Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project


Title: Jungle Drums

Location : Vanuatu

Year : 2009

We had been in Vanuatu for several months sailing around to villages and conducting Eyeglass Assist Sessions on behalf of the Lions Club. After anchoring we dingied in and spoke to the village chief and made arrangements to conduct the program that afternoon. The chief asked if we could come back at 1.25 pm and start the program then. We know that indigenous people have a very good sense of what time it is but Frances thought this was a bit specific so she asked him how he would know when it was that time. He pulled from his pocket a wristwatch that had not watch band. Frances asked if she could look at the watch and thought she could make a new band for it. The chief thought this was a great idea and so Frances measured his wrist and he gave her the watch. She said "how are you going to tell the time now ?" He looked at her and then pointed up at the sun which made us all laugh. Back on Monkey Fist Frances rummaged though her box of bits and pieces and found a piece of webbing the right width and sewed velcro onto it and voila, she had a watch band. At 1.25 pm we were onshore and Frances gave the chief his new watch band which brought a big smile to his face. Word quickly got around the village and Frances ended up making several new watch bands for people in the village.

As we moved along the coast after leaving the village dugout canoes would paddle up to Monkey Fist with bananas in one hand and a bandless watch in the other asking Frances if she could make a watch band for them, which of course she did. By unknown means the message had been passed between the villages about what she was doing - the proverbial Jungle Drums


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