Sunday, August 26, 2012

Social Issues on Pitcairn Island

Questions Answered about Social Issues

When you speak of the ‘two main families’, can you elaborate on that?  Which are the two families that are considered to be the ‘main’ families?

The Christian family and the Warren-Peu family both have five children each.  There are also the Browns and the Youngs and others.  Many people are inter-related.


Is there an airstrip on Pitcairn Island?

No there is no airstrip. It is such a long way from anywhere else.

A helicopter came on ship once and took aerial photos. The idea of building an airstrip has been explored from time to time. There is enough land but whether it would be suitable or not is not a question I can answer.


Are traditional arts and crafts alive and well on Pitcairn?

Wooden curio carving is alive and well. Models of the ‘Bounty’, longboats, turtles and fish, a vase with a hand wrapped around it and the fascinating ‘trick boxes’ with their secret opening are all popular.  Islanders sell wooden carved items to cruise ship passengers plus many have a website that they sell from, posting the items out to the worldwide customers.  Carving is a very time consuming process.

Weaving is still taking place. Some of the older women weave frequently.  Stripping the traditional pandanus fronds of their prickly edges is a bit of a mission. The strips can be dyed to give colour to the woven baskets. Nylon plastic strips are also used for practical baskets which get used for groceries, vegetables and fishing.

Paintings done on the large skeleton hattie leaves are sold to tourists.


Do the islanders prepare any kind of traditional hangi for special occasions?

No we have not seen this type of Polynesian cooking in evidence.

Do the islanders have any type of traditional Polynesian dancing?
No this aspect of the culture has not been kept alive.


Do many people go to church?

In 2012 the church services were usually attended by approximately 20 people most Saturdays. Half of these are from the Professional Team which changes each year.  The main service starts at 11:00 am.  There is a class for children before the service and there is also a bible study for adults pre-service too.

Are the Seventh Day Adventist beliefs well adhered to on Pitcairn?

The first thing that strikes you on Pitcairn is that the weekend here revolves around Friday and Saturday. Saturday is the 'Sabbath'. Sunday is a business day with the shop, finance office, library, post office and warehouse open. This takes a bit of getting used to.  Saturday is usually a quieter day. Traditional beliefs of the SDA church are not really adhered to by the majority.  Alcohol is sold at the shop and also cigarettes. Meat including bacon and pork is eaten. At the public dinners someone will open the meal with a simple prayer. I would say that Christian beliefs are important to many of the older generation.


Can you listen to any radio station?  If so, which one? From where?
There is a local channel. With an appropriate radio you can get overseas channels e.g. BBC.

Is there anywhere you can eat out on Pitcairn Island?

We eat out at Christians Cafe when it is open from time to time on a Friday night.  When the supply ship is here or when there are visitors on the island the cafe will be open.  It costs $12 for a huge meal which is simple e.g. a full plate of crumbed fish, chicken, lasagne, roast, hamburger and chips, salad vegetables etc. They have a small bar there and drinks are a reasonable price too.

Personal Health and Well-being questions

Personal Health and Well-being questions


Have you found that you have gained weight on the Pitcairn Island diet or lost weight?  

Some people gain weight, including us! We walk everyday in an effort to keep weight off. We go out at about 6:30am and often walk down to the harbour at the Landing and back before breakfast. It’s much cooler then. In the winter when it was too dark early in the morning we had to go after school.

To walk from the house to the Landing takes about 25 minutes. Often the road is very muddy and slippery.  If this is the case we ride the quad bike to the start of the concrete road and leave the quad bike there. From there the road is concreted right down to the Landing and takes about 15 minutes to walk.

It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to walk around the island. To walk up and over the hill to Tedside takes about 70 minutes and then you can enjoy the little sandy cove there and walk back again.  It makes a very nice outing on a weekend.

The food on the island tends to be plentiful and high in calories.  The sweet potatoes and bananas will add weight quickly.  If you want to eat salads with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber you will need to grown your own.


What about dental check ups?  

Get a thorough dental check up before coming here. There is dental equipment here on the island. From time to time a visiting dentist will come.  It is usually about every two years.  I have never had to have any dental work done while on the island but others have.   They are still alive!


Does the medical clinic carry medications for many basic ailments?  
Yes, it is a very well equipped clinic. The Medical Clinic opens on Sunday, Tues and Thurs. There is no need to make an appointment.  The doctor  just stays there until everybody has called.   Phone or radio for Kevin if there is an emergency. Make sure your Tetanus is up to date before you come.


 Have you found that sores / mosquito bites get infected easily on the island? Fungal infections? Tropical rash?  

Mosquitoes bite all the time when you are in the gardening areas particularly in the early morning and evening.  They are a problem in the summer months.  During May, June, July we hardly saw any mosquitoes. When you are down at the Landing or swimming etc you will not see any mosquitoes.  The Public Square area and the Church seem to be some of the worse areas. All of the government houses have insect screens over the windows. We often eat outside on the deck overlooking the ocean as we have a nice wooden table set. We light citronella candles to deter the mosquitoes.

No, we have not had any problem with fungal infections or tropical rashes.  Cuts heal quickly and easily.


Have you experimented with any kind of alternative mosquito repellent such as tea tree oil mixed with olive oil?  

Yes. This seems to work well. We have used 2-3 insect repellent sticks in the 8 months we have been here.


Have you found that people get the usual colds or flu on the island?  I wondered if with less exposure to the rest of the world that there might not be as much of that type of thing?

We have been healthier on Pitcairn Island than we usually are.  I have not seen anyone with a heavy cold or a cough.  After a cruise ship calls there can be a run of flu symptoms. We get more sleep here.  Because the power goes off at 10 pm we go to sleep earlier than we do in New Zealand. I think this contributes to the deep rested feeling I have living here. I also think the rich sea air makes you sleep more deeply. Our diet of fish and vegetables also is healthy. Of course we can all order sweets and chips and junk food if we choose to.  Many of the older residents on Pitcairn are still very active and healthy.


Can you swim year round on Pitcairn Island?

I have not swum from 15th May through until 15th August as these months were a bit chilly for me. I love to swim and now that it is August I am swimming again.  It is probably a bit cold for the local adults to swim though. 


Do any of the islanders have hairdressing skills?

Yes.  Michelle Christian cuts hair for $10 per cut.  You can also ask her to do streaks etc.  Bring your own colouring kit. She does a very good job.


Do you find the heat a problem?  Is it difficult to sleep at night because it is hot?

Yes in summer it is hot. We have all the windows in the house open most of the year around. We also use fans. When we first arrived I found that my hands and feet were swollen with the heat and it took about 8 weeks to acclimatise. We sleep just with a sheet over us during the summer and a couple of light blankets in winter.


Is the humidity a problem?

Yes it can be.  Goods can go mouldy quite quickly.  Leather goods such as belts and bags go mouldy.  As do wooden stirrers and bamboo placemats.  Paper for the photocopier needs to be kept in a warm cupboard.  Even the furniture and couch went mouldy and the bed often feels damp.  We have an electric blanket which we switch on from time to time to air out the bed and dry it.

Questions about Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna Questions

Is the large Galapagos tortoise mentioned in past Miscellanies still on the island?  Have you seen it?  

Mrs T, the Galapagos tortoise lives over at Tedside, and we quite often go over there to search her out and feed her bananas or melon.  Occasionally she will turn up closer to this side of the island.  Randy and Nadine Christian have found her in their vegetable garden at Flatlands at times and have had to put her on a trailer and transport her back to her own side. As you travel down to Tedside there is a fence and a gate that she cannot get through. Because her colouring is very similar to the colour of the rocks and soil you can walk right past her without noticing at times.


Are there turtles At Pitcairn Island?

Sea turtles swim about at the Landing. You see them from time to time. They are large. They like to steal the bait off the fishing lines! Sometimes they have to be pulled into shore to have a hook cut away. Usually the nylon line just gets cut and the metal hook would rust away in the sea water.  


Are rats / mice / cockroaches / flies a problem in the houses? If so how do you deal with it? Are there fruit bats on the island?

There are many rats on Pitcairn but no mice. Wild cats keep the rats under control.  Most families have several cats which are fed lean rations at home to keep them keen on rat hunting. We had a problem with rats running in the ceiling at our house and we were able to get rat poison blocks which we threw up into the ceiling cavity.  This killed the rats in the house. Yes, we have many cockroaches and earwigs.  Earwigs can fly which I have seen on a few occasions. There are some flies. Chicken runs and compost areas tend to attract flies. Insect screens keep them out of the government houses. No there are no bats on Pitcairn. Insect life is prolific here. Geckoes, lizards and skinks are numerous.  You see hundreds of them. Gecko droppings need to be wiped up from window sills etc. Soldier crabs lurk in dark corners too.  Ant are also a big problem in summer and you need to keep food in plastic sealed containers.


Are there any wild domestic animals on the island?

There are many wild cats, chickens and roosters and also numerous wild goats. All the wild animals look extremely healthy.  The wild chickens usually look healthier than the caged ones, probably because there are so many insects. The wild goats are culled regularly by the animal control person. They are shot.


How does the cat population stay under control?

This is a tricky one. Our pet cat recently had five kittens.  They are no homes to be found for surplus cats as all households have as many cats as they require already.  We only allowed two of the kittens to live.  The others were killed minutes after they were born. The male kittens can be de-sexed by Shirley Young.  The females will go on to breed again and again.  At times all kittens are killed at birth.  Advice from a vet was that contraception pills for female cats nearly always results in cancer of the uterus developing in the cat. So it is time for us to put aside our city-born scruples and take charge of the problem.  Personally I would find it difficult to kill a newborn kitten but thankfully others are not so squeamish.

Questions about fishing and longboats

Do you ever go out in the long boat to visit a passing ship and go on board?

The teacher does not usually get out often as the cruise ships call during school time. However many islanders and some members of the Professional Team do. It depends on the boat and how many extras are allowed. You might get a chance to go out on fishing trips in the Longboat, which usually happens on public holidays.

Have you had opportunities to go around the island in a boat?

To make sure that the longboats are ship-shape, the crews will take them for a run around the island every month or so...anybody who wants to can go along for the ride. When visitors are transported back to the Claymore for their return trip, there is always extra room for anyone who wants a ride.

Was transferring from the ship into the long boat very difficult?  Did you worry about falling or misjudging your "jump"?

We had to climb down a rope ladder from the Saga Ruby.  It was about 3 or 4 metres. Prior to this it was good to practise on some of the metal ladders up on the deck. It is important to remember to move your hands down as you move your feet down, so that you don't end up stretched out. Keep your hands at chest level. It wasn't too scary. There are always big strong people in the long boat and as it rises up they will tell you to jump and you must jump precisely when they tell you. It’s not very far only about a metre or so! Many people lose their balance when they land in the longboat but hands will reach out to steady you. The greatest danger is slipping between the longboat and the side of the ship. It would be easy to get your leg or ankle trapped and crushed.


Are life jackets worn in the longboat?

No. Life jackets were not offered.  The longboat does not carry many lifejackets. However we bought our own from New Zealand and on occasions when it is rough we choose to wear them.


Do the islanders still sing “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” when they are in the longboats departing from a ship?

No.  You would not hear the song above the noise of the motor.  This song is still sung often but usually on board the cruise ship before transferring to the long boat. It is not the Pitcairn National Anthem but it is kind of like the theme song.


Are any of the longboats still made from wood? Are any still rowed?

No, they are not made from wood. The two longboats in use are made from heavy duty aluminium.  The hull is probably about 2-3 cm thick. The deck is plywood which can be lifted up to store things underneath. They do not have seats.  Travellers sit straight down onto the deck.  No, they are not rowed.  I have seen no evidence of oars or rowlocks. There is one old wooden longboat from yesteryear on display in a shed.


Do the Islanders invite you or your husband to go out in the small fishing boats to catch fish?  

Not all islanders go fishing, and as you can imagine, pulling a 50kg yellow fin tuna into a small boat on a hand line, is not everybody's idea of fun!  The action is fast and furious.  If you are keen to have a go, Vaine Peu will welcome an extra person to share the costs of fuel for the boat and he is usually very successful with his fishing.  Vaine’s fishing trips usually take about 3 -4 hours and you can feel a bit queasy with the swell. I have never seen the ocean completely flat here.  Occasionally it is smooth but there is always the swell.

Do you ever get crayfish or other seafood in shells?

Yes both Randy Christian and Dave Brown have wire baskets for catching lobsters. They then keep the lobsters in the cages in the sea and feed them.  They sell lobsters to cruise boats and they will sell locally too. The cost of one crayfish is very reasonable here, approximately NZ $12 – 15 dollars.  I think the local lobsters are more like Moreton Bay Bugs than NZ crayfish.  They do not have long spindly legs but rather they have stubby paddle like legs which they use to bury themselves in the sand. There are no shellfish.

Food and Freight Questions

When you order your groceries is it possible to order in softer frozen goods such as frozen peas that would thaw reasonably quickly?  

Yes any frozen goods can be ordered, even ice cream. They are in a freezer on the supply boat and they are the first things unloaded.

Do you order in cheese or butter from New Zealand? If so, is it still in reasonable condition when you get it?  

Yes it is fine. Once we receive our butter, I usually cut it into portions, wrap it in gladwrap and store it in the freezer. 

Do you use powdered milk?

Yes. I mix up just enough for the day every morning.  Because the power goes off every night at 10 pm the fridge is not working overnight I find that milk tends to go sour quickly if I mix too much. Many people buy the long life  UHT milk as well.

Did you place a food order while you were still in New Zealand so that it would be there for you when you arrived?

Unfortunately for the school teacher the first freight will not arrive until the supply ship the Claymore arrives in March/April!  This is exactly what happens to every teacher.   You arrive early...via cruise you can start the school year, but all your food and clothes do not get here until a month later!   All the others from the Professional Team will make sure that you are comfortable, just bring the maximum allowable weight in clothes for the flights here plus any resources that you want to start with. Buy food from the general store in the meantime.

When packing to go to Pitcairn did you pack your goods into cardboard boxes?

You need to consider your packing very carefully.  The boxes you use will be stored and re-used when you depart. We purchased uniform sized boxes from a packaging company so they were mostly all the same size. It doesn't matter how many boxes you have, so go for two light ones rather than one heavy one. We also bought a roll of shrink wrap plastic and wrapped each box.  For books and documents it is a good idea to line the inside of the box with a large black plastic rubbish bag.  Items do get wet from time to time when in transit. The shipping containers sit on the deck of the Claymore supply ship.  They are supposed to be water tight but I have seen a number that leaked badly. Some people use plastic warehouse boxes. Cardboard boxes do have the advantage of being able to be disassembled and flattened for the duration of your time on Pitcairn.

You will need to type out a manifest.  Number and list every box. Make sure it is addressed clearly.  On your manifest list the contents. Bring plenty of used plastic supermarket bags and these can be stuffed down into small crevices.  They are so useful once here. Pack you boxes tightly so that items do not roll around inside.

Did all of your goods arrive in safe condition?

Does the size and weight of the boxes matter?
No, but remember they are manhandled from the container to bike trailers on island.

Is it out of the question to bring a bicycle to Pitcairn? A kayak?

If you bring a bicycle to Pitcairn make sure it is a robust mountain bike.  Pack it well for the journey on the supply ship. The hills here are very steep for bike riding. Adamstown has approximately 1 km of concrete roading.  This is relatively easy to ride on. Some people have kayaks. You need to exercise great caution about suitable days to go out kayaking. Recently Doctor Kevin and Sharon Donovan kayaked around Pitcairn Island in their quality inflatable double kayak.  If you tip out it is not easy to get back in and there are very few places where it would be advisable to try and come ashore on the treacherous coastline.

Household and General Living conditions

What currency is used on Pitcairn Island?

Mostly the New Zealand dollar is used.  However American dollars are also common. At the general store most of us book up our groceries on an account which we pay at the end of the month.  In New Zealand we always carried cash around in a wallet.  Here we seldom do.    

Do you have hot water in your house?

A few houses have a solar hot water system.  The school teacher’s house is one of these and this supplies hot water to the bathroom but not the kitchen. The solar hot water panels are extremely efficient and there is usually hot water even after three days of no sun. All houses have a system of boiling the water in a copper drum in a shed out the back.  It has a fire underneath it. Islanders refer to ‘burning the copper’ which means heating the water. It is not difficult to find firewood. Early in the morning there is the smell of wood smoke in the air.  It does not linger long in the ocean breezes and is quite pleasant. Our house has a bath in it but we seldom use it.  Most of the time the daily temperatures are too hot to sit in a hot bath.  Also we are always careful to conserve our precious water in our tank and we tend to use a lot less in the shower.

What is a ‘duncan’?

A ‘duncan’ is a long drop toilet. All government houses have indoor flush toilets.  Many islanders have flush toilets too.  Because water can be a problem in times of drought, many houses have retained their traditional long drop toilet and use it when flushing is not a good option as it uses too much water.  Around the island there are long drop duncans at all the strategic places.  They are kept clean and are maintained nicely with toilet paper. Most have a system of collecting water into a plastic drum and a tap for washing hands.  Soap is provided.  Some of the duncans have two seats so if you wanted you could chat with a friends at the same time!  Personally I don’t have any friends that are that close!


Do cell phones work on Pitcairn Island?

No, cell phones do not work on Pitcairn. When we go out we carry the two way radio with us.  This works in a similar way to a cell phone and all public messages get sent out on this.  All households are linked by radio.  Yachts that come to the island make contact via this radio system as well.  If you want your conversations to be totally private it is best to use the telephone.


Can you watch TV?

There are two channels available.  One channel from Tahiti in French Polynesia, which is all in French.  We enjoyed the Olympics on this channel even if we could not understand what they were saying. The other channel is FOX news which tends to be all political stuff about President Obana at present. 

Is there any kind of general video/DVD library on the island?

The library needs a good overhaul.  There is plenty of good modern reading material.  but it desperately needs its own room and system for relaxed browsing.  Maybe if the proposal for the Community Centre at the dis-used prison goes ahead there will be a new library. DVDs are popular and many people take them out. You write your name in an exercise book and cross it off when you return it.  Donations of DVDs are always welcome but hey must be compatible with NZ systems.


When the electricity goes off at 10.00pm do you have the use of a lantern of any sort? I guess you have to start watching a movie early if you want to see the end of it?

Most houses have an alternative 12 volt battery system for lighting after 10 pm so no we do not use lanterns. Yes we do need to calculate how long a movie will play and start watching at a time that allows it to finish before the 10 pm power goes off.  


Are your emails out totally private?   Is there an island server?  

Yes our emails are private. There are several servers - in NZ. Hawaii and England I think. The satellite link is locked in a shed and the Mayor is the IT person and currently has to be supervised by the Gov Rep or policeman.

Is it correct that phone calls from Auckland to Pitcairn are like a local call?  

Yes we are on the Auckland Exchange.  Toll calls are very reasonable but internet is very expensive.  Our monthly bill is usually in the hundreds of dollars.

Is the telephone system dependent on there being power? i.e. can you ring New Zealand when the power is off?

No the telephone system is not dependent on the power being on.  You can ring any time. Telephones work though the Auckland exchange.  To ring NZ number you dial 00649........... Calls cost 15 cents per minute. When an incoming call comes in you can tell if it is a toll call as it has two rings close together.  One ring means a local Pticairn call.


Do the water tanks at the houses ever get cleaned out?

I have not seen or heard of this.  It would be a good idea from time to time to do this.


Do you lock the doors of your house?

It is not necessary to lock the doors of your house here.  We tend to though, as our cat has the knack of jumping up and opening the door by herself! She’s a smart cat but then she does not close it behind herself and the mosquitoes can then get in.  When cruise ships call we are also advised to lock our homes as it is not unusual for curious wandering souls to walk right in and make themselves at home in your house when you are not there! Cheeky but true.

Questions and Answers about crops and food.

What are the common crops?

Breadfruit grows in the summer months and can be harvested until May. Bananas are prolific and there are different varieties. The islanders grow sweet potatoes.  All islanders have vegetable gardens and grow the usual crops such as pumpkins, cabbages, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Small pineapple gardens are seen around the island.  Limes and mandarins grow here too. Fruits include prolific coconuts, pawpaw and many pasionfruit vines.


Do islanders still process sugar cane and arrowroot flour?

I have heard that they do this as a community project occasionally.  As yet this year they have not done it in the eight months that I have lived here. I suspect that two traditional crops such as sugar cane for making molasses and arrowroot for making arrowroot flour will slowly die out as it becomes more convenient to order flour and sugar on the supply ship. Many households have containers of molasses in their cupboards and make sticky popcorn balls as a treat to sell on market days. 


Do you buy fruit and vegetables from the locals?

Once a month there is a market day at the Public Square.  This is an opportunity to buy and sell surplus vegetables and fruit.  Visiting yachtsmen can arrange to buy a box of vegetables and freshly baked homemade bread.


What can you buy at Market Days?

Market days are like an open air flea market.  It is held in the public square. Anyone can buy and sell surplus goods of any type. Used clothing and household items, vegetables, fresh fish, eggs, clothing etc are all sold here.  There is an atmosphere a bit like a school fair.  Usually the big barbeque will be fired up by the men and fish and chips are cooked and sold.  A plateful is NZ $6.00


Is the soil heavy and hard to dig?  Do you have a hose?

The soil is volcanic.  At the top of the island there are many gardens maintained by the islanders. Yes it can be difficult to dig. I have dug extra sand and seaweed into my vegetable garden and mulched it to keep moisture in. The soil around the school house is heavy clay. Yes, we have a hose but we use tank water sparingly.  In the hot dry times we save the water from the shower and washing machine to use on the plants.  

Answers to Questions

As the Miscellany editor I get lots of letters and emails from people.  Many of the questions I get asked are similar to the kind of questions we asked when we were thinking of coming to live here.  I thought that some of the readers would be very interested in the answers too. I have grouped the questions and answers into various categories and the next few entries on this blog refer to them.

The categories are as follows:

Crops and Food

Household and General Living

Food and Freight Questions

Longboats and fishing

Flora and Fauna Questions

Personal Health and Well-being questions

Social Issues

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spring on Pitcairn Island

Aute Valley Lillies are flourishing everywhere at present

Spring Time in August
Spring is definitely here.  There has been a flurry of baby animals born.  It is common to see new born baby wild goats when out walking.  The huge banyon trees have new green leaves.  The mango trees are laden with blossoms.  Mosquitoes are re-emerging after a quiet couple of months with no mosquito repellent needed.  Temperatures have been getting up in the mid twenties.  Between 15th  May and 15th August I have not swum in Bounty Bay but now I have started swimming again.

Newborn wild baby kid


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leaving at the End of the Year

Paul and I have made the decision to leave Pitcairn Island at the end of this year. We will not take up the option of renewing our teaching contract for another year. This will mean the new postings on this blog will carry on only until the end of the year.

Many people out there in the world have a completely idealistic view of life here on Pitcairn.  The Miscellany newsletter only portrays the positive aspects of life here and so it is not a true and accurate reflection of this community at all.  Pitcairn Island community has all the usual ups and downs of a tiny isolated community, plus some extra factors as well.

Paul and I have enrolled in a course in Bangkok Thailand beginning on 6th January 2013. Our course is a YWAM course called "Children at Risk". The course will have an academic component and also a practical aspect of working out in the community with children in slum areas.

We will begin a completely new blog for our next adventures.  The purpose of this blog was to inform family and friends of what it is like to live on Pitcairn Island and to show all the various aspects of the island.  We looked for up to date information like this about Pitcairn before we came.  Maybe this Blogspot will help others who travel here.  

I have appreciated all the feedback and comments.  So far there have been 5936 page views so someone somewhere is reading all these postings. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

School Cooking Lessons

Cooking Lessons
At Pulau School there are just eight children that come from only two families.  They are spread in ages from 5 – 13 years.  This term I (Ruth) have been bringing the eight of them up to our house to cook once a week.  Each child has formed a recipe book from a school exercise book and divided it into sections.  We are aiming to make something from every section.  Last week we made Lemon Honey which is like a creamy lemon jam to put on bread.  It was delicious.  Today we made a Chow Mein with minced beef.  By the end of each lesson my kitchen is sticky and the floor needs a wash.  But we are all having a good time and the children are learning valuable skills.

Making jars of Lemon Honey

Lemon Honey

2 Tbsp butter
1 Cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
2 lemons (grated rind and juice)

Melt the butter and sugar.
Add eggs and lemons.
Use a microwave or double boiler to cook this.
Boil until thick. If cooking in the microwave put it in for 10 minutes
then remove and stir and then microwave for a further 10 minutes for a
thick lemon honey.
Store it in the fridge. This can be made in bulk and frozen until you
are ready to use it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Aid Refresher course held on Pitcairn Island

First Aid Refresher course held on Pitcairn Island

Dr Kevin Donovan has begun teaching a First Aid refresher course.  We have had the first session on Sunday 5th August with twelve people attending.  Of these twelve, seven were from the professional team and just four were resident islanders.  In New Zealand a refresher First Aid course costs more than $100 and yet this course is offered for free.  We are lucky to have such a capable doctor on the island at present.

                                    Dr Kevin Donovan explains the best techniques of CPR

Pitcairn Island Health Centre

                                                      Pitcairn Island Health Centre

Pitcairn Island has a well resourced Health Centre.  The current doctor is Kevin Donovan who came here to Pitcairn Island in 2011 to complete a one year contract with his wife Sharon.  The Pitcairn Island Government finds it difficult to recruit a suitably qualified doctor.  Doctor Kevin Donovan will be replaced by Doctor Peter Carden in September this year. Peter and his wife Maria have lived and worked on Pitcairn Island before. 
Reception area

                                                              Doctor Kevin Donovan

 The Health Centre has an x-ray machine and a room that is kept at a cool temperature for storing the medicines.  There is all the usual surgery equipment and dental facilities.  In terms of waiting lists and availability to be seen, Pitcairn Island provides better services than you get back in New Zealand.

Aerial view of Health Centre

 When I applied for the job of coming here to Pitcairn Island as a school teacher one of my first questions at our interview was “Is there a doctor on Pitcairn Island?” When we lived in a remote area of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea I had a burst appendix and peritonitis set in.  I nearly lost my life as Paul did all he could to evacuate me to safety.  From that point on I have not wanted to risk living in an area with no health facilities.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pitcairn Island Prison 2012

                                            Aerial View of Prison complex

Pitcairn Island Prison 2012

It seems that one of the buildings of Pitcairn Island’s empty prison may get a new lease of life if the current proposal for a Community Cultural Centre goes ahead.  The prison is a substantial building close to the main hub of Adamstown.  At present it sits behind the high fence neglected by all.  Chickens and children squeeze through the gap in the gate and gather the fruit that is wasting on the tress within the confines.
Passionfruit now grows over the gate

A document outlining possible uses for the prison complex has been created by the tourism co-ordinator and distributed to the residents of Pitcairn Island.   Comments and feedback from the community are welcome.  A craft market, library, sailing club and community meeting room are all put forward as being legitimate uses for the deserted building.

The dining room would become a craft market area

Disused existing bedrooms would become the new library, sailing club, community meeting room

When visiting yachties arrive they could use the sailing club facilities for relaxing, laundry and internet.  The craft market could be used as a semi-permanent set up for locally made crafts and products such as honey.
The lower building is the one proposed for use

These ideas are all in the planning stages and will be put to council for consideration.