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  • Surviving in Paradise- Vanuatu Jan 2006

    What started as a fun exploration around the island on unsealed roads with pot holes that were knee dip ended in a minor injury to Ciana that quickly became cause for concern.  Being fresh to the Islands our immunity to local infections had not kicked in and the small bruise on Ciana shin soon was grossly infected.  Not knowing anything about the medical system in Vila (except being advised to use the Vet’s services instead of the local doctors) I tended to this wound like I always did, with tea tree oil, essential oils, salt water bathing and crystals and reiki.  Within a few days I realised Iwas out of my depth here, the wound just kept getting deeper and bigger and as it was on her skinny little shin bone I was starting to worry about bone infections and medi vac flights.  Out of desperation around 3am one morning I asked the village next door who the foreign doctor was in town and they sent someone to wake up the French doctor( the butcher!!!!) who spoke less English than I did French.  He arrived and took one look at the wound, opened his kit, took out a swab and a blade, motioned to me to hold her down and he began scraping out the wound!

    OMG I have never heard anything like the sounds that came out of Ciana that morning and am feeling a rush of emotion as I write this.  I took her back for one more wound cleaning session with him before Ciana at the age of 7 years said “no more”. I finally found an Australian doctor who took a much more gentle approach and sent me to the chemist where I purchased a zip lock bag of antibiotics for about $5 and tube of bactroban ointment. Thankfully she began to heal overnight and 2 years later when I left Vanuatu I threw out what was left of that medicine and the ointment- we had not needed them again. (big lesson for any travellers to tropical locations ensure you are manic about keeping wounds clean in which ever way is your chosen method and seek trusted medical advice sooner rather than later)

    We were now about 4 weeks into our new life when I began to get bored. I know you are shaking your head in disbelief, how can one get bored in paradise. Well I needed some stimulation and some company that was older than 10 years old. So I used the old island coconut phone and found myself a job in a spa on Erakor Island- giving reiki and essential oil treatments. This eventually led to a part time job in the office for a few weeks and about 4 months part time spa work, which I loved.

    Around this time I realised that I was lonely. I hadn’t met or made any friends, I had a few acquaintances in town that I had been doing business with to get work permits organised etc but that was it.  I began to get a bit sad and celebrated my birthday with one very special friend who flew across from Australia, but when she left I was really down.  So I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and use my new found faith in “the universe” and ask that friends be sent to me. Now back then I was acting from a subconscious belief system that meant I got what I wanted but only after I had struggled and suffered- sick but true. So I did make some friends, but not before I lost my eyesight for a few days looking for them.

    I was due to go for a job interview to teach maths  in a local school and I had the worst case of conjunctivitis(what was I refusing to see??) I shall save you the gory details, let’s just say for two days I witnessed my world as a blind person. Not fun! Funny thing is I still went for that job interview, caught a ferry across to Irriki Island where a glass of MOET was chilling for me, shared dinner with the school owner, Denise who not only didn’t notice my shut eyes but she offered me the job! Life in Vanuatu is so laid back at times. I spent about 8 months teaching Nivanuatu children maths and science and loved every moment with those kids! Trying to teach them time management was hilarious- their response” miss we just get there when we get there” Ah island time!

    School began for my kids and on the first day I was about to cross the road to collect them when that voice that told me to go to Vanuatu shouted very loudly “turn around now”. In the movement that I created I caught the attention of an Australian woman who was about to cross the road right in front of  a truck! Traffic runs differently in Vanuatu and she had looked the wrong way! Turns out she was a natural healer, studying naturopathy and not only did she get my eyes cleaned up but she became my business partner. And so plans for Lotus Health and Beauty were begun.

    But that is another story.

    Until then, stay safe.


    Students from Peter Pan School                              Erakor Island






    Published on September 7, 2011 · Filed under: Events, General, Networking;
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