Joe, our Mission Projects Leader, tells the team how this land housed a vibrant community a year ago, now most people have left. The Church, through the Anglican Missions Board, are supporting some families here to buy land for them. Land that will give them a hope and a future.
We met a 55-year old man who 8-months ago dismantled his house, and with his 15 family members, carted their house material to a ‘transitional’ piece of land, then he rebuilt his family house. Now he is using the pathways to grow crops. He is waiting for this church land to be finally purchased so he can then dismantle his house again, cart the materials to this new place, and start again.
But he worries, for the future, where will he be able to grow his crops to feed his family there.
The team then walked through plantations, past small squatter villages to another village by a mangrove stream. They hear about the structured roles of men and woman. The men are fisherman and row 40km out to sea, fish all day and night, then row home of the high tide; meanwhile the woman walk through the mangrove swamps for half a day searching for a bundle of firewood.
While children walk daily to the Anglican school an hour away. Just normal daily living for these families. It made life in NZ feel embarrassingly surreal and it left an unsettling feeling among team members about their lifestyles as we departed the warmth and hospitality of this little community.