2013-now Vanuatu, Lowanatom mission
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- (Česky) Vesnice Lowanatom
Videos from this trip
Since 2013 I live as a lay missionary on Tanna, a small, jungle-covered island lost in the South Pacific. Here, in the missionary school, I share with the local young boys and girls my knowledge of computer science. It is truly a pioneering and hard work. Here and on the nearby islands it is the first time ever that the computer science is taught ... in villages just a little further in the jungle, there is not even the electricity. At the same time it is a beautiful work, allowing me to participate in some way on something new, something that will help to improve the lives of local young ... and to share with them their everyday life.
Well, life, it is one bit surprise, isn't it? When I was leaving at the end of 2008 the Lowanatom mission here in the south of Vanuatu, I had no reason to suppose that I would ever come back ... even though I continued to keep in touch with local missionaries. With the help our parish and benefactor in Czech republic, we have managed to buy a few computers for the missionary school and to equip the very first computer science class in the province. Then I went to Madrid, to the WYD in 2011, and met the former priest of the Lowanatom mission. After a small chat, he told me, more in jest than seriously, that now they do have computers, but still lack the computer science teacher.
The joke became semi-serious, then serious and at the end of 2012, when I have defended my doctoral thesis in Paris, nothing held me anymore in Europe. So here I am, on Tanna, a small, jungle-covered island lost in the South Pacific.
Vanuatu is linguistically a very rich country. Only on Tanna people use Bislama, English, French and five local languages. In our part of the island people speak the language called Lenakel (tnl in the code of Ethnologue). With the patience and the help of my friends and colleagues from surrounding villages, I slowly managed to learn bits of it. It is not easy, because the language is somehow poorly researched and there is no official form of notation for it, let alone textbooks and dictionaries. If you are wondering how people talk here, you can look at my gradually growing dictionary of this language.