Port Vila Morning…

(This piece was written by a group of 10 and 11 year olds – ‘The Scribe Tribe’ from port Vila International School)

Quite early I woke up and went out.

The night had been lonely… cold… pitch black.

Gas was in the air.

Haunted winds carried to me, then faded.

The sun, rose like an alarm clock. Rose as if the town had never seen light before… the big buildings – ANZ, Lolam House, Unelco – blocking the sun from the hills and trees. Buildings, old and dirty on the outside, nice and clean inside… Buildings, cracked and windy with dead pavements from the earthquake… the earthquake that had broken roads, sloshed sand and tumbled people.

A rooster crowed.

A single bird flittered across the sun.

A car goes past, so fast, the dew falls from the leaves.

Quiet again.

Frangipani trees sway and flowers fall down to the short, dewy grass. You can hear bees collecting honey from the flowers.

Twistie packets float like broken-winged planes. Rotting chips and broken bottles and rats scurry in the gutter where a dead dog lies.

Distant dogs howl in the villages…

Yawning dogs…

A closer dog, stares at a cat, sitting on a wall.

Empty chains…

The sky-blue ocean laps and splashes… and splashes of orange and red flow down the buildings…

An engine starts from a boat. The playground, as quiet as it can be. At the Olympic, a milkshake maker churns…

The town is awake.

People turn on their radios.

An extraordinary sneeze… A little cough… The slurp of people drinking… Forks and knives hitting plates.

Fans spin and paws scrape for scraps.

The bakery bus, dropping off bread… Carpenters start hammering… A baby cries for its bottle…

Lovely.

People sweeping… Sweep-swish-sweep.

Shopkeepers unlock doors and put out the ‘open’ signs.

Sweating hot…

People stand in the backs of trucks. An old, rickety bus pulls over…. dark, thick smoke from its rusted exhaust pipe… Taxis waddle through town and people are ssss-ing to grab your attention.

Two ladies are taking their dogs for a walk, one of the dogs lifts its leg on a garbage can. A wolf whistle comes from a bus and the seaplane lands on the glittering sea.

Housegirls…

An old man, who is blind…

Children on their way to school…

An artist, painting a picture of the market house…

The busy market, the money clinking…

Glasses clinking, doors clunking, water lapping, shoes clacking, skateboards clanking…

“Fresh fish! Fresh fish!”

People argue.

A huge hoot-blast announces the cruise ship’s entrance to the harbour.

Listening to my own thoughts…

A plane grumbles as it flies overhead.

Then someone called me… and it all changed

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