We left Kavieng after reprovisioning and headed out towards the Tsoi islands. We first stopped at Tsoilaunung island, the water was clear, blue and warm. A girl and her brother had come out in their canoe and were hanging about near to the rear of the boat. Being polite they just sat there until we started talking to them and then they rowed closer asking us if we wanted drinking coconuts. “1 Kina” the lad said with a cheeky smile (25 pence). I bought two and he seemed quite happy with his business transaction.
Next a lady appeared with two children asking whether we had any biscuits for the children, we got talking and said we would come in later to see her village. There were only 4 houses and everybody was related, we had a quick guided tour and bought another couple of coconuts.
One of their local houses –
Open plan kitchen –
The local kids always enjoy swimming –
Upon meeting one guy he said his eyesight was very poor so Jimmy my skipper said we would come back with some glasses and see if we could find him a pair to help him read. We went back after lunch and soon everybody seemed to need glasses and were all pushing for an impromptu eye test. Normally you don’t need reading glasses until you are 40+ but even the youngsters wanted some !! We helped who we could and the older folk are always the most thankful as they clearly have the worst eyes so it makes much more of a difference to them.
We moved the boat further and went ashore to see Tsoi Boto and met a lady on the beach called Estha, she showed us her house and her sons house and then walked with us to the other side of the island. She told us how her brother owned one of the guesthouses on the next island so we walked further and crossed the small passage in local dug out canoe.
Spania and his wife (the local pastor) had built the guesthouse about 3 years ago, mostly doctors and nurses seemed to come 2/3 times a year and base themselves there whilst they made visits to the other islands.
View from the guesthouse –
We went for a walk to see the church and local school, also they had a nice new house next to the church which was looking a liitle tired. We sat and chatted to them about life on the island, Spania use to be a school teacher in different parts of PNG but had now retired. He was concerned that not all children went to school as it was not compulsary, they might go for a month or so but then get bored and just play in the ocean and go fishing. Despite being a small island there was a private school which cost 100 kina a year to join (25 pounds) and had their own school uniform, his grandaughter went there. They had been experiencing a drought for the last 3/4 months with virtually no rain whatsoever, the crops had all dried up (cassava, yams, potatoes) so it just seemed as though they were surviving on the sea to supply them with food.
Despite all this hardship everybody seemed happy enough and just got on with their lives hoping things would get better when the rains came.