On March 11, 2016, just a few days before the one year anniversary of Cyclone Pam which totally destroyed the Green Hill Primary School and much of the community, we gathered to officially open two new school buildings and start the new school year.
It was a rainy day and the road was a bit more treacherous than normal, but the four-wheel drive pickup was packed with church leaders and missionary friends eager to celebrate the event with the Green Hill community.
Pictured above: Back row – Jasmine Ellison, Rev. Dave Wood, Julie Wood. Front row: Green Hill AG Pastor Charley Job, Shefa Province AG Presbyter Rev. Berry Kalotrip, Shefa Province AG Treasurer Rev. Joshua Malakai and Lori Ellison.
The Green Hill school children waiting to greet the visitors and accompany us into the school property.
The school children led the way in song.
Flag raising and singing the Vanuatu national anthem.
Clockwise from left: Listening to speeches, singing, praying, and a kid’s sermon.
The traditional giving and receiving of gifts.
Rev. Berry Kalotrip cutting the ribbon on the door of the first classroom. The main school building consists of three classrooms. The main donor was ACCI Relief of Australia. They gave AU$41,800 to rebuild this building. Mrs. Lori Ellison was the project manager, receiving the funds, purchasing all the building materials, and overseeing the actual construction. To fully complete the building, US$10,000 was also given by AGWM-USA.
We are so grateful to all who gave to rebuild this school. A special thank you to Katie Blok of ACCI for reading my first email and then her amazing support for the project.
Above: Accepting gifts of garden produce from the Green Hill community.
Above on the left: Pastor Charley Job, (JBI grad) is the man who carved this mission work and school literally out of the bush, high on a plateau above the Teouma River Valley. He built a church and a school over the years and Cyclone Pam took it all away in one night, March 15, 2015. At the reopening of the school, 146 children, grades K-6 were enrolled.
Until more funds are available for more classrooms, six grades will be squeezing into three classrooms.
Above on the right: Green Hill school headmaster, Joseph Kalo. He kept the school functioning after the disaster and loss of buildings and books. For months, teachers and students, huddled under tarps and sat on the grass for class.
We are also very grateful to PAOC partners, Dave and Julie Wood, who before they had even moved to Vanuatu, were raising funds and awareness in Canada to rebuild a kindergarten building for Green Hill Primary School. A special thank you to Rev Murray Cornelius who responded favorably to my email to asking for help from the PAOC. Very grateful that ERDO Canada agreed to sponsor the new kindergarten and many friends and family who donated money to ERDO. Thirty-six little ones are now attending kindergarten under the care of head teacher Ruth and her helper.
The rebuilding of this school was a logistic challenge from day one, so many amazing things happened to bring us to this day of dedicating the new school buildings. I am so thrilled that church friends in Australia, Canada and the United States came together and showed such compassion to the families in a little-known farming community of Green Hill which had been almost blown off the map by Cyclone Pam! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!