A Basket for Change


About Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu is a tiny archipelago nation located in the South Pacific, northwest of Australia and has approximately 220,000 inhabitants spread over 86 islands.

First inhabited by Melanesian people, the French and English came to jointly manage what became known as New Hebrides in the 1880s. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was created in 1980.

Natural occurrences such as earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, flooding and volcanic emissions threaten the livelihood and lives of the Ni-Vanuatu but because of the country's small size and obscurity are often overlooked.


About Bislama

Bislama is the national language of Vanuatu. It is a form of pidgin that contains many English words with sentences that sound like broken English. Many words are used that could seem offensive to the typical American, however, the word "mama" is used as a token of respect notating a woman's status in the community.

About Paama Island

Paama is a small 12 sq mile island with a population of 1,800 people where only 3 out of 22 villages have electricity 3 hours a night. Villagers live primitively as subsistence farmers in houses made of local materials and food is cooked over wood fires. People here often bathe in the ocean when there is little rain and fresh water is scarce. There are no cars and the Paamese travel by foot or canoes carved out from the local wood found on the island.


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