A DREAM holiday for Perth couple Tony Greenwood and Tracey Manning has ended in a charity mission that they are prepared to sell Marapana Wildlife World to fund.
With limited assistance the couple are trying to help create selfsufficient communities in the Vanuatan villages of Takara and Emau that have a dearth of resources.
They have already spent $160,000 of their own money to help the villagers survive and made several trips to the villages.
A generator, building supplies and about 12 kilometres of piping are just some of the things they have installed. It costs about $3,500 to get a container over to Vanuatu and then another $1,000 to get it to the villages.
The couple went to Vanuatu on a holiday paid for by Ms Manning’s parents.
Mr Greenwood said he noticed one of the locals being shooed away from the resort just because he had been begging for food.
"I told the hotel staff to give him some bacon and eggs and paid for it," he said.
That man turned out to be Chief Manapanga, the chief of Emau – an island village of about 1,600 people.
"That afternoon he came to me and said his family wanted to thank me. We went to see his tribe and saw they were starving. They have no food, water or power."
The couple ended up spending the rest of their Vanuatan holiday with the villagers.
Chief Manapanga is also chief of the village of Takara about two hours drive north of Vila, another settlement without basics such as power, running water or telephones.
Mr Greenwood said he had taken a generator to Takara and, most recently, a 20-foot container with building supplies, clothes and medicine.
The couple also bought out the Price Right store in Rockingham, shipped its contents over to Vanuatu and set it up as a cooperative that has proved successful.
The villagers in both settlements live in very basic accommodation. The strongest structures there are buildings left over from World War II.
Part of the aid effort is helping the villagers to build better accommodation, something seen as essential after Cyclone Ivy hit.
Mr Greenwood is also in the process of getting a 75-year lease on the "resort" of Nagar to use as a base for visiting aid workers, a medical clinic and a police station.
The couple took two nurses from Mandurah over with them on one trip.
Those nurses lasted just one week before the primitive conditions got the better of them. Mr Greenwood has persuaded a doctor friend, who has previous aid work experience, to come to the villages.
The need for a personal presence on Vanuatu has also proved necessary.
"A lot of charities are working there but the money doesn’t seem to get there," Mr Greenwood said.
"With us living there and bringing the containers over we know it will get there."
Mr Greenwood said he would like WA businesses to get behind his cause. The Mandurah community has given some assistance.
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