REPORT FOLLOWING VISIT TO ULUVEU ISLAND 10TH TO 17TH JANUARY 2013
NZCHET arrived at Uluveu on the 10th of January. Liane Farry was accompanied by Jason Whaanga from Advanced Eco Solutions. At the end of November the manager of the Uluveu Nuwai Pavilion had reported a malfunctioning pump. A replacement pump was immediately dispatched to the island and it took 7 days from NZ to Uluveu to arrive. NZCHET consider logistics to be vitally important for this project because all machinery breakers down so it was not a matter of if but more a matter of how fast it could be fixed when a glitch appears.
Once Jason investigated it was found to be a problem with the working of the pump motor at the assembly stage and probably a faulty connection at assembly. This will be taken up with the company who supplied the pump to Open Ocean the maker of the water machine. Compensation will be sought and the new pump will be stored at the pavilion and used as a spare pump when the present one needs to be serviced. Jason had wiring to finish and he used his time training Kalo Massing. Alarms were added to the water system which John from Solapro was unable to achieve. Benson was also given some extra training and new water pressures for the desalination machine were set. the last three solar panels were wired into the system something solapro was also unable to finish. The whole system is operating at maximum efficiency now and NZCHET and Jason are very pleased with its performance.
Since the rainy season started the power has been used to make block ice and a freezer which is owned by the community has been keeping the ice blocks while they await sale. There are many fishing boat that come to the Maskelynes and require block ice for the fish. When this block ice is available the fishing boats can stay longer enabling the locals to catch more fish and sell it to the boats. This brings in revenue to the families on the island. On investigation by NZCHET it was found that the local people in the Maskelynes also like to buy block ice for their chilly bins and this has also bought in revenue for the pavilion.
NZCHET has been involved in many meetings with the chiefs and the local businessmen they have told NZCHET that the local boats will buy 30 blocks of ice at once and this can easily be made in the rainy season as the watermarked is not required. The blocks will be sold for 500vt per block and this money will go towards maintenance and replacement of the equipment. This will mean that in 15 to 20 years when the batteries will need to be replaced money will be put aside for this. The community has asked NZCHET to investigate a new and even more efficient block ice maker and a new and more efficient freezer. These two pieces of equipment were donated to the community 7 years ago, the freezer from AUS Aid and the ice maker from the Vanuatu Ministry of Fisheries. They are still working but Jason who has used them has suggested that new equipment would be more efficient on the power supply. The Council of Chiefs has spoken with NZCHET and Jason Whaanga and we have discussed ways of improving the efficiency. NZCHET has spoken with the community and they are thrilled to have ice blocks available at this extremely hot period. NZCHET see this initiative as a way to generate an income for the pavilion and this will ensure that when maintenance and replacement of equipment is required money will be in the bank to accommodate this. The Uluveu Nuwai Pavilion has been signed over to the people and a document signed by the chiefs from each village.
The governing body of Pam Project has full control of the three activities initiated by NZCHET. The soap factory has presented NZCHET with a financial report and they have sold more soap and bought more oil in the last three months than transactions over the last three years. The chiefs have told NZCHET they will will institute a law that no other soap apart from palm project soap will be used or bought on the island. NZCHET see this as a good decision and the guest houses will support this by using the palm project product for their guests. This is also something NZCHET has hoped for as once the guest use the soap they will want to buy it to take home. The governing body of palm project are looking at new markets and will be travelling to all village close to Uluveu in the future. As they travel they will sell palm project products and buy oil. Jenny Balias, manager of the soap factory has been praised by the people of Uluveu for her management of the soap factory and she is very keen to prove her abilities as the new manager. The soap factory was inspected by NZCHET and it was found to be clean and organised. There was a good stock pile of soap, aged and wrapped ready for sale. There was also a good stock pile of the highest quality coconut oil bottled and labelled ready for sale. There is also shampoo and conditioner in the 250ml bottles labelled and ready for sale. Samples have been given out to encourage the local sales and the trustee for NZCHET was invited to sample the shampoo and conditioner and was asked to appraise it also. Off cuts of the soap are delivered to the pavilion so that the local people especially the children will have plenty of soap for the shower. It was also reported to NZCHET that local sales have increased since Jenny has become manager. NZCHET spoke to many locals and asked them to appraise Jenny’s performance. It was pleasing to hear that the locals including the chiefs and paramount chief are pleased with the new management. It has taken a few years for the soap factory to find its feet and to initiate a formula for success but NZCHET are pleased that they have finally come to it and that it has not only been achieved in their own time but in their own way and culture.
The Uluveu Builders & Carvers Workshop has still to find its way of generating income but with its new management and the governing body they are working hard to achieve the same success as the pavilion and soap factory. NZCHET also inspected the Workshop and it was found tidy and all tools present. NZCHET realise that tools and their maintenance are not easy, especially on this remote island. There are many skilled builders and carvers on the island and NZCHET has talked with them and listened to their problems. A new chainsaw was added to the tools in January this portable 65cc petrol chainsaw with a 28″ blade will be used to harvest custom wood for furniture building. The local boats are not large enough to carry a whole tree trunk so the wood has to be planked before delivering it to the workshop. This chainsaw will assist the builders with their aspiration to build and sell furniture and it has been suggested that NZ furniture builders will facilitate furniture building workshops in the future.
While Jason was there two new solar panels were added to the two already on the managers hut. A new battery was installed along with a new inverter giving much more power to the soap factory. A plug was installed in the workshop so that small power tools can be used now instead of starting up the generator. The workshop now has two generators the original one which is 9kva it has a new battery and a key start up which was overhauled by Martin Peet while he was there building the pavilion. The workshop also has a smaller 2000watt generator which was donated by Richard Allen a trustee of NZCHET. Now the workshop is ready to make their way to an economic enterprise. The new management team has the backing of NZCHET and we hope they will find their way forward. Like the soap factory the workshop has to find it way and the only way this will happen is with the support of the community, their way, the Uluveu way.
The next activity coming up for NZCHET will be the building of composting toilets. These will be built by Pete Whitehouse who will sail to Uluveu May/June 2013. Pete has been building composting toilets for many years now the he has his own style and design. He will take the base mould with him and apart from a bag of cement he is hoping to use all local materials. Three toilets will be built and at this stage the chiefs have decided that one should be built at each church in the 3 villages. Pete is a builder/boatbuilder and an accomplished furniture builder so NZCHET are expecting great things and we look forward to Pete’s report and photos. The locals have been asking NZCHET for a while now how they can improve the water in the bore wells. This can only be achieved if the long drop toilets are no longer used. The composting toilets are the solution to this and it has been agreed by the Government of Vanuatu and many other Governments in the Pacific. The composting toilets will be installed and it is hoped by the chiefs that they will be adopted into the Uluveu culture. At present water samples are being tested by UNELCO the water and electric company in Vanuatu. These sample which include the bore wells will yield interesting result for NZCHET and the people of Uluveu. These will be added to our next report.
NZCHET is pleased to say that with the 12 new 6000ltr tanks plus the 8 old fibreglass tanks, cleaned and mended the island has plenty of safe clean drinking water. Along with the water maker which makes 2000ltrs per day it has been calculated by NZCHET the in a drought lasting 6 weeks -which is the maximum drought experienced. The residents of Uluveu will be able to have 3.03ltrs of drinking water per day. This is a vast improvement on previous years and now we wait for the drought which is expected August/September and see just how these calculation work. 204000ltr divided by 6weeks divided by 1600 residents will give each person 3.03ltrs per person per day. All these are just figures but it is certainly true that the residents of Uluveu have more safe clean drinking water than most of the 83 islands in Vanuatu. Infact NZCHET has been approached by many other village and they have asked for help with their water shortages. The people of Uluveu are very pleased with the improvement in their water shortage situation. They are proud of their achievement and success in what they have built and are now maintaining for their island and its people. NZCHET are also very pleased with the response of the people to the upkeep and maintenance of the Uluveu Nuwai Pavilion. NZCHET support the people in their efforts to find means to support their pavilion and our support will be ever continuing.