August 1, 2008

Here we begin the story of ‘Growing Up Island’.

This is an intro to a ongoing series chronicling my life growing up as a missionary kid in Vanuatu. I can’t guarantee that the stories won’t be slightly embellished by a child's memory but I do hope that it will help me document my growing up years and give you a glimpse into my childhood. Also they probably won’t be in perfect chronological order so I’ve included a time line below the links to help you (and me) keep the years in order and also to introduce some of the important people in the stories. (Some names have been changed)

1992 – Our family moved to Talua in September. We live in the student triplex until we moved into our new house in December.
Ps Kalsakau is the principal of Talua. Our Pastoral care group is Ambrym. Our housegirl is a lady called Emma.
The Scott’s have already been at Talua for a few years. Ian and Jenni have 4 children; Fiona, Kathryn, Jeremy and Bronwyn. They went home on furlough at end of year. Marie (An older American missionary) is the English/Christian Education teacher.
Our first Christmas in the tropics.

1993 – Our first full year in Vanuatu. Joshua starts Kindergarten, I am in year 2 – Mum home schools both of us for the rest of our time in Vanuatu. Our Pastoral care group is Ambrym.
At the end of 1993 we return to Australia for 2 month’s holiday/furlough.

1994 – We returned to Talua at the beginning of February. Emma is finding the work a bit much and so her daughter, Miriam, is now our house girl.
The Scott’s are still at Talua, they leave in October to return to Australia for good. Norah comes at beginning of year to replace Marie as English teacher. The Patterson’s (Jon and Lyndell) arrive in the middle of the year to replace Marie as Christian Education teacher.
Our pastoral care group is Central Islands.
Our second Christmas in Vanuatu.

1995 – The Taylor’s (Darrel and Margaret) arrive in May (they had stayed in Australia to have their first child, Luke).
This is a bad malaria year; Dad has it 4 times, Mum 2 times & I have it once, many of the students and staff also have malaria. Norah returns home at end of the year for good.
Our pastoral care group is Central Islands.
Ps Kalsakau went to Fiji to do a Masters and Ps Masia is principal.
We return to Australia for furlough/holiday at the end of the year.

1996 – Dad returned to Talua at beginning of February. Mum, Joshua and I stay in Australia to do first term at a ‘real’ school in Australia then returned to Talua in April. The telephone is finally connected to Talua in first term. The Patterson’s have their first child, Ben. Taylor’s return to Australia for furlough and to have Nicole (their second child).
Ps Masia is still principal.
Joshua and I spend a term going once a week to Tata school.
Our Pastoral care group was Southern Islands.
Our third Christmas in Vanuatu.

1997 – Our last year in Vanuatu. Ps Kalsakau returns to Talua as principal at the beginning of the year.
We all attend Assembly at South West Bay on Malekula. Mum and I have malaria again. In the middle of the year Miriam discovers she is pregnant so Emma returns as our house girl. Miriam has a little girl just before we leave and names her Erin.
Our Pastoral care group is Southern Islands.
We return to Australia for good at the end of the year.

2005 – After 7 years back in Australia I have the opportunity to return to Talua as part of a work party/short mission trip to help build a new library for Talua. I get to visit old friends, see places I grew up and remember how precious this place is to me.

(Image for title from NickyFern)

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