Thursday, 16 April 2009

Steve's been voted off the island!

I'm just writing to let everyone know that I've safely made it out of Malaita, and am in NZ waiting for Kel to arrive. I've been without her now since the start of Feb, and it hasn't been the easiest of times - but I can't wait to pick her up at the all familiar Akld airport, as she flies in from Melb...

To be honest, I've been pretty exhausted the last couple of weeks. There's been so much to do on top of our physically demanding construction work at Kilu'ufi (hospital), and I wouldn't have made it this far if it weren't for some good mates who came to help in Kel's absence.
Karl & I

Rob & Lara, of course, kept the construction going. And Karl (Kel's dad), David, Libby & Jennifer (mates from St Matt's who were in Auki earlier in the year) really rallied around me over the last few weeks to get me over the line (and help at the hospital and Dukwasi village). The team helped me with all the cooking (we ate exceptionally well despite my culinary shortcomings), and getting the house packed.David, Karl, Jennifer, Libby & Me!!

We managed to give a whole lot of stuff away, and with all the extra luggage allowance between the five of us, ended up sending only 9 boxes home - a good effort I thought...
Some of our friends at the party!

The hardest thing about all the goodbyes was that Kel couldn't be part of it...
We had a big party (with lots of Aussie party food!) and over 150 people showed up. Our good friend Silas' band (called Traditional Roots) played until the power went off at 8pm! We fired up the generator and kept going for a while - eating and showing off photos to all the pikinini. We called Kel, and many of our friends got to talk to her (they were very surprised that she could still remember Pijin!). People were still showing up at 1am the night before we sailed out of Auki, just to spend time with us, which was really sweet.
Rob & I

We're going to miss our good Auki mates Silas, Willie, Frank, Goretti, and especially everyone at the Auki AOG and Dukwasi village. It was really sad to say "bye" to Rob & Lara after all the good and bad we've been through together over the last couple of years, but the net and power situation should be a little more stable when they move to Honiara in a couple of months - which means some good skype sessions will be in order...
Frank & Willie & Me!

Finally, we've decided to re-settle back in Melbourne for family reasons, so we're shipping all the stuff we stored under Ben's house (thanks mate) from Auckland to Melb. Auckland feels more like home than Aussie because we've never lived in Melbourne together since we got married in 2003. Many thanks also to Allan, Kay and the Life crew for all you've done for us! We have nothing against NZ - we would've loved to have been able to settle there - but 7years away from family is enough for me...

So I've got work organised at St Vincent's Hospital Melb, and Kel's already back at work. We'll be living in Berwick, and we expect many Kiwi visitors over the years to make use of our spare bedroom (we insist!)

Stay in touch everyone!

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