After only six months of learning the fundamentals of tourism at the Australia-Pacific Technical College, 42 year old Donald Kauia, has changed his universe. Under his guidance, the people of his home, Louno and Lounasunan, on the remote east coast of Tanna have now put their efforts together to offer authentic, unsurpassed activities for visitors to their villages.
Thanks to Donald, guests staying at Friendly Bungalows can now take an escorted walk to either of the villages and watch custom dancing or partake in real life cooking and weaving programs with local village women, using absolutely authentic utensils and materials. “Using only sharpened bamboo to cut and peel the manioc root, the frond of a tree fern as a grater and a clam shell for washing hands, our guests can make the unknown delicacies of true Tanna” said Joanne, owner of Friendly Bungalows, on her return from Tanna. “And none of this would have happened now without the inspiration from Donald, “ she continued, ”we are extremely lucky and proud to have him as one of our employees.”
Donald has been an employee of Friendly Bungalows, on the remote and wild east coast of Tanna for the past 6 years. Donald had the support from Joanne and Peter to attend the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in Port Vila to complete a six month course on tourism, in particular to understand the role of the tour guide. Donald completed the Certificate III in Tourism.
“Donald has done something we could never do to help the wonderful people of these villages. Through education and understanding the role of sustainable tourism, he has managed to inspire his own communities, his elders and the chiefs, from within his own culture, and this is the result. The communities are proud to showcase their world, and for the small charge to visit these activities, it makes a huge impact on their village income” said Joanne.
“Joanne and I are really happy for this initiative to have come from the people themselves, and the benefits go directly back to these communities too. Friendly Bungalows is merely a facilitator in all this, and if it hadn’t been for Donald doing his training at APTC, then coming back with new eyes, nothing would have changed. We are really happy too for the guests who now have the chance to see more of the real Tanna,” concluded Peter.
Tanna is known for its volcano, Mount Yasur, and the strong authenticity of the Melanesian culture. Many villages are so remote they do not mix with western society. All the traditional ceremonies, the dancing and the colourful costumes of grass skirts and feathers are not on show for tourists, it is all real. On Tanna, almost 90% of the population live a subsistence farming life and there are no shops, school is expensive and often very remote. Friendly Bungalows is a small resort on the remote east coast of Tanna and employs exclusively from the villages of Louno and Lounasunan. It is run on sustainable tourism principles. (For further information about the Bungalows, contact Joanne Wadeby email on firstname.lastname@example.org ).