Guest Speakers for the 13th December were Graeme Le Fevre and Merilyn Briggs, who gave a presentation on the Club's recent project in Fiji. Harry Galea offered a few of his thoughts as well.
Club members who made the trip were Graeme Le Fevre (Project Manager), Merilyn Briggs, Henk Kortekaas, Harry Galea and Dale Luck. It was on Ono Island, which is 100km off the Fiji mainland. The project was primarily to build a pontoon, but there were other things done, which were covered later by Merilyn.
The first hurdle was the transport to the island - there are no proper berthing facilities, and every item has to be brought to the island by quite a difficult landing procedure.
Students previously got onto and off the Island by scrambling over the rocky, crude landing area. This was highly dangerous as well as being inconvenient. There are no local stu-dents, and all of them board at the school during the week and so have to travel on and off Ono Island every school week.
Henk, Harry and Dale did the pontoon design in Australia, and modified it on site to suit actual conditions there. It included concrete landing area, concrete steps, ramp and floating pontoon. Work was done with the local dads. The local women looked after us while we were there.
Henk found himself refurbishing the main generator, which had proved impossible to all others. It was a very fitting last Rotary project for Henk and greatly received by the community.
There was a great amount of fellowship and rapport developed over the eight days or so, and the local community appreciated the enormity of what was achieved, and the differ-ence the pontoon will make. They were overwhelmed by what was achieved together.
Merilyn gave an overall summary of what she has been involved with on the island and mainland, including the wheelchairs donated by the George Town club, her own funding of the kitchen rebuild, tiling, electrical, a new drinking fountain area and netball/volleyball rings. Her grandchildren also contributed substantially to the project prior to the club's visit. She also explained where the island's students come from to attend school there. The construction of these projects was mainly undertaken by the local community itself.
In summary, it was yet another very significant Fiji project for South Launceston Rotary and something of which the club can be very proud. The various components will make a significant difference to this very isolated community, and represents excellent value in outcome terms for the financial input from the club.