What we're Doing,
& Why we're Volunteering


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We are moving to Auki, the capital of the Malaita province, where we will work on specific projects within our professions. Lara, Steve and Kelly will be working for Kilu'ufi Hospital, Malaita's only hospital. All of our roles involve upskilling locals and establishing new services. Malaita currently has no prosthetics or occupational therapy services, and that is about to change! 

Rob will be contributing to some of the building projects in Auki, a need made greater by the destruction that accompanied the civil conflicts several years ago. There is so much to be done that he is still awaiting a complete job description. We will post more details about Rob's involvement as they become available to us.

Our jobs in the Solomons are about sustainable development - we are not going as heavily-paid consultants, but to live and work in the local community with the aim of lasting improvements in people's lives. Although we will receive a wage, it will be equivalent to that received by locals, and certainly won't be paying mortgages or buying big-screen TVs. 

That, combined with the fact that we are going to a developing country, is enough to make people ask "why". Are we going to be missionaries? I have to bite back cynical responses, because the idea that anyone who would go to the Third World must be going to work for a church and preach on a street corner is moderately irritating. We struggle with the idea of handing out tracts when the recipients are starving to death. So let us issue forth on what we really think, on why we're going and why going is not the only way..   

Will we be missionaries? We will not be "missionaries" any more than we already are, in that we will not be "sent" by a church or missionary organisation. We believe that working in our professions in a needy environment is an opportunity to help bring a little more justice to a struggling nation.  Justice includes sharing the plenty we have with deprived peoples, both in knowledge, skill and resources. We hope that in the Solomon Islands, we would continue to live at least a little more of what it means to follow Christ in this way.

 We are volunteering through Australian Volunteers International (AVI), the volunteers branch of AusAid. What? A government organisation?? Surely that's not as good as a mission organisation!? Maybe so, but if the government is already sending people, we thought they could send some Jesus-followers too.  

Jesus was all about overturning injustice (not that we should for a moment overlook his defeat of death), and we are pretty poor imitations if we're not also standing up to the injustices in this world. We in the West have more than we need, but can be pretty apathetic about those who don't have enough to survive. Volunteering our skills in the Third World is one way we can help with reducing the effects of poverty and oppression. It's by no means the only way - why not donate some dosh towards microenterprise schemes, sponsor a child, buy cruelty-free products like free-range eggs or bacon, and/or boycott companies that utilise sweatshops? 

Luckily for our friends and family, we don't have to put any pressure on for financial support, as that is taken care of by AVI .  However, we are keen for help with specific items that are either unavailable or outrageously expensive in the the Solomons - see How You Can Help! 

Hopefully, if you are still reading, you're pretty well convinced that helping out somewhere is a good idea.

Perhaps you're also wondering, why the Solomon Islands?  For one, the Solomons are a close neighbour to both Australia & New Zealand, and receive many millions of dollars annually in aid. Their close proximity means it is a viable option to return in the future should the opportunity arise- we'd like to think we could continue our relationship with the Solomons years down the track. Their language, Solomon Islands Pijin, is not horrendously dissimilar to English. And hey, we hear the diving is great!