, during their cruising, DragonFly also made many friends and developed relationships with the local communities and felt compelled to assist in whatever way they could. Their highly skilled crew, included 5 Emergency Medical Technicians and a Doctor. The w [ ... ]

Yachties 4 Vanuatu Day - Saturday 11 April, 2015

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2014 Vanuatu Humanitarian Aid Effort - TryBooking: Port Havannah Primary School In 2006 I was very fortunate to be part of the first ORCV Ocean Race from Melbourne to Vanuatu.  The preparation, the race and the shore time spent in Vanuatu with the locals and the crew will remain in my fondest memories forever.  Many boat owners, crews and their families contributed to a variety of items which were all sent in a container ahead of the boats for that first race.  I did not contribute anything at the time and regretted it immediately we cleared customs after the long race.    [ ... ]


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“After we loaded up in Port Vila there was 800kg of educational related supplies on board including reading books, exercise books, pens, pencils, marker pens, chalk, erasers, scissors and sharpeners plus one fibreglass canoe and 4 sails. Suffice to say Escapade was loaded to the gunnels - certainly not her usual racing trim!
We distributed [ ... ]


2014 Vanuatu Humanitarian Aid Effort - Canoe donation to the Imere Scout Group. In 2014 the ORCV were given a canoe from Graham Candy as part of the Humanitarian Aid sent to Vanuatu. Nick Woodley was instrumental in handing this over to Many Sael from the Imere Scout Group in Le Me village and at the time gave us an insight into the ceremony that took place. “Many is known by his scout name as Tafura. The handing over was celebrated with ceremony- flag raising, food, paddling and “sealing the deal” with Kava. The Scout group was RAPT!! They will use it for fun, fishing for f [ ... ]


Our thoughts are with our friends in Vanuatu recovering from the devastation left by severe tropical cyclone Pam.  The ORCV has partnered with OxFam and is exploring other fund raising efforts such as a charity race and will keep you posted.  See subseuqnet website artclie Yachties4Vanuatu Day - Saturday 11 April, 2015. The ORCV has conducted three 1,885 nautical mile international yachts races from Melbourne to Vanuatu in 2006, 2010 and 2014.  During those events, entrants have filled a shipping container with humanitarian aid that they have distributed to various communi [ ... ]


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