Home-schooling in Vanuatu on the island of Tanna

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The island of Tanna in Vanuatu.

Here's an article on a subject you don't usually get to read about. A Canadian family with seven children have moved to the island of Tanna in Vanuatu to provide medical services to the people who live there, and in the meantime their children are being home-schooled.

I plan to visit Vanuatu myself eventually but I'm not sure whether Tanna will be on the list of places to stay:
As 15-year-old Shaina was climbing down a canyon of black sandstone, the seemingly solid ledge beneath her feet suddenly gave way, and she fell 20 feet into a pit of quicksand. Miraculously, her brother Reuben caught her, saving her life.

The islands are filled with active volcanoes, and earthquakes and tsunamis are common.

"We're getting good at dodging lava bombs," reports daughter Rachael, 16, "and it's difficult to navigate around the volcano in the dark; sometimes we've ended up right at the crater's edge!"
Yeah, dodging lava bombs. Not sure about whether I want to acquire that skill myself. The article has a bit on Bislama too:
"First, we have religious studies, which can last anywhere from two hours to five minutes. Then, three days a week, we learn Bislama, the native tongue. We go and teach at the primary school, and since the kids only speak Bislama, we learn most of it there.

"Then, we have our science class, also known as 'Dokta studies.' Heather [a family friend along for the trip] and Reuben go on rounds with Dan, learning how to diagnose strange diseases. Shaina and I learn from the nurses, helping deliver and resuscitate babies, which can happen at random times, but seem to favor midnight as the best birthing time."
Good to see they referred to Bislama as the native tongue. Too many articles refer to it (and Tok Pisin too) as a pidgin or a simple local dialect.

The Wikipedia article on the largest town on the island of Tanna (Isangel) is still only a total of two sentences. That family on the island might be one of the few people that would be able to significantly expand it some day (no idea what internet access is like on Tanna).


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