Tag Archives: fundraising

Stand With Vanuatu: An Update

Has it really already been a week since Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu? I suppose it has! As is always the case, there is good news and there is not such great news.

First, the good news: so far, there are minimal casualties in all of Vanuatu! I have directly heard back from almost all of my friends and family who live on the main island, and all of them are safe.

The bad news: There is still no word from the island on which we served for two years, which means no knowledge of how our host family is doing. This is the case for countless others who are counting the days since they have heard from their loved ones. Also, while the people endured in the face of a Category 5 cyclone, it has yet to be seen whether they will endure now that their livelihoods have been destroyed. Most of Vanuatu’s population, including everyone in the village we lived in, feed their families solely with their gardens as subsistence farmers. Those gardens are now gone, and will take months if not years to fully recover. Now they not only must rebuild their homes, schools, clinics, and churches, they need to recover any source of clean water that was destroyed, and start from scratch in cultivating their gardens.

Port Narvin, our village, before Cyclone Pam.
Port Narvin, our village, before Cyclone Pam.
Port Narvin after Cyclone Pam.
Port Narvin after Cyclone Pam.

This is where some of the good news comes back in: You, Me, and Everyone even so far away, We Can Help! Here is one way you can help if you live here in Utah:

In light of Vanuatu’s massive losses after being devastated by Cyclone Pam, we are holding a 10 Day Kakae this Sunday, March 22nd, where we will:

  1. Give you a chance to taste the Pacific region’s most famous custom: kava! (If you want, that is.)
  2. Provide a small assortment of the SALT Bistro’s tasty treats
  3. Stand With Vanuatu by making contributions to the organizations that are giving emergency assistance and will be helping them rebuild. There are prizes!!!
The first person to donate $30 at our 10 Dei Kakae can choose a
The first person to donate $30 at our 10 Dei Kakae can choose a “lavalava,” such as this one!
The first person to donate $60 at our 10 Dei Kakae can take home this shell necklace, handmade by people in our village from shells on our beach.
The first person to donate $60 at our 10 Dei Kakae can take home this shell necklace, handmade by people in our village from shells on our beach.
The first person to donate $90 at our 10 Dei Kakae can take home this pandanas basket, hand woven by people in our village, made out of pandanas grown on Erromango!
The first person to donate $90 at our 10 Dei Kakae can take home this pandanas basket, hand woven by people in our village, made out of pandanas grown on Erromango!

Please join us at the Salt Bistro at 209 E 500 S in Salt Lake~ We will be there from 12:00-3:00pm, so drop by whenever you can!

Not available? You can still Stand With Vanuatu. Scroll down and choose one of the organizations below and make a donation now, while you have a minute! We will have a shell in your honor at our 10 Dei Kakae. 🙂

These are the organizations currently working with Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office to provide aid and recovery to our family and people like them. Click on a link to go directly where you need to be to support victims of Cyclone Pam:

  • OXFAM works to help governemts, businesses, and communities be as prepared and strong as possible. They assist organizations in working together to build a stronger future.
  • The Red Cross focuses on first aid training as well as responding to crises, helping under-resourced communities across Vanuatu.
  • World Vision staff assess damage and distribute pre-positioned relief supplies including food, clean water, shelter materials, hygiene supplies, and cooking sets.
  • UN Women in Vanuatu supports the protection of the women and girls affected by this disaster, and invest in reconstruction that will benefit women and their families
  • UNICEF works to ensure that communities have the knowledge and resources necessary to provide for the needs of their children.
  •  CARE works in communities across Vanuatu, preparing the people to face disasters such as this, and gives them the skills they need to respond and rebuild.

It is Vanuatu’s cultural tradition to mark the end of grieving with a big meal 10 days after losing a loved one. For the 10 days leading up to this meal, the family is cared for by the village, giving them time and support to grieve. On the tenth day, the family gives gratitude with their “10 Day Kakae,” feeding everyone who has been so supportive, and allowing them to return to their work. On Sunday, we will have our our 10 Day Kakae, marking our support in the country resuming their hard work, moving forward, and rebuilding a new paradise in Vanuatu.

Click here to see how some of the amazing people you are helping get down.

Sending Out an S.O.S.

While we were living in our little bamboo village on Erromango in Vanuatu, I don’t know how many conversations we had with our friends and family there about the environment. While the rest of the world is still debating whether climate change is real or not, places like Vanuatu can only try to learn to cope with the effects it sees from climate change on a regular basis. Things like rising sea-levels, rising temperature of air and ocean (affecting gardens and sea-life), and an increase of extreme events, such as Cyclone Pam, are an inarguable reality for them.

What remains of a concrete house near Port Vila.
What remains of a concrete house near Port Vila.

But that doesn’t mean they have the funds or materials to build adequate precautionary infrastructure, such as we would have in the western world, to face these catastrophic circumstances. Today I am writing regarding Cyclone Pam, one of the most monstrous cyclones in the history of the Pacific.

A concrete house in Port Vila that lost its roof in the midst of the strongest rain and wind the structure had ever seen.
A concrete house in Port Vila that lost its roof in the midst of the strongest rain and wind the structure had ever seen.

Pam tore through Vanuatu and is still on the move. Images are now pouring in from the capital of Port Vila, a city made mostly of concrete, showing heart-stopping destruction. Meanwhile, I’m wondering when we’ll begin to hear from the outer islands like Erromango, where we lived and served for two years. They have some concrete buildings, but the majority of structures are built from bamboo and leaves.

A bamboo structure, or what is left of it, after Cyclone Pam.
A bamboo structure, or what is left of it, after Cyclone Pam.

Please share the links to the organizations that are providing immediate relief to bamboo villages like ours. If you have the means, choose your favorite organization below and make a donation. They will need all the help they can get*.

Thank you so much for your time and generosity. My Vanuatu family thanks you.

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*Please note, these websites will convert your donation to Australian dollars. You can use google to see exactly how much you are donating in your own currency.