Sunday, March 8, 2009

The local economy…


Employment in Vanuatu is 6%.  Not an unemployment rate of 6% EMPLOYMENT rate.  Wow, that means 94% are unemployed.  This friend of ours is a gardener at a local resort and is considered one of the lucky to have a job.  The going rates in this area are just under $10 a day or $1.25 an hour!  Port Vila the capital here sees quite an influx of islanders hoping for work in the city.  Sadly there are shanty towns that have been built from those that have left their homes and gardens on the outer islands only to find there is very little work here.  YWAM an international aid group that I am here with has a strong presence in these areas, working with the children in preschool programs, unwed mothers and others in need.  It is hard for these islanders to get the boat fare back to their home so often they feel they are stuck.

A lot of the people here live very simply in crudely built tin homes on rented or passed down pieces of land with gardens that provide the food they need to live on and sometimes enough to sell in the market as well.  They do not have a lot of material things but seem to be very happy people.  Everyone is happy to share what they have and you will have a hard time finding a face that isn’t smiling!  We have been enjoying the warm hospitality of all our neighbors and find the people absolutely lovely.  If you ever get the chance to visit this amazing country you will enjoy the cheerful smiles and easy going contented islanders that make this country such a pleasure to visit!  We could all learn a thing or two about contentment from them. 

In these troubled times it is a chance for me to be reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.  A nice home over our heads and food on the table .

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