Here is a very short round-up of highlights from this year’s deliveries of donated educational and medical supplies. We measure our success by the number of communities we assist and the quality of that assistance. Working with remote communities often completely isolated from the outside world is not an easy mandate nor is trying to concentrate 4-5 months of intense effort into something short enough that it can actually be read an easy assignment. Our primary task is to help remote island communities improve their educational and medical services, but being the kind of people we are it seems that mandate has grown to simply “Aiding the remote communities we assist.” Each of the communities we support has different priorities and needs; each has a different level of development. That makes our work more difficult and much more interesting, it also opens many unforeseen portals of opportunity where we can help out.
The short version of this years deliveries is that thanks to your help we managed about 3,800 miles from the time we left Jakarta loaded with roughly 20 tons of supplies until we returned there. While in East Timor we received a 1. 5-ton top up of medical supplies from Australia delivered by the yachts in the Darwin to Dili yacht race. During that time we delivered over 100 very comprehensive Midwife (new & yearly resupply) and health worker kits, had Dr. Ruth Indira along with us doing workshops and individual training for Traditional Midwives, holding clinic every where we stopped, as well as giving dental hygiene classes in all the schools we visited. We delivered almost 400 kits-4-Kids bags directly to students in the poorest schools along our route, set up 3 complete school computer labs, provided basic educational materials and supplies for schools and teachers, placed first aid kits in many of the schools, delivered sets of vegetable seeds for kitchen gardens, tool sets to help maintain boat motors and generator sets, spare parts for sewing machines, helped save the lives of two small children by finding them proper medical treatment, were nominated official Good Will Ambassadors for the Banda Islands and for the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, were officially recognized and assisted by the Indonesian Navy, re-discovered an old 15th century fort long thought lost on Gunung Api, produced a documentary about the damage to coral reefs being caused by Dynamite fishing, and visited an active volcano, all while trying our best to keep Vega up and running on a shoe string budget. There you have the headlines, but not at all the complete list of our accomplishments this year.
Our yearly route is a circle with every stop over playing an important part in what we do. Half the year we are trying our best to find the materials needed to deliver and the other half we are out delivering those materials to the people who need them and gathering new lists of what is needed for the next year. Accomplishing our missions while keeping Vega alive and in good health is a full time 24/7/365 job, but one we find immensely rewarding on a personal and spiritual level.