Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project


Title: Matuku with Chico and Jessie

Location : Matuku Island, Fiji


Year : 2014

When the opportunity arises and it is within our capability we like to provide spectacles to everyone on an island. If there are other villages on the island that are not within range of our small dingy from Monkey Fist's anchorage, we will either enlist the help of a local punga or banana boat (fitted with a large outboard engine) or if there are cars and connecting "roads" on land we'll ask if someone can drive us to the other villages.

In the case of Matuku we anchored in the small bay to the south west corner of the island and met Chico who was the local government representative appointed to greet yachts, not that many yachts visited Matuku as most chose to bypass it for the more exotic and well known islands, such as Falunga in the Lau group.

Chico was a very nice guy, who had spent years in the Fiji military and had previously served in a UN Peace keeping force in the Middle East and had a few stories to tell.  After fitting everyone in his small village with glasses we asked him about the rest of the island and he gave us rough estimates of population, distances and time frames for travel. There were no roads. We told him that we would like to provided glasses to everyone on the island if we could get to the villages. He told us that he could get the use of a banana boat (18ft fibreglass motor boat) but unfortunately he didn't have any fuel for it. Our fuel was running low but luckily our friends Bruce and Dyna on a catamaran, Margarita out of New Zealand, had enough to spare so provided Chico with what he needed.

The following day the crew and guests of Margarita and the crew of Monkey Fist, carried our bags of spectacles and took to sea with Chico and a lovely young man from the village, Jessie. Over the next few days we visited 8 villages around the island and provided 250 pairs of spectacles to everyone who needed them.

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