Kitchen work on the Monday meant that I had not met the children when they came into school, however working on the project on Tuesday allowed me to socialize with some of them. Being at the red cross school for the disabled, there are children with a number of disabilities who attend school here, which range from autism and down syndrome, to those children who are blind and deaf, or who may have deformities. All of the children are so incredibly adorable.
We began the morning painting the playground which was outside, with oil based paint (meaning it didn’t come off quite as easily as the water-based paint we had been using on the fence, and required turps to be removed from paintbrushes and human skin!), and a lot of the kids who had arrived early to school were jumping at the chance to grab a brush and help us make their playground look colorful, shiny and new! Due to the paint being oil based we desperately tried to limit the amount of children who were painting at one time, and the amount of paint on their brushes, however some did end up leaving for the day with bright hair!
After singing songs with the children at their assembly at 8am, the daily newspaper arrived at the school! We eagerly grabbed at the paper to see a front page photo of the school, with lead to a two page spread on pages 8 and 9, story from the media visit the day before! 5 large photos of Rovers and children at work were placed throughout the spread to accompany the story, which was, surprisingly in English, along with the majority of other stories throughout the paper! The local language is Pijin, which is a blend of mostly English words modified to fit Melanesian sounds, with a mix of English and Melanesian grammar. It’s quite easy to understand Pijin after hearing a lot of the language, the easiest way we’ve found to speak it is pretending we’re 5 and speaking broken English! The majority of words are pronounce phonetically, so fairly easy to read as well, for instance ‘white man’ is ‘waetman’.
Rovers help Hanidcap Centre
By Mike Puia
Island Sun, Tuesday 7 June
The Solomon Islands Red Cross SIRC has applauded the visiting Rover Scouts of Canberra, Australia, for volunteering to help their handicap centre at rifle range.
The 17-member team is an Australia based team and they are a world scouting movement, who arrived in the country last Wednesday and will return to Australia next Thursday.
Spokesperson for Rovers, Alex Bound, yesterday revealed that since their arrival last week they had been helping the centre with paint, clean up and repair works.
Rover scouting is the oldest group of scouts in Australia where youths helped communities and enjoyed the fun and adventure of being a scout.
Rover Scouting existed far way back, they came to the Solomons in 2004 where they visited the SIRC handicap centre and again in 2006.
Members of Rovers apply before they become a member and before they travel to any country they raised funds through fundraising drives, said Mr Bounds.
Rover Scouting established ties with the Solomon Islands during their previous visits.
The procurement of equipments, paints, materials and chemicals and every other tool they used in their work enable them to visit different countries around the world.
Their mission is not only to develop their organization, but to allow youths to experience the international aspect of scouting. This includes development of leadership skills in different situations.
Their visit to the country, particularly to the centre, will allow their young team to give back to the community.
They do what is expected of them by the Handicap centre.
Head of the handicap centre, Cathy Anilafa praised all the support and efforts given by the Rover scouts towards the centre.
“It’s hard to find people who offer their time to provide such assistance to the centre”she added.
After doing some initial painting in the morning, I headed into town to act as a bank buddy. We’ve implemented rules within the team that when leaving the centre we walk in at least groups of two for safety reasons, and so I headed down to the bank with our treasurer to bank some of the teams travelers cheques. While waiting I managed to run over to an ANZ ATM to check my bank balance. I kept a receipt from the machine, as it had spat out my balance in SBD, so I got a figure which was 9 times what I actually had in the account…I wish!! Spent some time at an internet café in the city before catching a bus back to the school.
When we got back to the school we walked into a massive song and dance session that the Rovers were undertaking with the kids. It was great fun, with songs like the Hokey Pokey, so limbs were going in and out and left and right, and every-one was having a fantastic time! I was running around the circle taking photos of the whole thing, and before I knew it I had a line up of kids who wanted to take a photo on the camera. Then I had a line up of boys wanting a photo with me!…it’s because I’m so pretty…obviously!! The children head home each day around 12 noon to avoid the heat of the day, and as soon as they left we jumped right back into the cleaning and took down all of the curtains to be cleaned!
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing…I finished my Jodi Picoult book!, and planning for our recreation day on the Wednesday. Bryn and I had headed into town to pick up a FWD rental while the team finished painting the playgrounds at the school. We rented a white Hilux with a tray at the back, and it’s definitely an interesting experience driving in the Solomons. We kept forgetting we didn’t need to put our seatbelt on, and so were constantly laughed at by the locals, and would cringe every time we drove through a roundabout, as it’s acceptable to change lanes as you’re driving through! Also, we noticed that if a car didn’t feel like waiting in traffic, it would drive onto the sidewalk (pedestrians beware) to escape the traffic and jump the line! Also, we stalled a few times! The general speed limit throughout the island is 50kph, however the Police don’t enforce speeding (surprisingly there are hardly any crashes!) We were, however, told that those who speed through smaller provinces outside of Honiara have rocks thrown at their car by locals, as the local way of telling you to slow down!