Vanuatu, Tropical Island of Paradise, Finally Reveals Some of Its Long Hidden Secrets.
†The art world has been put on its ear by the discovery of long hidden artifacts of the tiny South Pacific nation, Vanuatu
The Pentecost land diving in the tropical islands of Vanuatu archipelago was born in the mists of time in Vanuatu, remarkably called the Birth Place of Extreme Sport. Land diving involves jumping from a tower with a rope attached to your leg similar to its successor bungee jumping but without the rubber stretchable rope.
The Nation Vanuatu was also the inspiration for the book by James A Michener, which in turn inspired the classic musical Rodgers and Hammersteinís 1958 film South Pacific. The Television version of the original classic, in 2001, never found favor with the viewing public.
Vanuatu rose to the forefront once again, in 2006, when it was voted the Happiest Country on Earth.
World Heritage status was recently granted to the grave site of the last Paramount Chief of Vanuatu, Chief Roi Mata. It is believe more than 20 wives and some of his men were buried live with the king. It is said the men were given kava, a local calming drink, which the women were forbidden to have, in order to prepare them for their final ordeal.
Vanuatu is once again setting the world on edge, with its recent release of unique and traditionally well hidden art, from the northern island of Ambrym. Many of the pieces could well be mistaken for contemporary art work. It is no wonder the art world is in a spin over the carvings, never before seen outside the tiny pacific nation.
A similar piece was found in a museum in Britain, however, there is nothing like it in the museums of Europe and America.
Towering high over the heads of the tourist, the wooden slit gongs go virtually unnoticed, so commonplace are they in the local communities and villages. With up to five heads carved on the gongs, they are among the largest free standing musical instruments on earth.
Gazing at the sometimes four metre high gongs, few are aware of the connection to the hidden secrets of Vanuatu society.
The stylized form of the wooden gong represents the islanderís ancestors. The eyes representing the morning star of a society which has traditionally kept its secrets well hidden from the eyes 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. These informal village orchestras performed rhythmical music creations of immense variety and complexity, such pieces still amazing travelers and locals to this very day.
Smaller hand carved versions of these large musical instruments are frequently carried home by tourists to these tropical islands, totally unaware of the 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 draw attention to the desperately needed change in the education of the next generation of this tiny South Pacific archipelago. The urgent need for Vanuatu is formal education, if the younger generation is to take its rightful place in the 21st century.
In the wide spread nation there is no free education. Most of families the fees are beyond the meagre incomes of villagers living in no cash-economy. Itís stunning to think that:
††The government has now admitted it is unable to meet the countryís educational needs. ĎIf you refuse to build schools you will have to build jails.í What a strange tragedy if the Happiest Country on Earth, a peaceful gentle society, is forced through lack of action to go this way.
†Hopefully the sharing of their ancient secrets will be the signal of a new day in the desperately needed education of the younger generation, of this tiny South Pacific nation. Yet, formal education is the more urgent need of Vanuatu, if the next generation is to stand in its rightful place in the 21st century.
Many islanders live on under $1 per day. Paying tuition fees, in the Happiest Country on Earth, is completely out of the question. Most of the high achieving students will have to stop studies after primary school and they will never have the chance to see the inside of a high school classroom.
There is an opportunity 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 Moon Opportunity. This is something you cannot afford to miss. It will change your life.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr† Wendy and her husband Rick are CEOís of YouMe Support Foundation Child Trust Fund. Through a Blue Moon Opportunity, world first, they are offering Seachange Lodge Resort as an Internet Raffle. The funds provide non-repayable education grants for children who will never see the inside of a high school classroom without outside assistance.