Archive for March, 2009
March 22nd, 2009
High up in Wunpuko Bush, 13 March 2009. The survey has actually begun. Chief surveyor of Min Lands in charge, in situ. Wednesday, we had requested a scheduled flight from Luganville town to Banks Islands make a diversion for us [and over 100kgs of excess weight in equipment].
With so much ’stuff’ the trek had to be well-organized - it was [by HF radio with the village] - but the flight too was like clockwork - we got to the airport tem mins before etd. Last time we left, wasn’t more than ten days later same plane [Islander], same pilot didn’t quite make it over the top and the two in front, pilot and one passenger we knew obliquely, died. The others were rescued by helicopter.
Although loss of life was less than feared at first, regular service to Lajmoli had been suspended since then. Our flight Wednesday also carried a badly-needed spare part for the airfield mower, the grass so high it appeared our landing was an amphibian touching down in waves of green. On deplaning, the axles were wrapped with grass, the captain having to be a gardener as well.
So here we are …at the edge of the lands that are soon to become home to the Edenhope vision.The survey party [seven] is off in the morning rain. It’s clearing now so they will be quite relieved [and less muddy].
The community of Wunpuko, it becomes clearer each time we visit, seems to know exactly what they are doing in giving us the land for the project. Not only are the boundaries clear to them [the villagers] but also the sites where we could make our village/campus. It’s between the river and another stream - close up to a waterfall - and where we will tap sources for our water.
The rain has stopped but the humidity in the sky is holding the sun back. The survey team returned late in the afternoon. They would stay until Sunday; we left Saturday to spend two nights in the village guest house.
Now the task is to get environment and forestry up for the ‘conservation area’ catalogue, and Land Valuation up so we have a basis for negotiation. DG of Lands will surely help to get this done quickly [of couse it’s on our dime]. We must have an environmental impact statement [for the record].
So we are now in a position to begin negotiation for the lease, the completion of it will come simultaneously with all these elements part of it.
How is it in heaven-? We know now.
The big question is …how many children will the sacred garden produce-? Only in the evolved light of such exquisite reflection will those who have mastered fear find their way here. We will delay this discussion a while….
Small news update:- Our return to Luganville [Natapoa Motel where we ‘reside’ till] was marred by Ruth getting malaria [shakes and fever] the Monday morning of our noon departure. The chills were soon abated by the silver, but fever increasing.
Departure was to be at noon - to meet the aircraft diversion at Lajmoli at three. If missed, we would have to wait for two more days; she insisted we would not miss it. So, except for dosings of silver, she slept the rest of the morning. The surveyors, I and a number of visitors shared fruit, yam and crackers for breakfast.
It was closer to 11:30 as a guess when we set off to the beach, but none of the crew were there yet, so it must have been earlier. Two of us had to help Ruth; she was very unsteady. Better we went back up iunder the trees for shade. With the owner and crew, we were going to be eight [plus much equipment] - quite heavy for a small boat with one 30hp motor. Ruth lay down in the grass. It was twenty minutes before they arrived, one by one carrying gas tanks, and other items.
Soon the boat was in the water, the sea relatively calm; we were grateful. The baggage wrapped in black plastic sheeting in the middle made a somewhat soft cushion for Ruth to lie back against. She pulled her had down against the sun.
With all the weight, we wallowed to Lajmoli for the better part of two hours - a perfect coincidence that the airplane was 30/40 minutes late. I spotted 30 or so dorsal fins some 50m away towards open sea at one point; they submerged and didn’t come to play with us as they’d done before. We didn’t have any time to spare either - sure they knew it!
Once we beached there was still a km or more to the airstrip and airport-house. Enroute we encountered the flight controller quite worried that we would be late. He is the sole employee at the airport, operates the HF, does the paperwork, weighs baggage and pax, loads the aircraft and mows the airstrip - leaving us a well-cut part adequate for the twin-otter that soon arrivedfor us. It was quite a beautiful short-field landing.
Our party filled up the plane. Once airborne, the toughest part of the trip was over…. Our truck would be at the airport on arrival. Then only ten minutes to the motel in town.
Our trip to NZ had to be put off. Ruth got over the malaria in two days but ironically followed me in having a cellulitis comme suite attack in lower left leg that has lasted five days now. Though resolving quite well now, there is a lingering swelling.
We have had so much going on anyway that the delay was a Godsend. The Government meanwhile has approved our VATand Customs exemption! And two containers just arrived from Bali were cleared this past week under it [the exemption]. Two more arriving shortly and one from NZ, a pallet or more from the US. We’re making one helluva progress now.
Will see to the Residence Permits in Vila this coming week. As the Project now has the full support of government, it should come through quite readily. BTW, we’re so remote that the reduction to 1300 or 1400 acres won’t really make much difference to us. The great beauty around us up there in the bush is breathtaking!