Vanuatu, Tropical Island of Paradise, Finally Reveals Some of Its Long Hidden Secrets.

by Wendy Stenberg-Tendys Dr. - Date: 2008-08-05 - Word Count: 733 Share This!

ThePentecost land diving in the tropical islands of Vanuatu archipelago was born in the mistsof time in Vanuatu, remarkably called the Birth Placeof Extreme Sport. Land diving involves jumping from a tower with a ropeattached to your leg similar to its successor bungee jumping but without therubber stretchable rope.

The Nation Vanuatu wasalso the inspiration for the book by James A Michener, which in turn inspiredthe classic musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1958 film South Pacific. TheTelevision version of the original classic, in 2001, never found favor with theviewing public.

Vanuatu rose to the forefront once again,in 2006, when it was voted the Happiest Country on Earth.

WorldHeritage status was recently granted to the grave site of the last ParamountChief of Vanuatu, Chief Roi Mata. It is believe morethan 20 wives and some of his men were buried live with the king. It is saidthe men were given kava, a local calming drink, which the women were forbiddento have, in order to prepare them for their final ordeal.

Vanuatu is once again setting the world onedge, with its recent release of unique and traditionally well hidden art, fromthe northern island of Ambrym. Many of the pieces could well bemistaken for contemporary art work. It is no wonder the art world is in a spinover the carvings, never before seen outside the tiny pacific nation.

A similarpiece was found in a museum in Britain, however, there is nothing like itin the museums of Europe and America.

Towering high over theheads of the tourist, the wooden slit gongs go virtually unnoticed, socommonplace are they in the local communities and villages. With up to five headscarved on the gongs, they are among the largest free standing musicalinstruments on earth.

Gazing atthe sometimes four metre high gongs, few are aware of the connection to thehidden secrets of Vanuatu society.

Thestylized form of the wooden gong represents the islander's ancestors. The eyesrepresenting the morning star of a society which has traditionally kept itssecrets well hidden from the eyes of the world.

The gongs were a vitalpart of sacred ceremonies, such as funerals, initiations and dances. Carefullycoordinated actions by multiple drummers, beat the lip of the gongs with asmall wooden club. These informal village orchestras performed rhythmical musiccreations of immense variety and complexity, such pieces still amazing travelersand locals to this very day.

Smaller hand carvedversions of these large musical instruments are frequently carried home bytourists to these tropical islands, totally unaware of the deep culturalsignificance.

By releasing some oftheir secret and sacred artifacts to the world, the Chiefs of Vanuatu hope tobring about a renewed awareness of their ancient culture. They are aware thateducation of the younger generation is the only way to preserve their ancientways. Very few young people have any knowledge of the art of the intricate languageof the gong.

Hopefully the sharingof their secrets will draw attention to the desperately needed change in theeducation of the next generation of this tiny South Pacific archipelago. Theurgent need for Vanuatu is formal education, if the youngergeneration is to take its rightful place in the 21st century.

In the wide spreadnation there is no free education. Mostof families the fees are beyond the meagre incomes of villagers living in nocash-economy. It's stunning to think that:

26%of the children will never go to school.18%will never go to high school.Only56% will go over year 6.

The government has now admitted it is unableto meet the country's educational needs. 'If you refuse tobuild schools you will have to build jails.' What a strange tragedy if theHappiest Country on Earth, a peaceful gentle society, is forced through lack ofaction to go this way.

Hopefullythe sharing of their ancient secrets will be the signal of a new day in thedesperately needed education of the younger generation, of this tiny SouthPacific nation. Yet, formal education is the more urgent need of Vanuatu, if the next generation is to standin its rightful place in the 21st century.

Many islanderslive on under $1 per day. Paying tuition fees, in the Happiest Country onEarth, is completely out of the question. Most of the high achieving studentswill have to stop studies after primary school and they will never have thechance to see the inside of a high school classroom.

There is anopportunity to help these tremendous people and show that people really care.Why not take a few minutes to look at this unique world first Blue MoonOpportunity. This is something you cannot afford to miss. It will change yourlife.

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Dr Wendyand her husband Rick are CEO's of YouMe Support Foundation Child Trust Fund.Through a Blue Moon Opportunity, world first, they are offering Seachange LodgeResort as an Internet Raffle. The funds provide non-repayable education grantsfor children who will never see the inside of a high school classroom withoutoutside assistance. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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