What Other Secrets Remain Hidden in the Tropical Island Jewel, Vanuatu?

by Wendy Stenberg-Tendys - Date: 2008-08-04 - Word Count: 777 Share This!

Vanuatu with its 83 pristine tropical islands is the birth place of Extreme Sport. The Pentecost land dive was born in the mists of time in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu was also the inspiration for the book by James A Michener, which in turn inspired the classic musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1958 film South Pacific. The Television version of the original classic, in 2001, never really found favor with the viewing public.

In 2006, the tiny archipelago South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, made famous by A Michener's ‘Tales of the South Pacific', was voted the Happiest Country on Earth by the British New Economics Foundation's (NEF), Happy Planet Index according to Adrienne Wilson, writing for Gadling.com.

Recently the grave of the last Paramount Chief of Vanuatu, Chief Roi Mata, was granted the status of a world heritage site. It is said more than 20 wives and some of his men were buried live with the king. In the outer islands men drink a local calming drink, kava, which the women were not permitted. It's believed that the men drank Kava before being buried alive with their king.

Vanuatu is also setting the world on edge, with its recent release of unique and traditionally well hidden art. Recent exhibitions from the northern island of Ambrym have received critical acclaim with reviewers saying the figurines could easily be mistaken for contemporary works of art. Collectors and critics are in a spin over the carvings, never before seen outside Vanuatu.

There is nothing like it in the museums of Europe and America. Only one similar piece has been found in a museum in Britain.

A towering four or five headed slit wooden gong from Ambrym, is one of the largest free standing musical instruments in the world. They are so commonly used as decoration in Vanuatu; they are rarely noticed by visitors.

Most people admiring the gongs, sometimes up to four meters high have no understanding of the connection to the secrets of Vanuatu society.

The stylized form of the wooden gong symbolizes the people's ancestors. The eyes representing the morning star of a society which has traditionally kept its secrets well hidden from the rest of the world.

The gongs were a vital part of sacred ceremonies, such as funerals, initiations and dances. Carefully coordinated actions by multiple drummers, beat the lip of the gongs with a small wooden club. The informal village orchestras performed rhythmical ensembles of immense variety and complexity.

The gongs were also used as a form of bush telegraph to communicate between neighbouring villages. The use of a unique gong language allowed the villagers to send complex messages over long distances and sometimes if the atmospherics were right, messages could be sent to neighbouring islands.

Many tourists to these tropical islands carry home hand carved smaller samples of the large musical instrument as a memento although most are totally unaware of their deep cultural significance.

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

Hopefully the sharing of their secrets will bring about the desperately needed change in the education of the next generation of this tiny South Pacific archipelago.

Although Vanuatu has a deep and rich cultural heritage, there is a desperate need for formal education, if the younger generation is to take its rightful place in the 21st century.

As a lesser developed country where there is no free education, the government freely admits it is unable to meet the educational needs of the country.

- 26% of the children will never go to school.
- 18% will never go to high school.
- Only 56% will go over year 6

Although it is called the Happiest Country on Earth, many villagers still struggle to survive on under $1 a day. Paying school fees is totally out of the question and many of the high achieving students will be condemned to finish study at the end of primary school. Many gifted and highly intelligent students will never have the chance to see the inside of a high school classroom.

It was once quoted: ‘If you refuse to build schools you will have to build jails.' What a strange tragedy if the Happiest Country on Earth went this way.

There is a way to offer a helping hand to these tremendous people and show people really care. Take a few minutes to look at this unique world first Blue Moon Opportunity. This is something you cannot afford to miss. It will change your life.

Related Tags: education, dreams, holiday home, child trust fund, south pacific, tropical islands, education grants, vanuatu, private holiday home, winaresort, blue moon opportunity, secret arts, extrem sport

Rick and Wendy are CEO's of YouMe Support Foundation charity that gives away non repayable high school education grants to children who will never have the opportunity to have a high school education without outside assistance. check it out for your blue moon opportunity Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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